Dear Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council,

This is a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

I would like to know if any serving councillors have council tax arrears. For each serving councillor that has council tax arrears, please provide the following information:

- The name of the serving councillor
- The total amount that they owe [and then, if possible, please provide a breakdown of that figure of how much they owe by financial year]
- If held, the reasons why the serving councillor has council tax arrears
- The action taken by the council to pursue the individual and the outcome

I would like to receive the information electronically. If you feel that a substantive response to this request is not possible within a reasonable time frame, or the request is too broad or too vague, I would be grateful if you could contact me and provide assistance as to how I could refine the request. Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

Jenna Corderoy

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Dear Jenna Corderoy,

I acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information request and will liaise with the relevant Department in order to provide a response.

We will endeavour to provide this information within 20 working days.

Yours faithfully,

FOI Team
 Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council
  Legal Section, The General Offices, Steel Works Road, Ebbw Vale  NP23 6DN
  Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Blaenau Gwent
Mae'r Adain Gyfreithiol, Y Swyddfeydd Cyffredinol, Heol Gwaith Dur, Glyn Ebwy NP23 6DN

Mae’r Cyngor yn croesawu gohebiarth yn Gymraeg a saesneg a byddwn yn cyfathrebu gyda chi yn eich dewis iaith, dim ond I chi rhoi gwybod I ni pa un sydd well gennych. Ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn creu unrhyw oedi.
The Council welcomes correspondence in Welsh and English and we will communicate with you in the language of your choice, as long as you let us know which you prefer. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to any delay.

** For future reference please can all future FOI requests be submitted via the link below:
[email address]

If you are not happy with the way in which your request has been dealt with please respond requesting an internal review. You may also contact the Information Commissioner if you are still not happy with the way your request has been dealt with.

The Information Commissioner’s address is:
Information Commissioner’s Office – Wales
2nd Floor, Churchill House
Churchill Way
Cardiff
CF10 2HH
Telephone: 029 2067 8400
Fax: 029 2067 8399
Email: [email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Dear Jenna Corderoy

In response to your Freedom of Information request I can confirm that the information you have requested constitutes personal information as defined in Section 1(1) Data Protection Act. We therefore need to consider whether it is exempt from disclosure under s40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act; i.e. whether disclosure of personal information would contravene any of the data protection principles.

The first data protection principle states:

“Personal Data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and in particular shall not be processed unless at least one of the conditions in schedule 2 is met”.

The information held by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council is held for the purposes of administering council tax. We accept, particularly in the light of DH v Information Commissioner, (2) Bolton Council [2016] UKUT 0139 (AAC),that a councillor may not have the same expectations of a private citizen with regards to their payment of council tax where it has a bearing on their performance of public functions.

The Bolton case addresses the principle of fairness in the processing of councillors’ payment of council tax, and their ability to exercise their public functions in cases of non-payment. As highlighted in the judgement of this case, section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 bars a councillor from voting on the Council’s budget if they have an outstanding council tax debt of over 2 months.

The judgement states that:

“there is a compelling legitimate interest in the public knowing whether a particular councillor has failed to pay the council tax, at least in circumstances were they have remained in default for over two months with the result that section 106 applies.”

Your request relates to Council Tax arrears and any reminders that may have been served due to missing a single payment deadline. As this is relating to a much shorter period of time than was considered in the Bolton case, and could involve the disclosure of personal information about councillors whose instalments were received no more than a day or two late we do not feel it is appropriate to disclose this information.

Such minimal delay cannot reasonably, in our view, be considered to have any implications for the ability of councillors to exercise their public functions. Minimal delay may not be the responsibility of councillors in any case and, hypothetically could arise through postal delays or delays by banks, for example. It is difficult to see any significant public interest in disclosure of information about late payment falling short of the two months that would trigger the restriction in section 106. We therefore do not consider that such public interest as there may be would be sufficient to make disclosure fair within the terms of the first data protection principle.

The information relating to arrears and the issue of reminders is therefore exempt from disclosure under s40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act.

If you are not happy with the way in which your request has been dealt with please respond requesting an internal review. You may also contact the Information Commissioner if you are still not happy with the way your request has been dealt with.

The Information Commissioner’s address is:
Information Commissioner’s Office – Wales
2nd Floor, Churchill House
Churchill Way
Cardiff
CF10 2HH
Telephone: 029 2067 8400
Fax: 029 2067 8399
Email: [email address]

Kind Regards

FOI Team
Information & Governance Officer / Gwybodaeth a Swyddog Llywodraethu
Legal & Corporate Compliance / Cydymffurfio Cyfreithiol a Chorfforaethol
Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council / Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Blaenau Gwent

Mae’r Cyngor yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg a Saesneg a byddwn yn cyfathrebu gyda chi yn eich dewis iaith, dim ond i chi rhoi gwybod i ni pa un sydd well gennych. Ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn creu unrhyw oedi.
The Council welcomes correspondence in Welsh and English and we will communicate with you in the language of your choice, as long as you let us know which you prefer. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to any delay.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir