"Best Value Duty" MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL - local authorities using contractors for legal proceedings

Ed Boyce made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Dear Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government,

"Best Value Duty" MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL - local authorities using contractors for legal proceedings

The government have stated that the people receive best value by making councils more transparent and accountable.

Please provide all information your department holds as to any inspection made that has revealed or would reveal the above council and any other local authority who are not using the insolvency law or court procedures correctly to bankrupt people unlawfully for council tax or obtaining charging orders against their property.

For instance how many appear to have been fooled into bankrupting themselves by deceptive means through legal paperwork that applies to a debtor's petition and when they contest a bankruptcy order being made they are refused both a public hearing or to call a witness or provide any evidence of wrong doing.

The Secretary of State has a statutory power to inspect where a local authority may be failing the "best value duty" especially when the local elected representatives can not or will not hold their officers to account for using outside legal teams without a service level agreement or written contract in place for legal work in connection with any civil or criminal proceedings and on the say so of one officer, who has worked with the external solicitors firm several times in previous local authorities, evidenced by a public reference on the solicitors website.

Please be so good as to provide the uptodate legislation that enables the Secretary of State to act where there is evidence that a local authority is not complying or is at a very high risk of failing to comply with their best value duty.

Where a statutory inspection can be carried out independently to gather intelligence and identify area's of concern regarding any financial and/ or legal irregularities ensuring that no level of fraud can occur involving the council, county court, insolvency services etc either by direct involvement, consent or connivance.

How many non-statutory investigations have been made into this local authority,

If any inspection has been carried out already do the inspectors have a duty to report their findings or do they have discretion, and what findings have they found. Please confirm where any report can be located.

Please confirm if you hold the same information concerning any other local authority and if all local authorities who are billing authorities are liable for "contractors" who exercise legal functions relating to the enforcement of council tax using bankruptcy or charging orders etc (even if they only have a verbal non-written contract ) particularly with regards to holding information and data obtained by third or fourth parties who have been hired by a contractor via an agency, who shall not appoint any other person to exercise any function which he/she has been authorised to exercise, unless that person has also been authorised to exercise the function concerned.

It really should not be up to whistleblowers and all good people out there, especially those who have suffered at the hands of third and fourth party interveners hired by non-contractual solicitors via a member of staff within a local authority, to do the exposing.

Maidstone Borough Council have recently confirmed J E Baring & Co solicitors (contractors) are also trustees, although they are not insolvency practitioners and do not appear on the insolvency practitioners register.

I understand the government do not look into individual council tax cases,so here is a group of several recent cases found on the Insolvency Register or listed in the Gazette under Insolvency notices.

STANLEY, ANDREW (Receiver and Manager)
OFFICIAL RECEIVER CHATHAM Insolvency Office
No. 246 of 2010
Patricia Beer

STANLEY, ANDREW (Receiver and Manager)
OFFICIAL RECEIVER CHATHAM Insolvency Office
No. 19 of 2015
Mark Barnes

STANLEY, ANDREW (Receiver and Manager)
OFFICIAL RECEIVER CHATHAM Insolvency Office
No. 66 of 2015
Claire Edwards

DIONNE, JUSTIN (Receiver and Manager)
OFFICIAL RECEIVER SOUTH-END Insolvency Office
No. 31 of 2016
Susan Jeffrey

STANLEY, ANDREW (Receiver and Manager)
OFFICIAL RECEIVER CHATHAM Insolvency Office
No. 80 of 2015
Sheena Williams

JACKSON, KAREN (TRUSTEE)
OFFICIAL RECEIVER CHATHAM Insolvency Office
No. 41 of 2017
Christopher Blowers

Yours faithfully,

Ed Boyce

Despatch Box,

                            
Our reference: 3865757             Information request

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Dear Sir/Madam
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for contacting us on 8 August 2018.
 
Your request was:
 
"Best Value Duty" MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL - local authorities using
contractors for legal proceedings

The government have stated that the people receive best value by making
councils more transparent and accountable.

Please provide all information your department holds as to any inspection
made that has revealed or would reveal the above council and any other
local authority who are not using the insolvency law or court procedures
correctly to bankrupt people unlawfully for council tax or obtaining
charging orders against their property.

For instance how many appear to have been fooled into bankrupting
themselves by deceptive means through legal paperwork that applies to a
debtor's petition and when they contest a bankruptcy order being made they
are refused both a public hearing or to call a witness or provide any
evidence of wrong doing.

The Secretary of State has a statutory power to inspect where a local
authority may be failing the "best value duty" especially when the local
elected representatives can not or will not hold their officers to account
for using outside legal teams without a service level agreement or written
contract in place for legal work in connection with any civil or criminal
proceedings and on the say so of one officer, who has worked with the
external solicitors firm several times in previous local authorities,
evidenced by a public reference on the solicitors website.

Please be so good as to provide the uptodate legislation that enables the
Secretary of State to act where there is evidence that a local authority
is not complying or is at a very high risk of failing to comply with their
best value duty.

Where a statutory inspection can be carried out independently to gather
intelligence and identify area's of concern regarding any financial and/
or legal irregularities ensuring that no level of fraud can occur
involving the council, county court, insolvency services etc either by
direct involvement, consent or connivance.

How many non-statutory investigations have been made into this local
authority,

If any inspection has been carried out already do the inspectors have a
duty to report their findings or do they have discretion, and what
findings have they found. Please confirm where any report can be located.

Please confirm if you hold the same information concerning any other local
authority and if all local authorities who are billing authorities are
liable for "contractors" who exercise legal functions relating to the
enforcement of council tax using bankruptcy or charging orders etc (even
if they only have a verbal non-written contract ) particularly with
regards to holding information and data obtained by third or fourth
parties who have been hired by a contractor via an agency, who shall not
appoint any other person to exercise any function which he/she has been
authorised to exercise, unless that person has also been authorised to
exercise the function concerned.

It really should not be up to whistleblowers and all good people out
there, especially those who have suffered at the hands of third and fourth
party interveners hired by non-contractual solicitors via a member of
staff within a local authority, to do the exposing.

Maidstone Borough Council have recently confirmed J E Baring & Co
solicitors (contractors) are also trustees, although they are not
insolvency practitioners and do not appear on the insolvency practitioners
register.

I understand the government do not look into individual council tax
cases,so here is a group of several recent cases found on the Insolvency
Register or listed in the Gazette under Insolvency notices....
 
I am dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 and aim to send you a response by 6 September 2018.
 
If you have any questions, please ask by return email. Please leave the
subject line unchanged when replying, to make sure your email gets
straight to me.
 
Yours faithfully
 
 
Ashwin Jolly
Deputy FOI Business Partner
 
 
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Gadawodd Ed Boyce anodiad ()

Double bubble "fees" out of the estate?

I wonder if the district billing authority councils are filing TWO bankruptcy petitions for the same "debt" (a creditor's and debtor's petition) which is why they all use external solicitors for this "work"?

Are the proceedings being "consolidated" into one', which is why there is only one "case number"?

Tricking unsuspecting targets (home owners with no or a small mortgage and preferably in one name only) into "court hearings" without jurisdiction to hear a contested hearing - using false paperwork to bankrupt themselves as if they are uncontested hearings or have applied to make themselves insolvent?

List in the Gazette as a "creditor's petition" (without the council's solicitors endorsing the order of course) - everyone stays mute and nobody who would be any the wiser !

Dear Despatch Box,

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government may find the following request sent to The Financial Conduct Authority of interest, one has to ask "Best Value Duty" for whom?

Financial conduct of local authorities,insolvency service,bank/building society, courts etc

Please provide under the FOIA what policy or information you hold as to the conduct of the above public servants and the law they are required to follow.

Can a local authority become a mortgagee of a home owners private family home without their knowledge or consent, before or after they have applied to make them bankrupt using cherry picked external solicitors etc.

Are they under a duty to be transparent as civil servants or can they conspire and obtain a family home worth hundreds of thousands of pounds extremely cheaply, especially if they are made aware unethically that the mortgage is virtually paid off.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Boyce

Gadawodd Ed Boyce anodiad ()

Maidstone Borough Council are refusing to state the date their contracted solicitors were appointed as trustees and also when appointment by creditors' meeting(s) to appoint trustee(s) have been held.

Both requests have been refused due to costs of their contractor solicitors firm holding the information manually and not in electronic format, who are charging the extortionate rate of £250 per hour each for two partners to inspect records and £350 to provide the date(s) they were appointed as trustees.

Maidstone Borough Council have a legal duty to hold and retain their own bankruptcy files/records of those they have bankrupted.

They remain duty bound and responsible for the actions of their contractors and therefore shall know when they were appointed as trustees.

Gadawodd Ed Boyce anodiad ()

Appointment by Creditors' meeting to appoint trustee(s)
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Impossible not to know when they appointed trustees.

Quote: "J E Baring & Co are solicitors who act on our behalf. Once a bankruptcy order is awarded, they appoint a trustee."

How is it possible for a council contractor solicitors firm to appoint themselves as trustees?

Quote:

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council 2 August 2018
Dear Mr Boyce,

FOI 6375

Bankruptcy petition filing date 14 December 2010, bankruptcy order date
15 April 2011, No 246 of 2010 In the Maidstone County Court.

Bankruptcy petition filing date 6 March 2015, bankruptcy order date
9 June 2015, No 19 of 2015 In the County Court at Maidstone.

Bankruptcy petition filing date 16 July 2015, bankruptcy order date
26 January 2016, No 66 of 2015 In the County Court at Maidstone

Bankruptcy petition filing date 18 May 2016, bankruptcy order date
2 August 2016, No 31 of 2016 In the County Court at Maidstone.

Each of the above cases was handled by J E Baring & Co who were appointed as Trustees

I'm sorry this wasn't included in your previous FOI response - Reference number FOI 6375

Regards,

Complaints & FOI Team
Policy & Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Maidstone Borough Council (mortgagee) of a bankrupt's 
estate Private Family Home - Council Tax
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/m...

Incompatible with evidence.

Despatch Box,

1 Atodiad

                            
Our reference: 3865757             Information request

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Dear Sir/Madam
 
Thank you for your request for information concerning Best Value Duty and
Maidstone Borough Council. 
Please see our response attached.

Knowledge and Information Access Team

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Despatch Box,

Thank you for confirming that the Secretary of State rarely uses the powers conferred on their office to investigate wrong-doing that amounts to gross misconduct in public office by local government employees and their agents, unfortunately all paid for from the public purse.

Fraudulent activity that can not be construed as " Best Value" for anyone other than the chosen state profiteers, therefore this burden continues to fall upon the unpaid shoulders of what you refer to as " law abiding citizens" to investigate and expose corruption, who expect to receive transparent services from those paid to provide a public service and for government departments to close shop and collude to defraud them of their family homes and assets for the State, amounts to tyranny of the worst kind.

It is truly a sad state of affairs when the people can no longer trust the public servants in this country to do their jobs ( unfortunately this includes 99% of government services) which is why all good people do the exposing that the governments refuse but are paid handsomely to do.

You may be unaware that the insolvency service practice directions have recently been up-dated because of what has been happening within the South East "courts" and you have been shown several cases and therefor have a duty to investigate ASAP or we can only come to the conclusion to put it it bluntly, that your department is firmly embedded within the 99% of Non-Best Value departments milking the system and the people it was created to serve.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Boyce

Gadawodd Ed Boyce anodiad ()

The Local Authorities (Contracting Out of Tax Billing, Collection and Endorsement Functions) Order 1996

Information
71. In relation to any function which a contractor is authorised to exercise by the authority, the contractor -
(c) shall immediately comply with any written request made by the authority for the supply of any information, including copies of any records made or held by the contractor, relating to the exercise of that function.

Despatch Box,

Dear Sir/Madam
Many thanks for your follow up email.   Local authorities act
independently of central government. Ministers have no remit to intervene
in the day to day affairs of local authorities, except where specific
provision has been made in legislation. The Secretary of State does not
have the power to investigate insolvency cases in a local authority;
rather he has the best value powers detailed in our previous response.

You may wish to raise your concerns with the Insolvency Service
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

Additionally if you have concerns about Maidstone Borough Council I would
suggest you raise these directly with the Council through their formal
complaints procedure and through the Monitoring Officer and the Council’s
independent auditor. A complaint through the local authorities’ formal
complaint system, in addition to achieving swift redress at local level,
can also alert the local authority to issues they were not aware of and
bring transparency to those issues.

Contact details of the Councils Monitoring Officer can be obtained from
the Council’s website
 [2]http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/__data/asset...

Yours sincerely,

Knowledge and Information Access Team

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Dear Despatch Box,

Thank you for confirming that the Secretary of State rarely uses the
powers conferred on their office to investigate wrong-doing that amounts
to gross misconduct in public office by local government employees and
their agents, unfortunately all paid for from the public purse.

Fraudulent activity that can not be construed as " Best Value" for anyone
other than the chosen state profiteers, therefore this burden continues to
fall upon the unpaid shoulders of what you refer to as " law abiding
citizens" to investigate and expose corruption, who expect to receive
transparent services from those paid to provide a public service and for
government departments to close shop and collude to defraud them of their
family homes and assets for the State, amounts to tyranny of the worst
kind.

It is truly a sad state of affairs when the people can no longer trust the
public servants in this country to do their jobs ( unfortunately this
includes 99% of government services) which is why all good people do the
exposing that the governments refuse but are paid handsomely to do.

You may be unaware that the insolvency service practice directions have
recently been up-dated because of what has been happening within the South
East "courts" and you have been shown several cases and therefor have a
duty to investigate ASAP or we can only come to the conclusion to put it
it bluntly, that your department is firmly embedded within the 99% of
Non-Best Value departments milking the system and the people it was
created to serve.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Boyce

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Despatch Box,

What a sad state of affairs when insolvency practitioners are cherry-picked by the billing authority staff especially chosen out-sourced soliticors who they have worked with at previous "authorities" and on many occasions.

Unfortunately these "self-chosen" insolvency practitioners are then appointed by the Secretary of State, who reap massive rewards for a tiny "debt" from those who believe they own their own homes, when in fact all they really solely own is the legal title, whilst the state pretends to own and retain the beneficial interest as beneficiary, as well as benefiting from the Secretary of State fees, in other words " you stab them we will slab them"

Local billing authorities are effectly opportunist debt collectors for the State who get a percentage "cut" whilst being treated as private entities by the courts and not as departments of government even though they have been appointed a .gov.uk email.

Why is anyone required to pay a tax to a body that is not a government department that also receives funding from central government?

Yours sincerely,

Ed Boyce

Gadawodd Ed Boyce anodiad ()

Equita who Maidstone Borough Council billing authority use for council tax enforcement are also instructed by J E Baring & Co solicitors on behalf of their chosen bankruptcy trustee Michael Abram Goldstein Insolvency Practitioner to enforce possession orders from the county court in Maidstone.

Unlicensed agents allegedly from Equita who will not identify themselves or produce I.D.

James Alexander King who is listed on the Certificated Enforcement (Bailiff) Register for Newlyn PLC and not working for Equita and who pretended to be a High Court Enforcement Officer.

Gadawodd Ed Boyce anodiad ()

Google: MPs demand a regulator to crack down on bailiffs

' MPs have said bailiffs should be regulated to stop them breaking the rules and even the law to collect debts.

It follows a dramatic rise in cases of bailiffs using intimidating behaviour, threatening to break into homes and in some cases, unlawfully doing so.'

' Justice Committee chairman Bob Neill said: "We were surprised that no regulator is already in place." ...... may be they should be regulating the police who are also assisting with unlawful enforcement actions and not arresting the culprits; they themselves ( police) are also breaking the law?

"All eyes will now be on the Ministry of Justice, which must introduce these reforms as a matter of urgency."

Gadawodd Ed Boyce anodiad ()

This is a good example of what has been allowed to occur in the UK and condoned by the police who fail and/or refuse to act to protect families from rogue bailiffs etc.

Kent Police & Rogue Bailiffs unlawful eviction - Maidstone Against Corruption https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ImXM1mZ...