Ensuring customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council,

Ensuring customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship

A council taxpayer who owes more than just the current year's liability runs the risk of incurring additional recovery costs through a further application for a liability order if payments which are intended for the current year's liability are allocated by the council's computer to the previous year's liability. This would most likely happen where a non specific payment is made and the computer software is set to automatically allocate these payments to the oldest year's debt.

Councils computer systems have the necessary flexibility to be set to allow non specific payments to be allocated to the arrears or the current year's liability.

I understand that the majority of billing authorities have their computer software set to ensure that their customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship, i.e. so non specific payments are allocated to the current year's liability.

How does Newcastle under Lyme Council have its computer software set to deal with non specific payments. Current or oldest year's liability?

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information, Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council

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Customer Services,
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council,
Civic Offices,
Merrial Street,
Newcastle-under-Lyme,
Staffordshire.
ST5 2AG.
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Emergency out of hours contact number: (01782) 615599
Details of opening times can be found at
[1]http://www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/conta...

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Freedom of Information, Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council

[Classification: NULBC UNCLASSIFIED]

Dear Sir / Madam - FOI Reference number ____6617_______

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Dear Freedom of Information,

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council should normally have responded promptly and by 9 November 2017

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information, Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council

Thank you for your email enquiry, which has been passed direct to the
service responsible for providing an answer. We will endeavour to provide
a full response within one working day, however, a more complex enquiry or
an enquiry made when the offices are closed may take a little more time.
 
Customer Services,
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council,
Civic Offices,
Merrial Street,
Newcastle-under-Lyme,
Staffordshire.
ST5 2AG.
Tel. 01782 717717
 
Emergency out of hours contact number: (01782) 615599
Details of opening times can be found at
[1]http://www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/conta...

References

Visible links
1. http://www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/conta...

Hollinshead, Karen, Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council

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    UNCLASSIFIED FW Freedom of Information request Ensuring customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action additional costs or hardship FOI 6617 Statutory response deadline 08 11 2017 reminder.txt

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[Classification: NULBC UNCLASSIFIED]

Dear Sir

I refer to your request below and apologise for the delay in responding.

Our cash receipting system has 24 allocation rules which try to match payment to instalments or groups of instalments for current or previous years.

Where no match can be made payments are automatically allocated to the oldest year debt,

However reports are run and checks are made prior to current year recovery being taken to ensure that payments allocated in this do not adversely affect chargepayers and are monies are moved between years moved if necessary

regards

Karen Hollinshead
Revenues Manager
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council
01782 742132
www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk
This e-mail communication may be intercepted for regulatory, quality control, or crime detection purposes as per the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act. This message is intended only for the use of authorised person(s) (“the intended recipient”) to whom it is addressed. It may contain information that is privileged and confidential within the meaning of the applicable law. Accordingly any dissemination, distribution, copying or other use of this message or any of its content by any other person may constitute a breach of civil or criminal law and is strictly prohibited. If you are not the Intended recipient please contact the sender as soon as possible. Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender and may not necessarily reflect the views of Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Ms Hollinshead,

Thank you for your response. I consider Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has provided the information I requested. The purpose of this exercise was to ascertain whether or not the principles surrounding the appropriation of payments were being adhered to.

R v Miskin Lower Justices (1953)

It was held in R v Miskin Lower Justices, that where an amount obviously relates to a specific liability, it would be an unwarranted assumption to allocate the payment elsewhere.

If no instruction is given at the time of payment, then the council has a duty to allocate payment to the account which it is most beneficial to the debtor to reduce. That would be in the majority of cases the current liability if the consequences of allocating payment to the arrears meant that the customer was subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs etc.

I understand by the council's response (see *note*) that there are measures in place to ensure that unspecified payments are allocated to the account which it is least burdensome for the debtor, and consequently the laws surrounding the appropriation of payments are being complied with. This effectively means that an unmatched payment allocated to the oldest debt (having the consequences of putting the current year's liability also in arrears) would be reallocated to the current year's liability on account of the circumstances implying that this was the debtor's intention (least burdensome for the debtor).

*Note*: "...reports are run and checks are made prior to current year recovery being taken to ensure that payments allocated in this [way] do not adversely affect chargepayers and...monies are moved between years .. if necessary."

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

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