Contemporaneous legislation - Council Tax

Adamna made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Nid oedd gan y wybodaeth y gofynnwyd amdani.

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,

I have been directed to make the following request to your department by the MOJ/HMCTS as it is not in their responsibility:

The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations (generally accredited to 1992) are in themselves complex, as made. I note that there seems to have been a general 'revision' in 2002, but cannot find even that revised version.

Using the legislation.gov website reveals 4 long pages made up of links to 'changes made after 2002', (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/changes/af...
It is unreasonable for anyone to follow such complexities and such a plethora of amendments, sometimes consisting of the mere addition of a full stop, often-times more serious in altering the entire procedure.
Q 1. Are the Regulations that are currently in force publicly available in one contemporaneous document?

Looking at the enabling Local Government Finance Act 1992 is worse. There are 18 pages of links to amendments (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/changes/af...
Q 2. Is the Act, as currently in force, publicly available in one contemporaneous document?

As so very many people are affected by this legislation, I feel that it is crucial that it (and any other associated legislation and guidance) is kept up to date for the public to easily access so that they can fully understand their position with independence, especially as it is directly referred to in important documentation received in connection with collection of council tax.

I have not found it, despite searching quite diligently which has been time consuming.

For it to be deliberately obscured would be a prevention of access to justice, and could render the legislation unenforceable.

There has been 24 years in which to facilitate the provision of an updated and immediately revisable version of legislation that probably affects more people than any other in general use.

Whilst I can appreciate that it is important to log the historical changes as they are made (for research purposes), it is equally (if not far more) important to know the current modus operandi and the proper legal position.

I am personally only interested in legislation as it applies in England, but I imagine citizens of other jurisdictions would appreciate the same transparency.

Yours faithfully,

Adamna

Despatch Box,

                            
Our reference: 2961725             Information request

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Thank you for your email. We are currently processing your request. If you
have any questions, please ask by return email. Please don’t change the
subject line when replying as this could delay your message getting to the
right person.
 
Department for Communities and Local Government
Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
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SW1P 4DF
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Despatch Box,

                            
Our reference: 2961725             Information request

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Dear Sir/Madam
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for contacting us on 2 December 2016 requesting I have been
directed to make the following request to your department by the MOJ/HMCTS
as it is not in their responsibility:

The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations (generally
accredited to 1992) are in themselves complex, as made. I note that there
seems to have been a general 'revision' in 2002, but cannot find even that
revised version.

Using the legislation.gov website reveals 4 long pages made up of links to
'changes made after 2002', (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/changes/af...

It is unreasonable for anyone to follow such complexities and such a
plethora of amendments, sometimes consisting of the mere addition of a
full stop, often-times more serious in altering the entire procedure.

Q 1. Are the Regulations that are currently in force publicly available in
one contemporaneous document?

Looking at the enabling Local Government Finance Act 1992 is worse. There
are 18 pages of links to amendments
(http://www.legislation.gov.uk/changes/af...

Q 2. Is the Act, as currently in force, publicly available in one
contemporaneous document?

As so very many people are affected by this legislation, I feel that it is
crucial that it (and any other associated legislation and guidance) is
kept up to date for the public to easily access so that they can fully
understand their position with independence, especially as it is directly
referred to in important documentation received in connection with
collection of council tax.
 
I am dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 and aim to send you a response by 4 January 2017.
 
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
 
 
Andrew Lock
FoI Business partner - Localism
020333 42137
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Despatch Box/Andrew Lock,

You stated that there was an aim to respond by 4 January, indeed it is a requisite that you did.

Please respond to my request as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely,

Adamna

Despatch Box,

1 Atodiad

                            
Our reference: 2961725             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Sir/Madam
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 2 December 2016.
 
I have attached our formal response to your request, and the information
you asked for.
 
Knowledge and Information Access Team
Department for Communities and Local Government
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Gadawodd Cherie De Beau anodiad ()

This might be helpful.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/changes/af...

Searched from this web page:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/changes

Gadawodd Adamna anodiad ()

Thank you Cherie, but the link you included demonstrates the problem, 1 to 50 of 238 results, since 2002, for 1992 legislation. There's another 10 years worth somewhere.

Dear Despatch Box/Andrew Lock,

Thank you for your response which included "the short answer to both questions is “no” in terms of public government publication goes, but that the information requested is already accessible to you".
I find it unacceptable that legislation that affects many millions of people is not readily and freely available, in its current format, to those millions of people.
You suggested "There is not likely to be any consolidated version outside of a retail legal resource such as Lexis".
I have communicated with Lexis and the standard fee to access their information resource is £12,000 (+VAT) per annum, and they state that "Unfortunately, we do not provide access to individuals.".
Whilst they have, very kindly, offered an exceptional discounted rate for me at £2,500.00 (+VAT) per annum, it is way beyond the realms of reasonable affordability to simply know how the legislation applies to me, and everyone else, today.
You also stated that I could buy a "hard copy from the TSO shop". Am I correct is assuming that this would be an unconsolidated version, with the same non-contemporaneous issues as the online version, with 25 years of complex revisions, many of which are not available (i.e. impossible to comprehend)? Am I correct in assuming that the TSO Shop is also a private 'for profit' provider?

Do you have any other suggestion to make? It is said that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but if the law is effectively hidden from plain sight, or unaffordable for the common person, what is one to do?

Yours sincerely,

Adamna