Council Tax and NNDR Summons and Liability Order costs

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Haringey Borough Council

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

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Haringey Borough Council,

In reference to the Council Tax (Administration & Enforcement) Regulations 1992 (Reg. 34)

Please supply details under the aforementioned Act which make allowance for costs reasonably incurred by the applicant in obtaining the Order.

An amount is not specified by the regulation and the term ‘reasonable costs’ is referred to. As such, I require a complete and proper breakdown of:

1) The actual administrative cost to Haringey Borough Council pursuant of Court proceedings against an alleged Council Tax/NNDR debtor.

2) A breakdown of administration expenditure? e.g. stationary cost, labour cost, postage cost or similar, which will account for the difference (if any) between issuing summonses and obtaining liability orders in terms of Council Tax and NNDR.

In dealing with this request, I wish to bring to your attention to the Department of Communities and Local Government's recent report
(https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...) entitled "Guidance to local councils on good practice in the collection of Council Tax arrears”, in particular paragraph 3.4 of the guidance:

"3.4 Local Authorities are reminded that they are only permitted to charge reasonable costs for the court summons and liability order. In the interests of transparency, Local Authorities should be able to provide a breakdown, on request, showing how these costs are calculated. While it is likely that authorities will have discussed costs with the Clerk to Justices it should be recognised that the Court may wish to be satisfied that the amount claimed by way of costs in any individual case is no more than that reasonably incurred by the authority."

Yours faithfully,

Arnold Layne

Baker Richard, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne

Freedom of Information / Environmental Information Regulations Request: Reference LBH/2068313

I acknowledge your request for information received on 05 August 2013. This information request will be dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations and we will send the response by 03 September 2013.

If you have any questions, please contact us on 020 8489 2550 or [email address].

Yours sincerely

Richard Baker
Feedback Response Officer
Feedback & Information Governance | 020 8489 2550

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Hart Steve (NNDR), Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne,

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request ref: LBH/2068313

I refer to your request for information, which was received on 5 August 2013.

We are dealing with your request but need more time to consider your request before fully responding to you.

We apologise that there will be a delay in responding to your request. We now expect to respond to you by 19 September.

Yours sincerely

Steve Hart
Service Manager (NNDR)
Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services
Tel: 020 8489 3581
E-Mail: [email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

CS Development Inbox, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Arnold Layne,

 

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request ref: LBH/1972113,

 

Thank you for your request for information received on , in which you
asked for the following information:

Please supply details under the aforementioned Act which make allowance
for costs reasonably incurred by the applicant in obtaining the Order.

 

An amount is not specified by the regulation and the term ‘reasonable
costs’ is referred to. As such, I require a complete and proper breakdown
of:

 

1) The actual administrative cost to Haringey Borough Council pursuant of
Court proceedings against an alleged Council Tax/NNDR debtor.

 

 

2) A breakdown of administration expenditure? e.g. stationary cost, labour
cost, postage cost or similar, which will account for the difference (if
any) between issuing summonses and obtaining liability orders in terms of
Council Tax and NNDR.

 

My response is as follows:

 

1. The total administrative cost of enforcement activities in serving a
summons and obtaining liability orders is £2,470,000 for council tax and
£356,200 for NNDR.

 

2. The costs charged cover the administrative cost of both issuing a
summons and obtaining a liability order.

 

 

If you have any further queries, or are unhappy with how we have dealt
with your request and wish to make a complaint, please contact the
Feedback and Information Team as below. (Please note you should do this
within two months of receiving this response.)  

 

Feedback and Information Team

River Park House

225 High Road

N22 8HQ

Telephone: 020 8489 2550

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Freddie Grealish

Assistant Head of Service

Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

CS Development Inbox, Haringey Borough Council

Apologies – please note the correct reference number:

 

Dear Arnold Layne,

 

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request ref: LBH/2068313,

 

Thank you for your request for information received on , in which you
asked for the following information:

Please supply details under the aforementioned Act which make allowance
for costs reasonably incurred by the applicant in obtaining the Order.

 

An amount is not specified by the regulation and the term ‘reasonable
costs’ is referred to. As such, I require a complete and proper breakdown
of:

 

1) The actual administrative cost to Haringey Borough Council pursuant of
Court proceedings against an alleged Council Tax/NNDR debtor.

 

 

2) A breakdown of administration expenditure? e.g. stationary cost, labour
cost, postage cost or similar, which will account for the difference (if
any) between issuing summonses and obtaining liability orders in terms of
Council Tax and NNDR.

 

My response is as follows:

 

1. The total administrative cost of enforcement activities in serving a
summons and obtaining liability orders is £2,470,000 for council tax and
£356,200 for NNDR.

 

2. The costs charged cover the administrative cost of both issuing a
summons and obtaining a liability order.

 

 

If you have any further queries, or are unhappy with how we have dealt
with your request and wish to make a complaint, please contact the
Feedback and Information Team as below. (Please note you should do this
within two months of receiving this response.)  

 

Feedback and Information Team

River Park House

225 High Road

N22 8HQ

Telephone: 020 8489 2550

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Freddie Grealish

Assistant Head of Service

Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Mr Grealish,

Will you please reply to the second element of my request.

This is not a new request for information nor a request for internal review as there is nothing to review. Haringey Borough Council has simply not provided a response, neither has it cited an exemption which falls under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Gadawodd Archibald anodiad ()

Haringey Borough Council have stated:

"2. The costs charged cover the administrative cost of both issuing a summons and obtaining a liability order."

I believe Haringey Borough Council impose £125 for issuing a summons for non or late payment of council tax (not obtaining a liability order). If I'm correct then this council, by stating that the £125 costs cover administration of both issuing a summons and obtaining a liability order, has admitted to systematically defrauding Haringey residents.

Summonses are generated "en masse" with minimal human input. Staff involvement isn't significant until after the court process, and only in a fraction of those taxpayers incurring costs.

Expenditure for setting-up payment arrangements and subsequent monitoring of them can not be recovered, or at least not in accordance with regulations.

This should be brought to the attention of the Specialist and Economic Crime Command at the Metropolitan Police Service.

The Council, must by law, comply with the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. The above quoted paragraph is an admission that Haringey Borough Council have no regard for regulation 34(5)(b) and 34(7)(b) of that Statutory Instrument.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/...

The law states that costs claimed must be incurred and are provided for under regulation 34(5)(b) and 34(7)(b) which categorically do not include costs for work undertaken after a Liability Order has been obtained.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/...

Application for liability order

" 34.–(5) If, after a summons has been issued in accordance with paragraph (2) but before the application is heard, there is paid or tendered to the authority an amount equal to the aggregate of—

(a) the sum specified in the summons as the sum outstanding or so much of it as remains outstanding (as the case may be); and

(b) a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the authority in connection with the application up to the time of the payment or tender,

the authority shall accept the amount and the application shall not be proceeded with.

(6) The court shall make the order if it is satisfied that the sum has become payable by the defendant and has not been paid.

(7) An order made pursuant to paragraph (6) shall be made in respect of an amount equal to the aggregate of—

(a) the sum payable, and

(b) a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the applicant in obtaining the order. "

To see a detailed account of the way councils abuse court costs look here:

http://www.legalbeagles.info/forums/show...

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear CS Development Inbox,

This is a reminder that I sent an email on 24 September 2013 which has not been respodeded to.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

CS Development Inbox, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne

Re: Previous Freedom of Information Act Request ref: LBH/2068313

 

Thank you for your email dated 24 September 2013, I apologise for the
delay in responding..

 

My original response advised you that the administrative cost to the
Council pursuant of

Court proceedings in respect of Council Tax is £2,470,00.00 and for it is
NNDR £356,200.00.

 

I advised you that the costs charged covered the administrative cost of
both issuing the

Summons and obtaining a Liability Order. Therefore, as there was no
difference in the cost

between the two it was assumed that a breakdown to account for the
difference between

issuing a summons and obtaining a Liability Order was not necessary.

 

However, it seems from your latest response that this is required and
therefore the breakdown

of costs are as follows.

 

Council Tax: 

Enforcement costs (employees) £   986,700.00

Direct Costs                                £   101,600.00

Indirect Costs                               £   295,000.00

Overheads                                   £1,088,450.00

TOTAL                                         £2,471,750.00

 

NNDR

Enforcement costs (employees)  £240,240.00

Direct Costs                                  £    7,200.00         

Indirect Costs                                £    9,600.00

Overheads                                    £  99,160.00

TOTAL                                          £356,200.00

If you have any further queries, or are unhappy with how we have dealt
with your request and

wish to make a complaint, please contact the Feedback and Information Team
as below.

(Please note you should do this within two months of receiving this
response.)   

 

Feedback and Information Team

River Park House

225 High Road

N22 8HQ

Telephone: 020 8489 2550

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Mick Bradburn

Senior Practitioner

 

Haringey Council

P.O Box 10505, Wood Green, London N22 7WJ

 

 

T:020 8489 2853

[2][email address]

 

[3]www.haringey.gov.uk

twitter@haringeycouncil

facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

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Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Haringey Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Haringey Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Council Tax and NNDR Summons and Liability Order costs'.

There is no possible way of determining whether the costs are reasonably incurred from the response.

It appears from the level and categories given that they include all or at least the majority of expenditure Haringey Borough Council incurs in respect of Council Tax/NNDR administration.

I require a complete and proper breakdown of the actual administrative cost to Haringey Borough Council pursuant of Court proceedings against an alleged Council Tax/NNDR debtor.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Arnold Layne

FOI, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne,

 

Internal Review regarding Freedom of Information request reference
LBH/2068313

 

Thank you for email received on 08 November 2013.

 

Your request for an Internal Review has been logged with the reference
LBH/2390613. Please quote this reference number on any further
correspondence.

 

We will now review the response you have been sent to the above request
and I aim to let you know the outcome of our investigation by 06 December
2013. If I need longer, I will write to let you know the reason and when
you can expect a full reply.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Sue Dyos

Feedback Team Leader

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2550

[email address]

 

www.haringey.gov.uk

twitter@haringeycouncil

facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dyos Sue, Haringey Borough Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Layne,

 

Please see attached response to the Internal Review.

 

Regards,

 

Sue Dyos

Feedback Team Leader

 

Haringey Council

 

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Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Ms Dyos,

May I respectfully suggest that there must be a strong case against the person responsible for the attached accounts, for misconduct in public office.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Ms Dyos,

Almost £3.5million is stated as being the gross cost of provision. 88% of this has been attributed to the summons costs. This is entirely meaningless without any calculations to support the claim. It would therefore have been impossible for HM courts service to approve them as being reasonable costs on 23rd March 2013.

• What is the "provision"? (C.Tax Administration, Revenues & Benefits, the council's entire budget...)

• Which direct staff costs?

• What accommodation?

• Support costs of what?

• What are the relevant recharges?

• Which IT services has been included?

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Gadawodd Archibald anodiad ()

Arnold!

Check out the attachment. The figures don't stack up:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/1...

"The costs calculation (2010-11) provided to HM Courts service is as follows:"

Total number of accounts summoned: 18,153

This doesn't agree with data submitted to CIPFA:

http://www.cipfastats.net/uploads/reve10...

Number of Summonses Issued (2010/11):

Council Tax – 23,227 (column 43)

Business rates – 1,707 (column 97)

Total – 24,934

They appear to have given a false figure to mislead the Magistrates Court.

If you check out the following year's figures they are even higher:

http://www.cipfastats.net/uploads/reve11...

Number of Summonses Issued (2011/12):

Council Tax – 27,732 (column 44)

Business rates – 2,084 (column 98)

Total – 29,816

When the following year's figures (2012/13) are released the number of summonses issued will be substantially higher because of the benefit reforms.

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Ms Dyos,

Would you please confirm whether the information supplied to HM Courts service was accurate in regards the total number of accounts summoned (18,153)

Please see the following spreadsheet where the number of summonses issued in 2010/11 was for Council Tax - 23,227 (column 43) and Business rates - 1,707 (column 97) making a total 24,934.

http://www.cipfastats.net/uploads/reve10...

To have presented a figure 6,781 lower than the true number appears to have been pulling the wool over the Justice's eyes.

More so if the total in 2011/12 was 29,816 as indicated in the following year's spreadsheet.

http://www.cipfastats.net/uploads/reve11...

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Ms Dyos,

I have submitted a FOI request to HMCTS in relation to the response given by Haringey council here. Please see below:

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

As you will see in the attachment, there is no record held by HMCTS of the calculation referred to in its response, and further, the date given (23rd March 2013) as that for which the Deputy Justice’s clerk approved the costs was a Saturday. I don't understand why there are so many inconsistencies.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Dyos Sue, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne,

Thank you for your email. I am seeking clarification on this and other points you have raised and will respond further as soon as I am able.

Regards,

Sue Dyos
Feedback Team Leader

Haringey Council
River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

T. 020 8489 2556
[email address]

www.haringey.gov.uk
twitter@haringeycouncil
facebook.com/haringeycouncil

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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dyos Sue, Haringey Borough Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Layne,
 
Please see attached response to the queries you have raised.
 
Regards
 
S Dyos
Haringey Council
 
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Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Ms Dyos,

Thank you for clarifying these issues further.

On 17 December 2013 I wrote to say that a FOI request had been submitted to HMCTS in relation to the response given by Haringey council.

I have since had another response from the MoJ which has raised further concerns with regards Haringey's reply. In the attachment below, the MoJ stated:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/1...

"The MoJ has a Record Management policy and keeps records accordingly. It may be helpful to further explain that the legal power to award costs rests with the court and not the Justice’s Clerk. Hence there would be no such documents approved by Justice’s Clerk. This further supports the decision to advise you that the MoJ does not hold the information you have requested."

As a reminder, the following was stated in relation to this FoI request (response to review 6 December 2013)

"The court costs of £125.00 have been in place since 01 April 2010. These were approved as reasonable costs by HM courts service, Deputy Justice’s clerk, Stephen Carroll on 23rd March 2013 [2010]."

Can you please throw some light on this? I assume the MoJ is just finding excuses and the Deputy Justice’s clerk would have approved the costs on 23rd March 2010.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Dyos Sue, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne,

 

We maintain our previous response was correct; the costs were approved as
reasonable costs by HM courts service, Deputy Justice’s clerk, Stephen
Carroll on 23rd March 2010.

 

Regards,

 

Sue Dyos

Feedback Team Leader

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2550

[email address]

 

[1]www.haringey.gov.uk

[2]twitter@haringeycouncil

[3]facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

The following summarises Haringey Borough Council's policy regarding Court cost (£125 / summons) imposed on its residents for Council Tax enforcement:

Approximately 75% of the authorities annual budget for Council Tax Collection is charged to householders in Court summons costs.

Total annual budget = £3,875,000

Claimed as cost of issuing summons £ 2,876,600

Note:

The law, under regulation 34(5)(b) of the 1992 Council Tax Regulations only allows billing authorities to be awarded court costs which have been incurred in the process (sending summons).

There's in effect minimal cost incurred for the council.

They can add the £3 court fee paid the magistrates court, and the cost of a second class stamp plus oddments for stationary and printing.

Therefore the maximum amount it could possibly justify as reasonable would be £6.

There's no monitoring involved and especially at the summons issuing stage everything is computerised. Incidentally they won't be able to add computer systems or any other overheads because they have not acquired either of these specifically for your summons.

Costs under regulation 34(5) are raised in respect of instituting the application prior to any hearing and paid without an order from the court if settled before the hearing. Individual costs raised under regulation 34(5) derive from the billing authority’s aggregate, split between however many defendants appear on the complaint list.

The process is controlled automatically in accordance with parameters set in the Council Tax software package. The system compiles particulars of all account holders requiring issue of a summons. The complaint list is generated from the individual entries contained in the database (including the amount outstanding and costs to be applied for at the hearing) and delivered to the court where it is reviewed by a legal adviser who issues the summonses.

There is no provision for the billing authority to impose costs for anything other than covering reasonably incurred expenditure, therefore in the circumstances of the request, the task to determine this would be minimal. Given that the billing authority will have accepted payment and the application halted, no consideration of expenditure is needed in respect of agreeing, setting-up or monitoring payment arrangements, telephone communications or correspondence entered into outside those automatically triggered

Gadawodd Cherie Jerez anodiad ()

Arnold,

I refer to your response from Haringey on 23 January 2013:

"We maintain our previous response was correct; the costs were approved as reasonable costs by HM courts service, Deputy Justice’s clerk, Stephen Carroll on 23rd March 2010."

I should warn you that there is conflicting evidence from HM courts service, where it is stated that Stephen Carroll was not Deputy Justice’s clerk for LB Haringey Court in 2010. See link:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/1...

"As part of this internal review, I have spoken with Deputy Justice’s clerk, Stephen Carroll in regard to the stated agreed £125 maximum costs, and he informed me that he was not DJC in 2010. He also confirmed that The DJC for LB Haringey Court in 2010 has searched and found no record of any particular document or record outlining an agreement with LB Haringey Council about the amount of costs."

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Ms Dyos,

Regarding your statement that follows:

"We maintain our previous response was correct; the costs were approved as reasonable costs by HM courts service, Deputy Justice’s clerk, Stephen Carroll on 23rd March 2010."

It has been brought to my attention that Stephen Carroll was not the Deputy Justice’s clerk in 2010.

Please see the HMCTS document which has been brought to my attention:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/1...

"As part of this internal review, I have spoken with Deputy Justice’s clerk, Stephen Carroll in regard to the stated agreed £125 maximum costs, and he informed me that he was not DJC in 2010. He also confirmed that The DJC for LB Haringey Court in 2010 has searched and found no record of any particular document or record outlining an agreement with LB Haringey Council about the amount of costs."

I would appreciate it being looked into whether or not the responses to this FoI request have been completely fabricated. It is not difficult to come to the conclusion that the most recent calculation has been rigged with figures that would achieve the desired sum of £125 as the incurred cost in sending a summons.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Dyos Sue, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne,

 

Thank you for your email below.

I can assure you that the Court did agree our cost levels as described
previously and we hold evidence of this.

 

Regards

 

Sue Dyos

Feedback Team Leader

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2550

[email address]

 

www.haringey.gov.uk

twitter@haringeycouncil

facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Dyos Sue,

Thank you for your giving your assurance (19 February 2014) that the Court did agree the council's cost levels and that evidence is held of this.

It would help another person's request for this information from HMCTS enormously if Haringey Borough Council could disclose this evidence. It appears despite several searches the documentation does not exist as far as HMCTS is concerned.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Dyos Sue,

I appreciate you have other requests to attend, but by your own admission you hold evidence which leads me to believe the information is "to hand" and any delay to privide the evidence would be seen by any logically thinking person to be playing for time to manufacture that evidence.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Dyos Sue, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne,

Would you like us to consider your email of 19 February as a new request?

Regards

Sue Dyos
Feedback Team Leader

Haringey Council
River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

T. 020 8489 2556
[email address]

www.haringey.gov.uk
twitter@haringeycouncil
facebook.com/haringeycouncil
---------------------------------------

Please consider the environment before printing this email.
From: Arnold Layne [mailto:[FOI #171329 email]]
Sent: 20 February 2014 18:04
To: Dyos Sue
Subject: RE: Response to queries raised

Dear Dyos Sue,

I appreciate you have other requests to attend, but by your own admission you hold evidence which leads me to believe the information is "to hand" and any delay to privide the evidence would be seen by any logically thinking person to be playing for time to manufacture that evidence.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Dyos Sue,

"Would you like us to consider your email of 19 February as a new request? "

I would rather the evidence referred to was provided for the purpose of clarifying the FOI response. However, if that is not possible please provide it under classification of a new request.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Dyos Sue, Haringey Borough Council

Thank you for your message. I am currently out of the office and this
mailbox will not be checked until my return on Monday 24 February. If your
message  is urgent please resend to [email address] or if you
wish to speak to someone please call 020 8489 2550

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential, may be
subject to legal privilege and are intended only for the person(s) or
organisation(s) to whom this email is addressed. Any unauthorised use,
retention, distribution, copying or disclosure is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this email in error, please notify the system
administrator at Haringey Council immediately and delete this e-mail from
your system. Although this e-mail and any attachments are believed to be
free of any virus or other defect which might affect any computer or
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Baker Richard, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne

 

Freedom of Information / Environmental Information Regulations Request:
Reference LBH/2738414

 

I acknowledge your request for information received on 21 February 2014.

This information request will be dealt with in accordance with the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations and we
will send the response by 21 March 2014.

 

If you have any questions, please contact us on 020 8489 2550 or
[email address].

 

 

 

Richard Baker

Feedback Response Officer 

 

Haringey Council 

River Park House 225 High Road London N22 8HQ

 

T:020 8489 3307

E:[email address]

 

www.haringey.gov.uk

twitter@haringeycouncil

facebook.com/haringeycouncil

P  Please consider the environment before printing.

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Villalobos Gemma, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Arnold Layne,

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request ref: LBH/2738414

 

Thank you for your request for information received on 24 February 2014,
in which you asked for the following information:

 

Thank you for your giving your assurance (19 February 2014) that the Court
did agree the council's cost levels and that evidence is held of this.  It
would help another person's request for this information from HMCTS
enormously if Haringey Borough Council could disclose this evidence. It
appears despite several searches the documentation does not exist as far
as HMCTS is concerned.

 

My response is as follows:

 

There is no requirement for the Council to agree costs in advance with the
court. Officers of the Council request costs at each liability order
hearing attended. In general circumstances this will be for an amount
assessed by the Council in accordance with legislated process. The court
may or may not agree costs and may agree to vary the level in particular
circumstances.  There is no requirement on the Council to provide a formal
request or indeed an agreement of the sum requested for costs.

 

If you have any further queries, or are unhappy with how we have dealt
with your request and wish to make a complaint, please contact the
Feedback and Information Team as below. (Please note you should do this
within two months of receiving this response.)   

 

Feedback and Information Team

River Park House

225 High Road

N22 8HQ

Telephone: 020 8489 2550

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Freddie Grealish

For Head of Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services

 

 

 

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential, may be
subject to legal privilege and are intended only for the person(s) or
organisation(s) to whom this email is addressed. Any unauthorised use,
retention, distribution, copying or disclosure is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this email in error, please notify the system
administrator at Haringey Council immediately and delete this e-mail from
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References

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Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Villalobos Gemma,

Thank you for giving your interpretation of the legal position surrounding costs in council tax liability order applications. However, the requested information was not for this, it was for the evidence that Haringey Borough Council claimed to have regarding the costs being approved as reasonable by HM courts service on 23rd March 2010.

For clarification:

Quote 1

"We maintain our previous response was correct; the costs were approved as reasonable costs by HM courts service, Deputy Justice’s clerk, Stephen Carroll on 23rd March 2010."

Quote 2

"I can assure you that the Court did agree our cost levels as described previously and we hold evidence of this."

Please provide the evidence which Haringey Borough Council claimed to hold and was requested.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Gadawodd Dorothy Matricks (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

re,

"I can assure you that the Court did agree our cost levels as described previously and we hold evidence of this."

I think we can safely assume the Court did not agree their cost levels.

Pietikainen Sirkku, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne,

 

Internal Review regarding Freedom of Information request reference
LBH/2738414

 

Thank you for email received on 20 March 2014.

 

Your request for an Internal Review has been logged with the reference
LBH/2854414. Please quote this reference number on any further
correspondence.

 

We will now review the response you have been sent to the above request
and I aim to let you know the outcome of our investigation by 17 April
2014. If I need longer, I will write to let you know the reason and when
you can expect a full reply.

 

If you have any questions, please let me know.  

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Sirkku Pietikäinen

Feedback Review Officer

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2552

[1][email address]

 

[2]www.haringey.gov.uk

[3]twitter@haringeycouncil

[4]facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Pietikainen Sirkku,

You haven't responded to the FOI request so what is there to review?

I would like you to respond to the request, it makes no sense that you review a decision which you have not made.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Pietikainen Sirkku,

As stated in yesterday's email, there is nothing to review.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Pietikainen Sirkku,

Will you be replying to my 26 & 27 March 2014 emails?

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Pietikainen Sirkku, Haringey Borough Council

2 Atodiad

Dear Mr Layne,

 

Please see attached our response to you FOI complaint/ Internal Review.

 

Regards,

 

Sirkku Pietikäinen

Feedback Review Officer

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2552

[1][email address]

 

[2]www.haringey.gov.uk

[3]twitter@haringeycouncil

[4]facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Paul anodiad ()

Use the courts.
Think about using a different venue for hearing.
Using the original Council Summons. Or issue your Summons to Council.
(Which must originally be a mistake in the administration process on the part of the Council Tax department)
You must not be guilty of non-payment of Council Tax.
Sue Council for your incurred cost.
Time used, letters and emails and computerised use.
Appoint a solicitor. State they pay your incurred cost within seven days.
Appoint Bacliff’s.

Gadawodd Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

Thank you Paul, but I'm convinced the courts are as untrustworthy as local authorities.

Gadawodd Enid Brighton (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

I have it on good authority that Council Tax summonses are not checked individually before they are issued.

Parameters are agreed in advance by the relevant manager and set in its Council Tax processing system relating to the number of days behind and the monetary value etc., and summonses are issued on this basis.

The process is therefore completely automated yet Haringey Borough Council recharge a cost of £125 to the defendant. It is unlawful to recharge an amount to the defendant which exceeds the council's incurred expenditure.

It is unlikely that Haringey Borough Council could support costs which added to the obvious costs of stationary and postage would bring the authority's expenditure to £125.

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear Pietikainen Sirkku,

I have good reason to believe that the summons costs calculation submitted to the court was the one contained in the correspondence (see below), not the one supplied in the revised response.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/1...

This seems evident because of what is stated in the 04 March 2010 message contained in the email document (see below);

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/1...

"you will see from the figures that the actual cost is more than the £125.00 requested."

The calculation returns a sum of £166.80.

The spread sheet in the link below appears to have originated from Haringey Borough council.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

I assume this because the properties relating to the when the file was created, the author etc. reveals under the summary tab, against 'Company:', the name entered is 'London Borough of Haringey' (see below).

http://i1205.photobucket.com/albums/bb43...

Additionally, the properties also suggests that the spread sheet (file) was created on 4 March 2010 under the statistics tab (see below).

http://i1205.photobucket.com/albums/bb43...

I would like the original spread sheet calculation from which the summary was provided (6 Dec 2013), with it borne in mind that Section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 makes it an offence for any person to deliberately alter, deface, block, erase, destroy or conceal a record after it has been requested with the intention of preventing its disclosure for which the penalty is a fine.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Gadawodd Tom Bola anodiad ()

Haringey Borough Council recharges £125 in costs to issue a summons. These are not the true costs that the council incur and are set this high purely to act as a penalty / deterrent.

Over 32,000 summonses were issued in 2013/14, and for an automated process the council raised over £4 million. That's an average of a third of a million pounds for each of its 12 bulk applications it makes to the Magistrates' court annually.

The council fundamentally misunderstands why it is permitted to obtain liability orders and more importantly what purpose the provision for costs serves.

The fact that Haringey Borough Council sets the court costs artificially high to in fact really function as a 'fine', seems to suggest that it views summons costs, and their manipulation, as a mechanism for maximising income (as opposed to a means for recharging relevant incurred expenditure to the defendant). It appears misconceived in its view as to why powers are conferred on billing authorities to enable them to make complaint in the Magistrates’ court.

A liability order is simply the vehicle empowering a billing authority to make use of a range of enforcement measures to pursue monies owed. Costs therefore arise out of the authority’s legal obligation to obtain authorisation to engage in further recovery. The court grants permission by way of the order, for which a prescribed fee is charged in respect of each account listed on the council’s bulk complaint. This forms an element of the costs which are recharged to the debtor.

It would be exploiting the legal power if proceedings were turned into an opportunity to coerce payment. For example, it would be an abuse if the costs were set at a level considered sufficiently punitive that the threat of a summons acted as an incentive for people to meet their liability, rather than set to reflect the expenditure incurred.

In other words, the court should not be seen as a vehicle to perversely raise costs (for example to penalise the debtor). It is vitally important to remember that the court is engaged because the billing authority is statutorily obliged. To that end, costs are incurred as a consequence, rather than the purpose of the application.

Court proceedings should not, but appear to be entered into with the intention of exploiting the costs element for the purposes of both penalising the defendant and to act as a threat to encourage prompt payment.

FOI, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne,

 

Thank you for your email below.  As we have no Haringey council tax payer
called Mr Arnold Layne, we believe you may be using a false name in your
correspondence with us. We believe that you may also be acting alongside
or be using the name “Ms Enid Brighton” who also posts FOI requests via
the What Do They Know website on a similar theme.

 

Given that we have answered your request  and then undertaken an Internal
Review, you should now approach the Information Commissioner’s Office as
you remain unhappy with our response.  Whilst we could accept the
following as a new request:

 

I would like the original spread sheet calculation from which the summary
was provided (6 Dec 2013), with it borne in mind that Section 77 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 makes it an offence for any person to
deliberately alter, deface, block, erase, destroy or conceal a record
after it has been requested with the intention of preventing its
disclosure for which the penalty is a fine.

 

Given the level of correspondence we have already engaged in with yourself
(and others) on this subject, and given that we are doubtful that you are
using your real name, we would consider this a vexatious request and that
your correspondence  is now causing a burden to us.  We could also
consider aggregating the requests from yourself and Ms Brighton and refuse
on those grounds.  Before we resort to such measures, we would like to ask
you to please consider carefully what information you actually need in the
public interest before submitting any more FOI requests.

 

We shall take no further action on this request unless we hear further
from you.

 

Regards,

 

Sue Dyos

Feedback Team Leader

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2556

[1][email address]

 

[2]www.haringey.gov.uk

[3]twitter@haringeycouncil

[4]facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential, may be
subject to legal privilege and are intended only for the person(s) or
organisation(s) to whom this email is addressed. Any unauthorised use,
retention, distribution, copying or disclosure is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this email in error, please notify the system
administrator at Haringey Council immediately and delete this e-mail from
your system. Although this e-mail and any attachments are believed to be
free of any virus or other defect which might affect any computer or
system into which they are received and opened, it is the responsibility
of the recipient to ensure they are virus free and no responsibility is
accepted for any loss or damage from receipt or use thereof. All
communications sent to or from external third party organisations may be
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Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear FOI,

I consider the information is in the public interest because I believe Haringey is and has been for some years, defrauding Council Tax payers by falsely accounting for costs in applications for Liability Orders.

I could have saved Haringey Council wasting its time looking for my name in its records if I thought that it would assume I was a resident of Haringey.

I have many reasons to believe I have had dishonest responses to my requests and will be looking into what avenues are available to have this criminally investigated.

For the avoidance of doubt I do consider this request in the public interest and I would therefore like the requested information disclosing.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Gadawodd CA Purkis anodiad ()

Looks like they don't have that evidence they claim they have.

Gadawodd Michelle vonAhn anodiad ()

I would be happy to ask this question on your behalf, as I am a real person, known to them. I too think it is in the public interest.

FOI, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne
Thank you for your email below which I have forwarded to Ms Dyos. Ms Dyos is away from the office and will respond to you on her return next week.

Regards
Lesley Clay
Feedback Review Officer
Tel 020 8489 3398

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

Michelle,

Thanks for offering to request the information. I'd much appreciate this if Haringey decide to apply an exemption as it appears to be considering.

Arnold

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear FOI,

I would like informing as to whether Haringey has come to a decision regarding disclosing the information.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

FOI, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne,

We have told you our position in our response to the Internal Review; if you wish to challenge this further you should approach the Information Commissioner's Office.

Regards,

Sue Dyos
Feedback Team Leader

Haringey Council
River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

T. 020 8489 2556
[email address]

www.haringey.gov.uk
twitter@haringeycouncil
facebook.com/haringeycouncil

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear FOI,

You stated in your 14 January 2015

"...We could also consider aggregating the requests from yourself and Ms Brighton and refuse on those grounds. Before we resort to such measures, we would like to ask you to please consider carefully what information you actually need in the public interest before submitting any more FOI requests.

We shall take no further action on this request unless we hear further from you."

I responded on the same day stating that my request was in the public interest, therefore not a vexatious request.

Haringey replied (15 January 2015)

"Dear Mr Layne

Thank you for your email below which I have forwarded to Ms Dyos. Ms Dyos is away from the office and will respond to you on her return next week. "

There was no response the next week.

The request was considered a new request and therefore at this point the question as to whether the information commissioner is complained to is not appropriate.

Please provide the spread sheet I asked for.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

FOI, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Layne,

 

Further to my comments of 14 January,  

“As we have no Haringey council tax payer called Mr Arnold Layne, we
believe you may be using a false name in your correspondence with us. We
believe that you may also be acting alongside or be using the name “Ms
Enid Brighton” who also posts FOI requests via the What Do They Know
website on a similar theme.”

 

Could you please provide some form of identification to confirm that your
name is Arnold Layne? Such as:   

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Proof of Identity |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Current valid (signed) full UK Passport |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Current valid (signed) overseas Passport |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Current valid EEA Member State ID card |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Current Residency Permit issued by Home Office |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Current Full UK Driving Licence |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Current UK/EU Photocard Driving Licence |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Current State Pension book/notification letter |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Current Benefits Agency Book/letter |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Current years Inland Revenue Tax Code Notification |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

Regards,

 

Sue Dyos

Feedback Team Leader

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2556

[email address]

 

www.haringey.gov.uk

twitter@haringeycouncil

facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear FOI,

I believe there may be others willing to request the information that Haringey has refused to disclose. If that is via the 'whatdotheyknow' website then I will have access to the information all the same.

In any event, Haringey has already provided some very useful information in that it has lied and been obstructive in responding to this FOI request. Add to that its refusal to be open, virtually admits that it has been defrauding (along with its accomplice Magistrates court) its residents in Council Tax liability order applications.

I will wait to see what happens.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Gadawodd Enid Brighton (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

I should think there are Data Protection laws being broken with Haringey Borough Council making wild accusations regarding your identity.

Gadawodd Rebecca Saunders (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

Hope you don't mind I have asked for the same information:

"Original spread sheet calculation – Council Tax Summons costs (LBH/2068313 and LBH/2738414)"

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

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear FOI,

I have just seen the response to Michelle vonAhn's request (Council Tax court costs – Original spread sheet), and I'm at a loss to know how Haringey Council convinces itself that every member of the public is completely naive.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

Please note that under regulation 22 (Offence) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012, that a person who intentionally obstructs any person exercising a right conferred under the Regulations is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/...

Also;

that Section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 makes it an offence for any person to deliberately alter, deface, block, erase, destroy or conceal a record after it has been requested with the intention of preventing its disclosure for which the penalty is a fine.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear FOI,

Please see paragraph 7 of the High Court Judgment, so far as is relevant (link below):

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admi...

"7. In consequence of disclosure ordered by Green J, both the Claimant and this Court are now far better informed than the Magistrates were on 2 August 2013 as to how it was that the Council arrived at the figure of £125 and what elements it took into account in doing so. Two witness statements have been provided by Winifred Grealish, the Council's Assistant Head of Service for Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services, together with documents relating to the process through which and the manner in which the Council calculated the £125, and the political process by which it decided to seek those costs from defaulting taxpayers...."

Now! Instead of inventing excuses like the calculation is no longer held, will you please just provide the information as requested.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear FOI,

Haringey has been exposed time and time again for lying. I would appreciate if it would just stop wasting everyone's time and produce the information it holds and was requested.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne

Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif)

Dear FOI,

Up until now Haringey Borough Council has been criminally concealing the requested information.

Are you prepared yet to disclose it?

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Layne