Councillors and Council Tax Arrears

Joanna Morris made this Freedom of Information request to Aberdeen City Council as part of a batch sent to 426 authorities

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

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Hello,

I'm writing to you in the hope of obtaining information relating to the number of reminder letters and summons sent to elected councillors in your authority area since 2015/16.

I'd prefer to receive the information in Excel spreadsheet - xlsx or xls - format and if you cannot provide the information in full, I would like to request that you provide as much as you are able to within the cost and time limits of the Act.

If you need clarification or can suggest ways in which the request can be refined in order for it to be successful, I'd be grateful if you could contact me as soon as possible.

Please note that there is precedent for councillors to be named in relation to this issue - the High Court ruled in March 2015 that they should not have their identities protected when it comes to non-payment of council tax.

I'd like to know the following:

1. How many unpaid council tax reminders were sent to councillors elected in your authority between 2015/16 and 2017/18? Please break down by financial year?

2. How many councillors were summonsed to court or given summary warrants in the same period? Again, please break down by financial year.

3a. How many reminders were issued to the councillors named? Please break down by year.

3b. For each instance, please provide the name of each councillor, the party they represent or represented at the time and the amount of council tax owed according to sums requested in the letter. Please also provide the amount of council tax that remains outstanding.

3c. Please also state for each councillor, whether they were barred from voting on the council's budget as a result of their council tax arrears and whether any summons received resulted in a court hearing going ahead.

I'd be grateful if you could provide the information for questions 1 and 2 as totals for your authority and present the rest of the information within a spreadsheet with the following columns:

Financial Year - Authority Name - Councillor Name - Party - No of Reminders - No of Summons - Amount Owed According to Reminders - Court Hearing Y/N - Outcome of Hearing - Banned from Voting Y/N - Current Sum Outstanding

Yours faithfully,

Joanna Morris

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

2 Atodiad

Dear Ms Morris,

 

Information enquiry reference FOI-19-0529.

 

Thank you for your recent request for information, which we received on 12
April 2019.

 

The scheduled date for our response to your request for information is on
or before 14 May 2019.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries in the
meantime.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

[1]ACC_Crest_for Salomeh Kheyri Rad | Access to Information Officer
mac email
Aberdeen City Council | Access to Information Team |
Customer Feedback |Customer

Marischal College | Business Hub 17 | 3^rd Floor | Broad
Street | Aberdeen | AB10 1AQ

 

Dial: 01224 522166

[2]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk | Twitter: @AberdeenCC |
Facebook.com/AberdeenCC

 

 

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confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
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References

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2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

3 Atodiad

Dear Ms Morris,

 

Thank you for your information request of 12 April 2019 and please accept
our apologies for delay in getting back to you. Aberdeen City Council
(ACC) has completed the necessary search for the information requested.
Our response is now detailed below.

 

1.How many unpaid council tax reminders were sent to councillors elected
in your authority between 2015/16 and 2017/18? Please break down by
financial year?

2015/16: 2 reminders to the same Councillor

2016/17: 3 reminders to two Councillors

2017/18: 3 reminders to three Councillors

 

2. How many councillors were summonsed to court or given summary warrants
in the same period? Again, please break down by financial year.

None

 

3a. How many reminders were issued to the councillors named? Please break
down by year.

Please see the response to Question 1 above.

 

3b. For each instance, please provide the name of each councillor, the
party they represent or represented at the time and the amount of council
tax owed according to sums requested in the letter.  Please also provide
the amount of council tax that remains outstanding.

Please find enclosed the document ref: FOI-19-0529 – Information.

 

ACC is unable to provide you with information on name of each councillor
as it is exempt from disclosure.  In order to comply with its obligations
under the terms of Section 16 of the FOISA, ACC hereby gives notice that
we are refusing your request under the terms of Section 38(1)(b) in
conjunction with Section 38(2)(A)(a) – Personal Information  - of the
FOISA.

 

In making this decision ACC considered the following points:

 

ACC is of the opinion that Section 38(1)(b) applies to the information
specified above as the information in question is personal information
relating to living individuals, of which the applicant is not the data
subject.

 

ACC is of the opinion that Section 38(2A)(a) applies, as we consider that
disclosure of this information would be a breach of the ‘lawfulness,
fairness and transparency’ principle. As the numbers are less than 5, ACC
is of the view that disclosing the exact number and any further details,
would enable other people (for example, other employees) to identify these
individuals. These individuals have not consented to the disclosure of
this information and ACC does not consider that they would expect ACC to
release this information about them into the public domain under the
FOISA.

 

3c. Please also state for each councillor, whether they were barred from
voting on the council's budget as a result of their council tax arrears
and whether any summons received resulted in a court hearing going ahead.

There were no councillors barred from voting as a result of council tax
arrears as all outstanding amounts were paid.

 

I'd be grateful if you could provide the information for questions 1 and 2
as totals for your authority and present the rest of the information
within a spreadsheet with the following columns:

 

Financial Year - Authority Name - Councillor Name - Party - No of
Reminders - No of Summons - Amount Owed According to Reminders - Court
Hearing Y/N - Outcome of Hearing - Banned from Voting Y/N - Current Sum
Outstanding

 

INFORMATION ABOUT THE HANDLING OF YOUR REQUEST

 

ACC handled your request for information in accordance with the provisions
of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Please refer to the
attached PDF for more information about your rights under FOISA.

 

We hope this helps with your request.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

[1]ACC_Crest_for Salomeh Kheyri Rad | Access to Information Officer
mac email
Aberdeen City Council | Access to Information Team |
Customer Feedback |Customer

Marischal College | Business Hub 17 | 3^rd Floor | Broad
Street | Aberdeen | AB10 1AQ

 

Dial: 01224 522166

[2]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk | Twitter: @AberdeenCC |
Facebook.com/AberdeenCC

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/