120% increase in Summons fee penalty for Council Tax

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) made this Freedom of Information request to North East Lincolnshire Council

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

The request was partially successful.

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

Can you provide me with a copy of the breakdown as supplied to the Magistrate's Court to support your latest request for a Council Tax Summons fee increase of almost 120%, which takes the previous cost of £32 to the current £70?

Can justification be given to why, in a Council document listing proposed savings, i.e. "Increase summons cost" – projected savings of £188,000 for each of the following 4 years is forecasted when such fees are to cover Council Tax recovery, not constitute savings by way of income generation?

Yours faithfully,

Neil Gilliatt

George Cant left an annotation ()

Hi

Not sure if this will help but the council onlypay the court £ 3 per liability order, they make the rest in profit. I think the £ 70 is made up as 25 for the summons and £ 35 for the liability order

http://www.crazycouncil.co.uk/council-tax

and

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/qu...

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

From my understanding, up until the recent cost cutting measures, the penalty costs consisted of a Summons fee of £32 followed by a further £25 Liability Order fee at the Court stage of the recovery process.

I'm sure that the £32 Summons fee has risen to £70 but it is unclear whether the Liability Order fee of £25 has remained the same, increased or abolished. I can only hope given the near 120% increase of the Summons fee that the £25 fee has been scrapped.

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information received on 2 May 2011, which has been allocated the reference number 20110505.

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving the response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of Information requests is available on our website at: http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-and-de...

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt 

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act reference
number 20110505.

In response to your request I can confirm the following information is
held

Can you provide me with a copy of the breakdown as supplied to the
Magistrate's Court to support your latest request for a Council Tax
Summons fee increase of almost 120%, which takes the previous cost of £32
to the current £70?

There has not been a ‘breakdown’ supplied to the Magistrates Court so we
cannot supply you with a copy of this. The Magistrates Court were informed
by letter of our intention to increase summons costs (there are no longer
costs for a liability order).

Can justification be given to why, in a Council document listing proposed
savings, i.e. "Increase summons cost" – projected savings of £188,000 for
each of the following 4 years is forecasted when such fees are to cover
Council Tax recovery, not constitute savings by way of income generation?

The costs raised are to cover the cost of Council Tax collection and
recovery. This includes the technological systems in place and employment
of staff. Costs collected also cover monies paid to Her Majesty’s Court
Service for the use of their facilities. The monies raised from costs are
not greater than the cost of the service. The increase in summons costs
does not represent ‘income generation’ but a saving that can be made in
the cost of the delivery of the service, that would otherwise ultimately
be passed on to the Council Tax payers of North East Lincolnshire.

 

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of North East Lincolnshire Council's handling of my FOI request '120% increase in Summons fee penalty for Council Tax'.

It's difficult to believe that Councils can dictate to Magistrates' Courts what costs the Council Tax payer incurs when council's take court action against them.

In the absence of any apparent requirement to justify these costs to the Magistrates' Court I would like North East Lincolnshire Council to supply me with a breakdown itemising costs which will provide evidence that the cost of court action taken against each resident would total £70.

Important factors I would appreciate the council take into account are:

i) that the cost paid to the Magistrate's court is £3 for each person receiving court action.

ii) that hundreds of cases are typically processed at a single court hearing with a bulk Liability Order and a single signature of a Justice of the Peace.

iii) of these cases processed each month; 700 would represent a typical number which would yield £46,900 after deductions to Her Majesty's Court Service for the use of their facilities, and it would not be too unrealistic an estimation to say £562,800 could be generated in a year.

I'm aware that this entire court procedure may be bogus due to how costs paid to the court have been described in the FOI reply,

i.e. "Costs collected also cover monies paid to Her Majesty's Court Service for the use of their facilities"

This suggests that the Magistrate's Court is hired by the council; my understanding of a court case is one where the court conducts the hearing, not the those who bring about the complaint to the court. Given that my FOI reply has given me reason to believe that the entire court procedure may be bogus I would like North East Lincolnshire Council to supply me with evidence that this court process is legal.

The FOI reply also states that there are no longer costs for liability order. Taking this into account the overall cost of associated court costs has risen by 23%. By consolidating these penalties and adding the further sum, this manoeuvre has effectively added more than 23% to the potential income generated because more residents will be caught out by the vastly increased Summons penalty than would otherwise have been with the two stage penalties that comprised both Summons and Liability Order fees.

If anything; combining the two penalties should have lowered the overall cost of taking residents to court as there is less work for the council and a greater number of residents caught out. This, I believe, needs justifying.

The question that makes up the second part of my FOI has not been answered because I consider the explanation to be fiction,

"Can justification be given to why, in a Council document listing proposed savings, i.e. "Increase summons cost" – projected savings of £188,000 for each of the following 4 years is forecasted when
such fees are to cover Council Tax recovery, not constitute savings by way of income generation?"

The following council document,

http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/committees/Fun... (page 2 fourth item), scheduling a series of "saving proposals", has clearly written under a sub-heading, "income generation", a proposal to "increase summons cost".

This increase was agreed at a meeting on the 17th of February where elected members had the opportunity to scrutinise the detail behind these proposals at a meeting in January; unfortunately it took place in private session as the details were deemed to be exempt from publication under the Access to information under the Local Government Act 1972.

Because of the above I believe that the following response serves as a desperate measure to defend the council's action by playing one group of residents off against another. Or, put another way, deviously using those who are whiter than white as a moral shield for the purpose of implementing this income generating scheme.

"The increase in summons costs does not represent `income generation' but a saving that can be made in the cost of the delivery of the service, that would otherwise ultimately
be passed on to the Council Tax payers of North East Lincolnshire."

There are other reasons that reinforce my belief that the fees do not accurately represent the cost of recovery.

The following council document,

http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/committees/Fun... clearly demonstrates that a 50% increase in the Summons fee penalty directly funded extra members of staff to clear a backlog of work caused by problems with its IT system. An important point worth noting is that the Summons penalty, increased by 50%, didn't resume to the level prior to the IT issues. Another example of the Summons penalty being used as an income generating tool at the expense of those residents caught out by them.

For the reasons explained above and taking into account the evidence supplied in the council documents I would like North East Lincolnshire Council to convincingly verify the reason for these increases if not as a income generating exercise.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/12...

Yours faithfully,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your email of 10 May 2011, requesting an internal review of North East Lincolnshire Council's handling of your Freedom of Information request.

This has been passed to the appropriate department for processing and your response will be sent to you in due course.

Your sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer
North East Lincolnshire Council

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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

I have reason to believe that in addition to the points I have outlined in my request for an internal review, I have either been given incorrect information to my FOI request, or the automated Summons document sent out by the council to potentially thousands of its residents includes an incorrect warning.

It is written in the FOI reply that:

".....The Magistrates Court were informed by letter of our intention to increase summons costs (there are no longer costs for a liability order."

And I believe the council's automated Summons document warns:

".....If the total amount outstanding as stated above including summons costs is paid to North East Lincolnshire Council before the date of the hearing, all further proceedings will be stopped. However, if a Liability Order is granted the Council will apply for further costs of £25.00 being reasonable costs incurred."

I have just one further observation; the council's Summons documents appear to be been sent from the Council rather than the Magistrate's Court, due to the return addresses on these envelopes being the council's.

Despite these documents originating from the council, they begin with the following rather misleading paragraph:

"Complaint has been made before me, the undersigned Clerk to the Justices, by The Executive Director Business Services of North East Lincolnshire Council......."

These documents are dated and a Signature of the Clerk to the Justices doctored on to them.

Taking this into consideration I would also like North East Lincolnshire Council to provide information to support that sending out these Summonses is legal bearing in mind the following legislation and that the council sends out there own.

1)MAGISTRATES’ COURTS ACT 1980 Part II

Civil Jurisdiction and Procedure

Jurisdiction to issue summons and deal with complaints

51- Issue of summons on complaint

Where a complaint relating to a person is made to a justice of the peace, the justice of the peace may issue a summons to the person requiring him to appear before a magistrates' court to answer to the complaint.

2)THE COUNCIL TAX (ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT REGULATIONS 1992

PART VI – ENFORCEMENT

Application for liability order

34. —

(2) The application is to be instituted by making complaint to a justice of the peace, and requesting the issue of a summons directed to that person to appear before the court to show why he has not paid the sum which is outstanding.

3)ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE ACT 1970 – Part V

Miscellaneous Provisions

40 Punishment for unlawful harassment of debtors.

(1)A person commits an offence if, with the object of coercing another person to pay money claimed from the other as a debt due under a contract, he—

(d) utters a document falsely represented by him to have some official character or purporting to have some official character which he knows it has not.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your emails of 10 and 14 May 2011, requesting us to provide
an internal review of your Freedom of Information request, reference
20110505.

Your original information request was made on 02 May 2011 and was
responded to on 10 May 2011. Following this response you have sent two
emails asking for an internal review of our response and asking further
questions to clarify issues in relation to Council Tax summons fees and
liability orders. Please see below for answers to these questions.

Email of 10 May:
___________________________________________

     ''It's difficult to believe that Councils can dictate to Magistrates'
     Courts what costs the Council Tax payer incurs when council's take
     court action against them.
 
     In the absence of any apparent requirement to justify these costs
     to the Magistrates' Court I would like North East Lincolnshire
     Council to supply me with a breakdown itemising costs which will
     provide evidence that the cost of court action taken against each
     resident would total £70.

    
     Important factors I would appreciate the council take into account
     are:
    
     i) that the cost paid to the Magistrate's court is £3 for each
     person receiving court action.
    
     ii) that hundreds of cases are typically processed at a single
     court hearing with a bulk Liability Order and a single signature of
     a Justice of the Peace.
    
     iii) of these cases processed each month; 700 would represent a
     typical number which would yield £46,900 after deductions to Her
     Majesty's Court Service for the use of their facilities, and it
     would not be too unrealistic an estimation to say £562,800 could be
     generated in a year.''
___________________________________________

1. We refer you to the Council Tax Administration and Enforcement
regulations 1992, which state that the Council may add costs reasonably
incurred by the authority in connection with the application.

    
2. The Council Tax Administration & Enforcement regulations do not require
the Council to justify the amount charged to each individual, only that
the costs have been reasonably incurred by the authority in connection
with the application up to the time of payment or tender.  The annual
budget for all activity associated with recovery of Council Tax and
Business rates amounts to approximately £1.1 million.

2011/12 Revenues budget (debt recovery)                                
       
                                               
Cost centre     Cost Centre Description Total revenue expenditure budget 
£     recharged income        % recovery work Cost attributable CT
recovery  
A0184   Control & Monitoring    507,000 0       20      101,400
A0187   Debt Collection 738,500 (121,800)*      100     616,700
A0191   Council Tax     826,900 0       50      413,450
                                        1,131,550      
*cost of sundry debt collection recharged to other directorates
___________________________________________

     ''I'm aware that this entire court procedure may be bogus due to how
     costs paid to the court have been described in the FOI reply,
    
     i.e. "Costs collected also cover monies paid to Her Majesty's Court
     Service for the use of their facilities"
    
     This suggests that the Magistrate's Court is hired by the council;
     my understanding of a court case is one where the court conducts
     the hearing, not the those who bring about the complaint to the
     court. Given that my FOI reply has given me reason to believe that
     the entire court procedure may be bogus I would like North East
     Lincolnshire Council to supply me with evidence that this court
     process is legal.''
___________________________________________

3. It has not been suggested that the Magistrates Court is hired by the
Council.  The costs collected cover the charge made by the Magistrates
Court as well as other costs incurred by the authority. If you have any
questions regarding the legality of the court process you should direct
them to HMCS.

___________________________________________

     ''The FOI reply also states that there are no longer costs for
     liability order. Taking this into account the overall cost of
     associated court costs has risen by 23%. By consolidating these
     penalties and adding the further sum, this manoeuvre has
     effectively added more than 23% to the potential income generated
     because more residents will be caught out by the vastly increased
     Summons penalty than would otherwise have been with the two stage
     penalties that comprised both Summons and Liability Order fees.
    
     If anything; combining the two penalties should have lowered the
     overall cost of taking residents to court as there is less work for
     the council and a greater number of residents caught out. This, I
     believe, needs justifying.''
___________________________________________

4. The decision to increase the summons charge and make no subsequent
charge for a liability order was agreed by members following public
consultation in relation to the budget proposals.

___________________________________________    

     ''The question that makes up the second part of my FOI has not been
     answered because I consider the explanation to be fiction,
    
     "Can justification be given to why, in a Council document listing
     proposed savings, i.e. "Increase summons cost" – projected savings
     of £188,000 for each of the following 4 years is forecasted when
     such fees are to cover Council Tax recovery, not constitute savings
     by way of income generation?"
    
     The following council document,
    
    
[1]http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/committees/Fun...
     (page 2 fourth item), scheduling a series of "saving proposals",
     has clearly written under a sub-heading, "income generation", a
     proposal to "increase summons cost".
    
     This increase was agreed at a meeting on the 17th of February where
     elected members had the opportunity to scrutinise the detail behind
     these proposals at a meeting in January; unfortunately it took
     place in private session as the details were deemed to be exempt
     from publication under the Access to information under the Local
     Government Act 1972.
    
     Because of the above I believe that the following response serves
     as a desperate measure to defend the council's action by playing
     one group of residents off against another. Or, put another way,
     deviously using those who are whiter than white as a moral shield
     for the purpose of implementing this income generating scheme.
    
     "The increase in summons costs does not represent `income
     generation' but a saving that can be made in the cost of the
     delivery of the service, that would otherwise ultimately
     be passed on to the Council Tax payers of North East Lincolnshire."
    
     There are other reasons that reinforce my belief that the fees do
     not accurately represent the cost of recovery.''
___________________________________________

5. Income received from court costs is substantially less than the overall
cost of recovery, see point 2
___________________________________________  

Email of 14 May:
___________________________________________

     ''It is written in the FOI reply that:
    
     ".....The Magistrates Court were informed by letter of our
     intention to increase summons costs (there are no longer costs for
     a liability order."
    
     And I believe the council's automated Summons document warns:
    
     ".....If the total amount outstanding as stated above including
     summons costs is paid to North East Lincolnshire Council before the
     date of the hearing, all further proceedings will be stopped.
     However, if a Liability Order is granted the Council will apply for
     further costs of £25.00 being reasonable costs incurred."
___________________________________________
    
This paragraph was included in error.  The Clerk of the Magistrates Court
has confirmed that the summons is valid provided that the Council do not
intend to charge more than £25 for a Liability Order.  There is no
intention to charge for the Liability Order.  The system has been amended
to ensure that future summonses do not include this paragraph.

___________________________________________

     ''I have just one further observation; the council's Summons
     documents appear to be been sent from the Council rather than the
     Magistrate's Court, due to the return addresses on these envelopes
     being the council's.
    
     Despite these documents originating from the council, they begin
     with the following rather misleading paragraph:
    
     "Complaint has been made before me, the undersigned Clerk to the
     Justices, by The Executive Director Business Services of North East
     Lincolnshire Council......."
    
     These documents are dated and a Signature of the Clerk to the
     Justices doctored on to them.
    
     Taking this into consideration I would also like North East
     Lincolnshire Council to provide information to support that sending
     out these Summonses is legal bearing in mind the following
     legislation and that the council sends out there own.''
___________________________________________

Regulations relating to the authorisation and issue of a summons are
contained in the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) regulations
1992.  The task of signing a summons can be performed by the use of a
facimile signature of the justice of the peace or the justice's clerk on a
rubber stamp (R v Brentford Justices ex parte Catlin 1975).

Reg 35(2) specifies the way in which the summons must be served.  The
summons is posted out by the Council on behalf of and with agreement from
the magistrates court.

___________________________________________

In summary, I am satisfied that North East Lincolnshire Council has
handled your request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act in
terms of timeliness, confirming what information is held by the Council
and providing you with the information that we hold. We have also provided
you with answers to the further questions posed in your emails of 10 and
14 May to clarify the issues you raised regarding Council Tax summons fees
and liability orders. 

I trust that this internal review has answered your query, however if you
remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request or are
dissatisfied with the decision of the internal review you have the right
to contact the Information Commissioner's Office for an independent
review. The contact details for the Information Commissioner's Office are:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone 08456 306060 or 01625 545745

    
Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council,
 
Freedom of Information Officer
 
Policy and Partnerships
North East Lincolnshire Council

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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your response to the Freedom of Information review, however, I consider the whole response to be unsatisfactory and it is clear to me that the whole response has been an exercice in evading or completely ignoring the requests.

I'd like for a start to get a more satisfactory answer to my request which corresponds with your responses, items 1, 2 & 3.

Regarding items 1 & 2:

We had already established that the council do not have to justify costs to the Magistrate's Court. Therefore my request under the Freedom of Information review did not refer to the council's obligation to justify costs to the court, nor did it require reference to the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) regulations 1992. Though as this has been brought up I can comment that the costs relating to either Summons or Liability Orders are referred to three times in S.I. 613/1992, i.e. Regulations (5), (7) and (8). However, in all three regulations, what is specified are costs reasonably incurred by the authority/applicant.

It is the reasonable costs incurred by the authority that I requested the Council supply me, which would give a breakdown and itemise costs to provide evidence that the cost of court action taken against each resident would total £70.

I will emphasise that the request had nothing to do with what the court requires, or S.I. 613/1992 Regulations. It was my unique request that would take into account that a possible £46,900 could be obtained by the council, with a corresponding £2,100 being put the Court's way, at a single court hearing with only a signature of a Justice of the Peace.

I can only decipher to a certain degree, the Revenues budget, supplied in the review response. It only tells me that there are three categories:

A) Control & Monitoring

B) Debt Collection and

C) Council Tax;

which have allocated 20%, 100% and 50% respectively of an initial total revenue expenditure budget of £507,000, £738,500 less (121,800) and £826,900 leaving £101,400, £616,700 and £413,450 which corresponds to the £1,131,550 figure for the annual budget for all activity associated with recovery.

This is an unacceptable response and constitutes nothing like an itemised breakdown providing evidence that the cost of court action taken against each resident would total £70.

The obvious inconsistencies which can be spotted immediately point to these (smoke screen) figures, being supplied with the intention of confusing me into accepting them. I don't accept them; one inconsistency is that it states that the figures specifically relate to all activity associated with recovery of Council Tax and Business rates. It goes on and describes the 2011/12 Revenues budget figures as more generally "debt recovery". Finally it states that the figures are attributable to council tax recovery.

It is unclear what type of recovery these figures actually represent. It's unclear if VAT paid to bailiff companies, which can be reclaimed, make up any of these figures.

There is no explanation why £616,700 is attributable to debt collection when no payment is made to bailiff companies by the council.

There is nothing explaining why 20% and 50% represent the proportion of costs attributable to recovery with the categories, 'Control and Monitoring' and 'Council Tax' , or for that matter the significance of these categories with regards their budgets.

Regarding item 3:

If you did not want me to interpret that the Magistrates Court is hired by the Council, maybe stating that "Costs collected also cover monies paid to Her Majesty's Court Service for the use of their facilities", was a mistake.

The matter I raised here was more specifically about the council paying the Magistrate's Court for using their facilities than the charge made by the Magistrates Court. The bigger concern is the appearance of the council taking on the role of the Court.

Perhaps my questions regarding the legality of the Court process are appropriately directed to the council rather than HMCS. Everything indicates that the council are acting on behalf of the court in this process; I believe it states on the Summons document that North East Lincolnshire Council should be contacted, and not the Court.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

I'd like to clarify that when I referred to the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) regulations 1992 for "costs reasonably incurred", I was specifically referring to 34(5)(b), (7)(b) and (8) of S.I. 613/1992 Regulations.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Following on from my response to your Internal review;

Regarding item 4:

I feel you have pointlessly answered a question that has not even been asked. Maybe if I put to you the following question your response will not have been in vain:

Q. In what manner did the council decide to increase the summons charge and with whose agreement?

A. "The decision to increase the summons charge and make no subsequent charge for a liability order was agreed by members following public consultation in relation to the budget proposals."

Now if you could please supply me with the information required to justify that the overall associated court costs has risen by 23%. Also justify the strategy of consolidating these penalties, which will have the effect of adding substantially more than the 23% added to the overall associated court costs.

Because more residents will be caught out by the increased Summons penalty than with the previous two stage process; combining the two penalties would more logically have called for a decrease in the fee.

Why has their been an increase when the combination of the fees themselves, constitutes an increase in revenue?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Following on from my response to your Internal review;

Regarding item 5:

I feel again that you have pointlessly answered a question that has not even been asked. Maybe if I put to you the following question it will appear a little less like you are wasting everyone's time by avoiding questions:

Q. How do court costs received compare with the overall cost of recovery?

A. "Income received from court costs is substantially less than the overall cost of recovery, see point 2"

Would you please respond to the following, which you avoided on the first two requests:

"Can justification be given to why, in a Council document listing proposed savings, i.e. "Increase summons cost" – projected savings of £188,000 for each of the following 4 years is forecasted when
such fees are to cover Council Tax recovery, not constitute savings by way of income generation?"

The following council document,

http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/committees/Fun... (page 2 fourth item), scheduling a series of "saving proposals", has clearly written under a sub-heading, "income generation", a proposal to "increase summons cost".

This increase was agreed at a meeting on the 17th of February where elected members had the opportunity to scrutinise the detail behind these proposals at a meeting in January; unfortunately it took place in private session as the details were deemed to be exempt from publication under the Access to information under the Local Government Act 1972.

Because of the above I believe that the following response serves as a desperate measure to defend the council's action by playing one group of residents off against another. Or, put another way, deviously using those who are whiter than white as a moral shield for the purpose of implementing this income generating scheme.

"The increase in summons costs does not represent `income generation' but a saving that can be made in the cost of the delivery of the service, that would otherwise ultimately
be passed on to the Council Tax payers of North East Lincolnshire."

There are other reasons that reinforce my belief that the fees do not accurately represent the cost of recovery.

The following council document,

http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/committees/Fun... clearly demonstrates that a 50% increase in the Summons fee penalty directly funded extra members of staff to clear a backlog of work caused by problems with its IT system. An important point worth noting is that the Summons penalty, increased by 50%, didn't resume to the level prior to the IT issues. Another example of the Summons penalty being used as an income generating tool at the expense of those residents caught out by them.

For the reasons explained above and taking into account the evidence supplied in the council documents I would like North East Lincolnshire Council to convincingly verify the reason for these increases if not as a income generating exercise.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Following on from my response to your Internal review;

Regarding Email of 14 May:

I refer to your comment that "Regulations relating to the authorisation and issue of a summons are contained in the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) regulations 1992."

I believe you are referring to Regulation 34(2) which states:

"The application is to be instituted by making complaint to a justice of the peace, and requesting the issue of a summons directed to that person to appear before the court to show why he has not paid the sum which is outstanding."

In my opinion there is a clear distinction between the council requesting the issue of a summons and them sending out their own.

You also state that the task of signing a summons can be performed by the use of a facsimile signature of the justice of the peace or the justice's clerk on a rubber stamp (R v Brentford Justices ex parte Catlin 1975). I did not request the method which was used to doctor the signatures onto the summons, I simply stated that they were doctored onto them. Though as you have referred to this case, there are some interesting points most notably by Lord Widgery C.J

Regina v. Brentford Justices, Ex parte Catlin [1975]

"....It must however be remembered that before a summons or warrant is issued the information must be laid before a magistrate and he must go through the judicial exercise of deciding whether a summons or warrant ought to be issued or not. If a magistrate authorises the issue of a summons without having applied his mind to the information then he is guilty of dereliction of duty and if in any particular justices' clerk's office a practice goes on of summonses being issued without information being laid before the magistrate at all, then a very serious instance of maladministration arises which should have the attention of the authorities without delay...."

"A decision by magistrates whether to issue a summons pursuant to information laid involves the exercise of a judicial function, and is not merely administrative."

Given that the number of these summonses run into several hundred at any given hearing, and that the council send out their own, I'd say it was more than reasonable to suspect very serious instances of maladministration as in those mentioned above.

Finally you refer to Regulation 35(2) which states:

"A summons issued under regulation 34(2) may be served on a person—

(c) by sending it by post to him at his usual or last known place of abode....."

There is no mention that the council, under any agreement with the magistrate's court, should be allowed to send out the summonses on behalf of them. Anyway, why would there be a need to, if the documents have been sent to the magistrate to exercise his judicial function and receive the facsimile signature of the justice of the peace or the justice's clerk from a rubber stamp?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Please will you indicate whether or not you are going to address the further issues I raised with regards your internal review, as this will affect my decision whether or not to contact the Information Commissioner's Office for an independent review.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Further to the Internal Review undertaken into the handling of your information request 20110505, you have submitted five further e-mails, which I have listed below:

• 26 May 2011 21:33 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

• 27 May 2011 08:41 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

• 27 May 2011 11:27 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

• 27 May 2011 12:02 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

• 27 May 2011 17:53 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

Due to the format of the e-mails which include a number of statements it is not clear what information you are requesting the Council to provide or if you require the Council to take any actions. In the correspondence you state 'I feel you have pointlessly answered a question that has not even been asked', to prevent a repeat of this can you please clarify what information you require the Council to provide you with.

To assist with the clarification of your request, please be aware that the Freedom of Information Act provides you with a right of access to the recorded information held by North East Lincolnshire Council and other Public Authorities. If you wish the Council to provide you with explanations of why or how a particular activity or service is delivered or a decision was made then this should be made as a service request, whilst if you wish to make a complaint, compliment or suggestion about a about Council services this should be made through the feedback process. Details of the feedback process can be found at http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-and-de....

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or wish to discuss refining your request.

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request then you have the right to contact the Information Commissioner's Office for an independent review of the handling of your request. The contact details for the Information Commissioner's Office are:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone 08456 306060 or 01625 545745

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

I will list specific requests under the references you have supplied.

• 26 May 2011 21:33 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

To enable the required response, please note all contents of the above referenced email and the internal review mail of 10 May in answering the following:

1. Please supply me with a breakdown itemising costs which will provide evidence that the cost of court action taken against each resident would total £70.

2. Explain the figures you supplied. Re; 2011/12 Revenues budget (debt recovery).

3. Supply evidence that the council tax court process is legal.

NOTE: The following additional information needs taking into account to answering the above.

Despite the Summons document relating to non-payment of council tax, stating the following:

'You are hereby summoned to appear on [date] at [time] before the Magistrates sitting at The Magistrate's Court ......"

On arriving at the Court's premises you are instructed to wait for the council's court enforcement manager – a council official who is unrelated to the court – who subsequently collects the relatively low number of residents who actually attend the court, and takes them off to a room in the court building, presumably hired by the council, for the purpose of intervening with the court process.

Because they don't know any better the court attendees follow court staff's instructions and wait for the council's court enforcement manager to collect them.

If you stand your ground and insist that you have been summoned to appear before the Magistrates, and not a council official, you will be told that the normal procedure is to see the council official.

If you stand your ground to the point that they have no option but allow you a court hearing there will be several attempts by court staff to persuade you to give in and see the court official.

You will be told that the summons is actually from the council; a ploy obviously intended to put you off having your case heard, but more seriously an indication that a crime has been committed in relation to the summons document. Only through persistently standing your ground will you get a hearing in front of the Magistrates.

This procedure is so engineered to deter any actual court hearings despite thousands of residents being summoned to appear before the Magistrates each year.

• 27 May 2011 11:27 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

To enable the required response, please note all contents of the above referenced email and the internal review mail of 10 May in answering the following:

1. Please supply me with information that justifies a 23% increase in the overall associated court costs when the consolidation of the former two stage penalty structure in itself would have effectively increased revenue.

2. Please supply me with information to justify why consolidating these penalties, has not warranted a decrease in the overall associated court costs.

• 27 May 2011 12:02 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

To enable the required response, please note all contents of the above referenced email and the internal review mail of 10 May in answering the following:

1. Please supply me with information to justify why, in a Council document listing proposed savings, i.e. "Increase summons cost" – projected savings of £188,000 for each of the following 4 years is forecasted, when such fees are to cover Council Tax recovery, not constitute savings by way of income generation?

2. Please supply me with information to justify why, in a Council document proposing staffing budgets – a 50% increase in the Summons penalty was proposed to pay for IT system issues when such fees are to cover Council Tax recovery, not compensating for council's cock-ups?

• 27 May 2011 12:02 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

To enable the required response, please note all contents of the above referenced email and the internal review mail of 14 May in answering the following:

1. Please supply me with information to justify how North East Lincolnshire Council thinks it is legal to send out the council tax Summonses, bearing in mind the following legislation.

MAGISTRATES’ COURTS ACT 1980 Part II

Civil Jurisdiction and Procedure

Jurisdiction to issue summons and deal with complaints

51- Issue of summons on complaint

Where a complaint relating to a person is made to a justice of the peace, the justice of the peace may issue a summons to the person requiring him to appear before a magistrates' court to answer to the complaint.

THE COUNCIL TAX (ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT REGULATIONS 1992

PART VI – ENFORCEMENT

Application for liability order

34. —(2) The application is to be instituted by making complaint to a justice of the peace, and requesting the issue of a summons directed to that person to appear before the court to show why he has not paid the sum which is outstanding.

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE ACT 1970 – Part V

Miscellaneous Provisions

40 Punishment for unlawful harassment of debtors.

(1)A person commits an offence if, with the object of coercing another person to pay money claimed from the other as a debt due under a contract, he—

(d) utters a document falsely represented by him to have some official character or purporting to have some official character which he knows it has not.

2. Please supply me with information that justifies North East Lincolnshire Council is not involved jointly with HMCS in serious instances of maladministration regarding the hundreds of summonses processed at any given hearing.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your email regarding FOI request 20110505 Internal Review. We have passed this on to the appropriate department for processing and we will respond in due course.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

In response to your questions relating to the Internal Review for Freedom
of Information request 20110505, I am pleased to provide the following
clarification and information.

26 May 2011 21:33 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

    

To enable the required response, please note all contents of the above
referenced email and the internal review mail of 10 May in answering the
following:

    

1. Please supply me with a breakdown itemising costs which will provide
evidence that the cost of court action taken against each resident would
total £70.

This question has already been answered as part of the Internal Review

2. Explain the figures you supplied. Re; 2011/12 Revenues budget debt
recovery).

These figures describe the total budget cost (2011/12) which support the
debt recovery function and that are attributed to debt recovery activity.
The figures were included in the internal review to highlight the fact
that income received from court costs is substantially less than the
overall cost of recovery.

    

3. Supply evidence that the council tax court process is legal.

This has already been answered as part of the Internal Review.

    

NOTE: The following additional information needs taking into account to
answering the above.

    

Despite the Summons document relating to non-payment of council tax,
stating the following:

    

'You are hereby summoned to appear on [date] at [time] before the
Magistrates sitting at The Magistrate's Court ......"

On arriving at the Court's premises you are instructed to wait for the
council's court enforcement manager – a council official who is unrelated
to the court – who subsequently collects the relatively low number of
residents who actually attend the court, and takes them off to a room in
the court building, presumably hired by the council, for the purpose of
intervening with the court process.

    

Because they don't know any better the court attendees follow court
staff's instructions and wait for the council's court enforcement manager
to collect them.

If you stand your ground and insist that you have been summoned to appear
before the Magistrates, and not a council official, you will      be told
that the normal procedure is to see the council official.

If you stand your ground to the point that they have no option but allow
you a court hearing there will be several attempts by court staff to
persuade you to give in and see the court official.

    

You will be told that the summons is actually from the council; a ploy
obviously intended to put you off having your case heard, but more
seriously an indication that a crime has been committed in relation to the
summons document. Only through persistently standing your ground will you
get a hearing in front of the Magistrates.

This procedure is so engineered to deter any actual court hearings despite
thousands of residents being summoned to appear before the Magistrates
each year.

    

27 May 2011 11:27 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

    

To enable the required response, please note all contents of the above
referenced email and the internal review mail of 10 May in answering the
following:

    

1. Please supply me with information that justifies a 23% increase in the
overall associated court costs when the consolidation of the former two
stage penalty structure in itself would have effectively increased
revenue.

2. Please supply me with information to justify why consolidating these
penalties, has not warranted a decrease in the overall associated court
costs.

These (Questions 1 and 2) have already been answered as part of the
Internal Review. The increase is in line with some other neighbouring
authorities in the Humber region and the increased costs are below average
nationally.

    

27 May 2011 12:02 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

To enable the required response, please note all contents of the above
referenced email and the internal review mail of 10 May in answering the
following:

1. Please supply me with information to justify why, in a Council document
listing proposed savings, i.e. "Increase summons cost" – projected savings
of £188,000 for each of the following 4 years is forecasted, when such
fees are to cover Council Tax recovery, not constitute savings by way of
income generation?

This has already been answered in the original response.

2. Please supply me with information to justify why, in a Council document
proposing staffing budgets – a 50% increase in the Summons penalty was
proposed to pay for IT system issues when such fees are to cover Council
Tax recovery, not compensating for council's cock-ups?

This was a decision made by Cabinet a number of years ago and information
is no longer held by this service in relation to it.

27 May 2011 12:02 Subject: Re: FOI request 20110505 Internal Review

To enable the required response, please note all contents of the above
referenced email and the internal review mail of 14 May in answering the
following:

1. Please supply me with information to justify how North East
Lincolnshire Council thinks it is legal to send out the council tax
Summonses, bearing in mind the following legislation.

This has already been answered as part of the Internal Review.

MAGISTRATES’ COURTS ACT 1980 Part II

Civil Jurisdiction and Procedure

Jurisdiction to issue summons and deal with complaints

51- Issue of summons on complaint

Where a complaint relating to a person is made to a justice of the peace,
the justice of the peace may issue a summons to the person requiring him
to appear before a magistrates' court to answer to the complaint.

THE COUNCIL TAX (ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT REGULATIONS 1992

PART VI – ENFORCEMENT

Application for liability order

34. —(2) The application is to be instituted by making complaint to a
justice of the peace, and requesting the issue of a summons directed to
that person to appear before the court to show why he has not paid the sum
which is outstanding.

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE ACT 1970 – Part V

Miscellaneous Provisions

40 Punishment for unlawful harassment of debtors.

(1)A person commits an offence if, with the object of coercing another
person to pay money claimed from the other as a debt due under a contract,
he—

(d) utters a document falsely represented by him to have some official
character or purporting to have some official character which he knows it
has not.

2. Please supply me with information that justifies North East
Lincolnshire Council is not involved jointly with HMCS in serious
instances of maladministration regarding the hundreds of summonses
processed at any given hearing.

Should you have allegations of instances of maladministration then you
should refer them to whatever source you feel appropriate.

If you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request,
you have the right to request an independent review by contacting the
Information Commissioner's Office at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF

Telephone 08456 306060 or 01625 545745

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council
 
Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Clearly there will be no intelligible information gained from your automated system, so designed to spew out programmed decisions when posed with awkward questions. The system's "spineless feature" – so often triggered when not having the balls to honestly tackle requests – is at risk of being overused to the extent that a complete farce is made of the service.

For fear of allowing you the satisfaction of concocting further responses I will not attempt to obtain anymore answers from you as this is obviously a waste of time.

However, I think it should be said that despite stating on several occasions that you had already dealt with various issues as part of the Internal Review /original response, you in fact had not.

This approach of fobbing off questions you feel uncomfortable with or are instructed not to address is not particularly clever and I should think fools very few.

I have noticed you have considered none of my comments when dealing with my FOI request and although I don't expect any sense from you with respect to this FOI I will make an effort to seek out that North East Lincolnshire Council are made accountable for increasing penalty costs with no justification.

With respect to the 50% increase in the Summons penalty paying for IT system issues, it appears very convenient that information regarding the decision made by Cabinet a number of years ago is no longer held.

Like this recent increase, it was a convenient way of raising revenue, and without any justification. This is an example demonstrating that the council does as it likes, and whenever there is a need to instantaneously raise revenue, these penalty fees – which make up part of its range of income generating methods – can be conveniently called upon, and with apparently no need to justify them.

If like you say information is no longer held, this strongly suggests we have an incompetently run council which will no doubt aggrieve the majority of residents paying council bosses their salaries.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

George Cant left an annotation ()

you described there actions perfectly there.

Hear hear.

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

I sent the following correspondence to the Information Commissioner's Office on June 24, 2011.

Could you please acknowledge whether or not you have been contacted regarding the complaint?

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

24/06/11

Dear Sir/Madam

Re: Independent review of FOI request to NE LINC’S Council – Ref number 20110505

I made a freedom of information request to North East Lincolnshire Council. The details can be found on the “what do they know” website at the following address:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/12...

The questions I posed, admittedly, were likely to attract an evasive reply. Nevertheless, I believe the taxpayer is fully entitled to openness where issues such as those in the request are concerned.

The issues were skirted around in the first instance and additional requests, as they became relevant, were also evaded.

I believe local authorities should be accountable and their approach in dealing with members of the public demonstrates that there is no evidence of that.

My experience with North East Lincolnshire’s responses to FOI requests and in general gives me the impression that they are entirely unaccountable.

I have enclosed a page from a council document “Savings Proposals” which you can see for yourself that the increase in summons cost, equating to £188,000 per year savings are listed without any doubt as Income Generation. However, the Council deny in their responses that this penalty increase represents income generation despite the evidence to the contrary.

The content of this letter represents only a fraction of the issues raised in the FOI request and so ask that you refer to the “what do they know” website for further details.

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you require further details.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to confirm that North East East Lincolnshire Council, have
been contacted by the Information Commissioner's Office in relation to
your complaint regarding request 20110505.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

For your records, the following emails relate to the complaint made to the Information Commissioner's Office regarding request 20110505.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

07 December 2011

Case Reference Number FS50400874

Dear Mr Gillat

I write further to the ICO’s letter to you of 02 August 2011. Your complaint about your information request to North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) has now been allocated to me.

As I understand it you requested information from NELC on 02 May 2011. You requested

“Can you provide me with a copy of the breakdown as supplied to the Magistrate's Court to support your latest request for a Council Tax Summons fee increase of almost 120%, which takes the previous cost of £32 to the current £70? [Request A]

Can justification be given to why, in a Council document listing proposed savings, i.e. "Increase summons cost" – projected savings of £188,000 for each of the following 4 years is forecasted when such fees are to cover Council Tax recovery, not constitute savings by way of income generation?” [Request B]

NELC responded on 10 May 2011 explaining

Request A

“There has not been a `breakdown' supplied to the Magistrates Court so we cannot supply you with a copy of this. The Magistrates Court were informed by letter of our intention to increase summons costs (there are no longer costs for a liability order)… [Request B]

Request B

…The costs raised are to cover the cost of Council Tax collection and recovery. This includes the technological systems in place and employment of staff. Costs collected also cover monies paid to Her Majesty's Court Service for the use of their facilities. The monies raised from costs are not greater than the cost of the service. The increase in summons costs does not represent `income generation' but a saving that can be made in the cost of the delivery of the service, that would otherwise ultimately be passed on to the Council Tax payers of North East Lincolnshire.”

Following your complaint the ICO contacted NELC to enquire about its handling of your request. NELC says it did not apply any exemptions from section 2 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the FOIA) when it responded to your request.

NELC has explained that as well as a request of an internal review of the handling of the above requests you also submitted nine other email requests. NELC says that these subsequent requests were for statements or justifications of actions the response to which required the council to create new information.

The right of access at section 1 FOIA relates to information which is already in existence at the time of a request. The FOIA would therefore not oblige NELC to create information simply to respond to questions you ask.

Given that it appears the NELC has responded to your request, and did not exempt any of the information I would be grateful if you could clarify the scope of your complaint. For example are you complaining that the NELC has failed to provide information it holds in relation to requests A and B?

Please respond to this email within 20 working days.

Yours sincerely

Lead Case Officer - Complaints Resolution (Group 2)

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear Lead Case Officer - Complaints Resolution (Group 2)

7 December 2011

I have looked through the various emails and although there is a lot NELC has to answer to, I doubt if they will be obliged to supply the information under the Freedom of Information Act.

I have therefore identified the data which the council should hold as recorded information in order to comply with R34(5)(b) & (7)(b) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. These sub-headings relate to the costs involved which are reasonably incurred by the council in recovering council tax and correspond to the summons and liability order penalties subsequently charged to the council taxpayer.

The information initially supplied as per your email:

Request A

“There has not been a `breakdown' supplied to the Magistrates Court so we cannot supply you with a copy of this. The Magistrates Court were informed by letter of our intention to increase summons costs (there are no longer costs for a liability order).

Request B

…The costs raised are to cover the cost of Council Tax collection and recovery. This includes the technological systems in place and employment of staff. Costs collected also cover monies paid to Her Majesty's Court Service for the use of their facilities. The monies raised from costs are not greater than the cost of the service. The increase in summons costs does not represent `income generation' but a saving that can be made in the cost of the delivery of the service, that would otherwise ultimately be passed on to the Council Tax payers of North East Lincolnshire.”

Its response to Request A is an indication that the council is a law unto itself and appears to dictate to the court what it will charge residents. However, I appreciate this is of no interest to the ICO.

Its response to Request B is clearly unsatisfactory. It only lists where money is spent but doesn't supply data which must be held for the purpose of complying with the council tax regulations.

The information supplied "Request B" clearly shows that they are not serious about supplying accurate data for the following reasons:

– It refers to revenue raised through penalties to cover the cost of the entire council tax collection operation.

– It mentions that revenue raised through penalties covers monies paid to Her Majesty's court service for the use of their facilities, despite it saying in its response to "Request A" that "there are no longer costs for a liability order".

– It states that the increase in summons costs does not represent 'income generation'. This is at odds with their budget proposals that lists a forecasted £752,000 savings over the following 4 years, achieved by the additional income arising from raising the summons fee. (page 2 of the document under "income generation")

http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/committees/Fun...

In my FOI review email of 10 May I requested a breakdown in the hope I would get some information in the form that would make some sense.

They supplied data making no apparent sense. I deciphered this the best I could and asked for certain points to be clarified. Still the council had not supplied the requested information and did not clarify their response.

The annual budget for all activity associated with recovery of Council Tax and Business rates amounts to approximately £1.1 million.

2011/12 Revenues budget (debt recovery)

A0184 Control & Monitoring

Total revenue expenditure budget – £507,000

(£) recharged income – £0

Percentage recovery work – 20%

Cost attributable CT recovery – £101,400

A0187 Debt Collection
Total revenue expenditure budget – £738,500

(£) recharged income – (£121,800)*

Percentage recovery work – 100%

Cost attributable CT recovery – £616,700

A0191 Council Tax

Total revenue expenditure budget – £826,900

(£) recharged income – £0

Percentage recovery work – 50%

Cost attributable CT recovery – £413,450

Total £1,131,550

*cost of sundry debt collection recharged to other directorates

This doesn’t represent an itemised breakdown providing evidence that the cost of court action taken against each resident would total £70.

Obvious inconsistencies can be spotted immediately and point to these figures, being supplied with the intention of confusing anyone trying to decipher them. Firstly it states that the figures specifically relate to all activity associated with recovery of Council Tax and Business rates. It goes on and describes the 2011/12 Revenues budget figures as more generally "debt recovery". Finally it states that the figures are attributable only to council tax recovery.

It is unclear what recovery these figures actually represent. It's unclear if VAT paid to bailiff companies, which can be reclaimed make up any of these figures.

There is no explanation why £616,700 is attributable to debt collection when no payment is supposedly made to bailiff companies by the council.

There is nothing explaining why 20% and 50% represent the proportion of costs attributable to recovery with the categories, 'Control and Monitoring' and 'Council Tax', or for that matter the significance of these categories with regards their budgets.

We seem to be a long way from getting the true costs incurred by the authority for the recovery of council tax and business rates.....

In summary to clarify the scope of my complaint I am complaining that NELC has failed to provide information it holds in relation to "Request B" and "Request A", particularly the breakdown of fees, but not of course "as supplied to the Magistrates' court" as they have stated they don't do this.

Yours sincerely

N. Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

21 December 2011

Case Reference Number FS50400874

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your email of 07 December 2011.

I note that your complaint is restricted to the requests I identified in my previous correspondence as Requests A and B. I therefore contacted the public authority to ask it to explain its handling of these requests. The public authority has responded saying:

Request A: Can you provide me with a copy of the breakdown as supplied to the Magistrate's Court to support your latest request for a Council Tax Summons fee increase of almost 120%, which takes the previous cost of £32 to the current £70?

As previously stated North East Lincolnshire Council have not supplied the Magistrates Court with a `breakdown' of the increased summons costs. We do not hold a breakdown for the calculation of the £70.00 fee, as it was based on comparisons with the fees charged by neighbouring authorities (including Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council). The figure of £70 was then compared against national averages, and as previously identified checked to ensure that the monies raised from costs would not be greater than the cost of the service.

I trust that this explanation answers Mr Gilliatt's query in relation to the adoption by the Council of a Council Tax Summons fee of £70, and confirms that we do not hold a breakdown of the calculation of the fee.

Request B: Can justification be given to why, in a Council document listing proposed savings, i.e. "Increase summons cost" – projected savings of £188,000 for each of the following 4 years is forecasted when such fees are to cover Council Tax recovery, not constitute savings by way of income generation?

We have previously informed Mr Gilliatt that the 'The costs raised are to cover the cost of Council Tax collection and recovery. This includes the technological systems in place and employment of staff. Costs collected also cover monies paid to Her Majesty's Court Service for the use of their facilities. The monies raised from costs are not greater than the cost of the service. The increase in summons costs does not represent `income generation' but a saving that can be made in the cost of the delivery of the service, that would otherwise ultimately be passed on to the Council Tax payers of North East Lincolnshire.'

As stated the costs raised from the increased Summons costs are to cover the cost of recovering Council Tax, and do not represent `income generation' but a saving that can be made in the cost of the delivery of the service for the benefit of all Council Tax payers of North East Lincolnshire. We hope that this clears up any misunderstanding Mr Gilliatt may have been caused by the document to which he refers, and that he is now satisfied the costs raised relate solely to covering the cost in part of Council Tax collection and recovery incurred by the Council and not income generation.

I would be grateful if you could confirm whether, having received the above, you consider the public authority has now provided the information it holds which falls within the scope of your request.

Yours sincerely

Lead Case Officer - Complaints Resolution (Group 2)

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear Lead Case Officer - Complaints Resolution (Group 2)

Thank you for your email regarding North East Lincolnshire Council's response.

I have read the council's reply which basically reiterates its initial response, and is, as was then, meaningless. For this reason I have taken the trouble to query its response both through its own review and the ICO.

Isn't there any way pressure can be put on the council to provide a meaningful response, which has relevance to the specific details the requester has put to it?

Yours sincerely

N. Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Can you please confirm I have interpreted correctly, the raw data the council supplied in its 26 May 2011 internal review response to my Freedom of Information request?

===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===

2011/12 REVENUES BUDGET (debt recovery)

A0184 CONTROL & MONITORING

Total revenue expenditure budget – £507,000
£ recharged income – £0
Percentage recovery work – 20%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £101,400

A0187 DEBT COLLECTION

Total revenue expenditure budget – £738,500
£ recharged income – (£121,800)*
Percentage recovery work – 100%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £616,700

A0191 COUNCIL TAX

Total revenue expenditure budget – £826,900
£ recharged income – £0
Percentage recovery work – 50%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £413,450

TOTAL £1,131,550

*cost of sundry debt collection recharged to other directorates

===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===

Could you also confirm whether or not the following assumptions are correct?

Under the heading "A0187 DEBT COLLECTION", total revenue expenditure budget (£738,500).

This is approximately equal to the figure retained by the council's bailiff contractor, with respect the fees collected from debtors.

This amount is subsequently invoiced to the Council so that it can pay the appropriate VAT element of which can be claimed back, as is standard operating practice with local authorities.

Assuming this is the case and the council's figures have been "fiddled" to distort the costs reasonably incurred for recovery, we could revise the costs.

Considering the "DEBT COLLECTION" costs alone, we could provisionally update the council's total and say this was:

TOTAL £514,850

After all, the council has said it does not pay bailiff firms to enforce payment of council tax.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

In response to your query in relation to the information supplied to you as part of the Council's internal review response, I am pleased to confirm that the figures for the annual budget (Debt Recovery) you have copied below are correct.

The assumptions you have made in relation to these figures are not correct, and no further comment will be made in relation to your assumptions.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your email of 19 January 2012.

The information has been presented in such a way that making assumptions is the only option open to someone wishing to decipher its meaning.

Perhaps if just the smallest amount of effort went into presenting information in an understandable format, there would be less need for guess work.

You say:

"no further comment will be made in relation to your assumptions".

Thanks so much for your cooperation.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===

2011/12 REVENUES BUDGET (debt recovery)

A0184 CONTROL & MONITORING

Total revenue expenditure budget – £507,000
£ recharged income – £0
Percentage recovery work – 20%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £101,400

A0187 DEBT COLLECTION

Total revenue expenditure budget – £738,500
£ recharged income – (£121,800)*
Percentage recovery work – 100%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £616,700

A0191 COUNCIL TAX

Total revenue expenditure budget – £826,900
£ recharged income – £0
Percentage recovery work – 50%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £413,450

TOTAL £1,131,550

*cost of sundry debt collection recharged to other directorates

===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===

You have confirmed I presented the above information correctly, which I rearranged from what can only be assumed, was raw data dumped onto your original email from one of the council's computer systems.

Please provide the following information:

1. Which, if any, of the amounts in the above data correspond with the fees, bailiffs collect from debtors?

2. Which, if any, of the amounts in the above data corresponds with the VAT paid (and reclaimed by the council) in relation to fees, bailiffs collect from debtors?

3. If none of the amounts relate to items 1 and/or 2, please provide the figures (presumably forecasted) for them in the same period, i.e. 2011/12?

4. With regards the above data. What does the following relate to:

recharged income – (£121,800)*

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

I believe you have provided incorrect information in your email of 26 May 2011.

I requested the following:

QUOTE/
In the absence of any apparent requirement to justify these costs to the Magistrates' Court I would like North East Lincolnshire Council to supply me with a breakdown itemising costs which will provide evidence that the cost of court action taken against each resident would total £70.
END QUOTE/

You supplied the following in relation to the above:

QUOTE/
2011/12 REVENUES BUDGET (debt recovery)

A0184 CONTROL & MONITORING

Total revenue expenditure budget – £507,000
£ recharged income – £0
Percentage recovery work – 20%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £101,400

A0187 DEBT COLLECTION

Total revenue expenditure budget – £738,500
£ recharged income – (£121,800)*
Percentage recovery work – 100%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £616,700

A0191 COUNCIL TAX

Total revenue expenditure budget – £826,900
£ recharged income – £0
Percentage recovery work – 50%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £413,450

TOTAL £1,131,550

*cost of sundry debt collection recharged to other directorates
END QUOTE/

It seems irregular that a figure of £738,500 is listed under the header "DEBT COLLECTION" when councils boast that private bailiff firms come at nil cost to the authorities.

This is not the end of the matter however. Despite whether or not the council actually incurs this amount, the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 do not allow for this to be included in the costs reasonably incurred by the authority in connection with the summons penalty.

According to the following from the regulations, 34(5)(b) and 34(7)(b) permit only costs reasonably incurred by the authority up to obtaining the order. Regardless of the council unlawfully combining the two fees, the regulations do not provide for costs after the order is obtained to be included in the costs reasonably incurred.

"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."

Please will you make corrections to the information you supplied in your email of 26 May 2011.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Further to your correspondence of January 28th and 31st concerning
information request 20110505, I am pleased to provide the following
responses to your questions.

1. Which, if any, of the amounts in the above data correspond with the
fees, bailiffs collect from debtors?

None.
    
2. Which, if any, of the amounts in the above data corresponds with the
VAT paid (and reclaimed by the council) in relation to fees, bailiffs
collect from debtors?

None.
    
3. If none of the amounts relate to items 1 and/or 2, please provide the
figures (presumably forecasted) for them in the same period, i.e. 2011/12?

1 – Details of the amounts of fees collected from debtors by bailiffs is
not held by North East Lincolnshire Council.
2 – The amount of VAT paid in relation to fees bailiffs collect from
debtors is not included in the Revenues budget and is separately accounted
for. As of 31/1/12 the amount for the current tax year is £37491.32 (for
Council Tax and Business Rates only).

4. With regards the above data. What does the following relate to:
recharged income – (£121,800)*

This relates to the amount charged to other council departments for the
collection of sundry/miscellaneous debts (not Council Tax or Business
Rates).   

I trust this response answers your questions in full. If you are unhappy
with the response you have received, you have the right to request an
internal review by the Council. If following this you are still
dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information Commissioner.
If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me and I will
make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your email of 8 February.

This has satisfactorily answered my additional queries I brought up in my 28 January 2012 email. However, I'm surprised that the council doesn't hold details of the amounts of fees collected from debtors by bailiffs, especially as the VAT element is accounted for. For this reason, the amounts of fees collected by bailiffs must be invoiced to the council musn't they?

I'm unsure how you have addressed queries in my 31 January 2012 email, unless it is deemed that your statement: "None.", to the following question deals with it?

"1. Which, if any, of the amounts in the above data correspond with the fees, bailiffs collect from debtors?"

I'm happy with this answer, but I'm uncertain what the figure £738,500, listed under "DEBT COLLECTION", accounts for, especially as both the remaining categories also list costs which are attributable to Council Tax recovery.

Maybe a more comprehensive description of the costs, and at what stage in the recovery process these are incurred by the council, would make things easier.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to acknowledge your additional question in relation to request 20110505.

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving the response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of Information requests is available on our website at: http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-and-de...

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Further to your information request, reference number 20110505, I am
pleased to provide you with the following information in relation to your
questions.

1) This has satisfactorily answered my additional queries I brought up in
my 28 January 2012 email. However, I'm surprised that the council doesn't
hold details of the amounts of fees collected from debtors by bailiffs,
especially as the VAT element is accounted for. For this reason, the
amounts of fees collected by bailiffs must be invoiced to the council
musn't they?

Although the costs are included on an invoice they are not included in
our accountancy function, therefore council have never kept a record in
an accessible format  to enable us to give you this information. However
on this occasion I have referred to each individual invoice for current
year invoices up to and including the 04^th February 2012 .  The figures
are Costs £224,165.70 and VAT £44,458.90

    
2) I'm unsure how you have addressed queries in my 31 January 2012 email,
unless it is deemed that your statement: "None.", to the following
question deals with it? "1. Which, if any, of the amounts in the above
data correspond with the fees, bailiffs collect from debtors?"

In relation to the first element of you question, I can confirm that the
response of 'None' provided on 31/01/12 answered in full your question 
"Which, if any, of the amounts in the above data correspond with the
fees, bailiffs collect from debtors?"    

I'm happy with this answer, but I'm uncertain what the figure £738,500,
listed under "DEBT COLLECTION", accounts for, especially as both the
remaining categories also list costs which are attributable to Council Tax
recovery.

The figure £738,500, listed under "DEBT COLLECTION", represents the cost
of running the recovery service and is the total revenue expenditure
budget associated with the debt recovery team for 2011/12.

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 29 February 2012 email.

The council still has not provided information which would determine the costs incurred by the council for issuing a summons would be £70.

It stated in your email of 10 May 2011:

"The costs raised are to cover the cost of COUNCIL TAX COLLECTION and recovery. This includes the technological systems in place and employment of staff. Costs collected also cover monies paid to Her Majesty's Court Service for the use of their facilities. The monies raised from costs are not greater than the COST OF THE SERVICE."

Firstly it is stated that the cost of “COUNCIL TAX COLLECTION” is to be covered by costs raised through the summonses. Making those caught out with these fees, pay for the collection of council tax is unlawful as the Council Tax Regulations only allow for costs to be recovered which are incurred by the authority in connection with the application. It seems, in its statement: "The monies raised from costs are not greater than the COST OF THE SERVICE", the service it refers to is not council tax recovery but council tax collection in general.

Secondly, the council states that: "Costs collected also cover monies paid to Her Majesty's Court Service for the use of their facilities". There’s no question that the money paid to the court for this purpose, is for obtaining the liability order. More importantly though, this means debtors who get charged for being issued with a summons but settle their accounts prior to them going to court, are specifically being charged costs for obtaining a liability order, something that they should not incur and is completely unlawful.

The statement made in your 29 February 2012 email reinforces that the figures supplied do not specifically relate to the costs reasonably incurred by the authority in connection with the application.

i.e.

"The figure £738,500, listed under "DEBT COLLECTION", represents the cost of running the recovery service and is the total revenue expenditure budget associated with the debt recovery team for 2011/12."

It appears the council is unlawfully and deceitfully financing COUNCIL TAX COLLECTION and recovery operations with the summons fee imposed on its residents.

To pursue this any further with the authority would be completely futile, so perhaps it would be better dealt with by the Serious Fraud Office.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

There is some confusing information relating to your quoted 2011/12 Revenues budget (debt recovery), in your 26 May 2011 email.

It states that the annual budget for all activity associated with recovery of Council Tax and Business rates amounts to £1,131,550.

It is unclear whether any of the figures quoted include monies paid to Her Majesty's Court Service for the use of their facilities, i.e. £3 for each application incurring the summons charge.

Please indicate:

Q1. Whether the £3 cost is included in the figures and if so, which category is listed?

Q2. If the £3 cost is not included in the figures, does this then mean it is written off as there are no longer costs for obtaining liability orders?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been allocated a new reference number 2567/1213.

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of Information requests is available on our website at: http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council/the-co....

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Kidd, Hayley, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act made on 18
April 2012, reference number 2567/1213.

 

Under section 1 of the Act I wish to confirm that North East Lincolnshire
Council holds the information you have requested.

 

     Q1. Whether the £3 cost is included in the figures and if so, which

     category is listed?

Yes it is. It is included in ‘Debt Collection’.

    

     Q2. If the £3 cost is not included in the figures, does this then

     mean it is written off as there are no longer costs for obtaining

     liability orders?

 

 

If you require any further clarification or details, please do not
hesitate to contact me, quoting the reference number above.

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Hayley Kidd

Business Support Officer

Civic Offices

Cleethorpes

Tel: 01472 325693

E-mail: [1][email address]

 

P  Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to

 

Confidentiality Note.
The information in this message including any attachments may be
confidential or privileged and is for the use of the named recipient only.
If you are not the named or intended recipient you may not copy,
distribute or deliver this message to anyone or take any action in
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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear Kidd, Hayley,

Reference number 2567/1213

Thank you for you email of 18 April 2012 and your offer to clarify further any details I require.

Q1. Could you please explain the composition of the £70 summons fee imposed on council taxpayers in terms of costs incurred by the council for issuing the summons and obtaining the liability order?

Q2.It appears some costs which are incurred by the council for obtaining a liability order, i.e. £25 are no longer imposed on householders when an order is made against them. However, the summons charge imposed, simultaneously increased by £38.

Are costs for obtaining the liability order now incurred by the taxpayer for those connected specifically with the summons application?

Q3. It is a reasonable assumption that the £3 paid to HMCTS per application comprised part of the £25 incurred by the council for obtaining the liability order.

Has this been correctly assumed, if so what was the remaining £22 costs attributable to in obtaining the order?

Q4. If incorrectly assumed, what makes up the £25 costs attributable to obtaining the order?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear Kidd, Hayley,

Reference number 2567/1213

I have revisited my request sent in to you in an email of 19 April 2012.

I noticed Q2. could have been worded clearer. Could you please consider this email for any response you may give.

Q1. Could you please explain the composition of the £70 summons fee
imposed on council taxpayers in terms of costs incurred by the
council for issuing the summons and obtaining the liability order?

Q2.It appears some costs which are incurred by the council for
obtaining a liability order, i.e. £25 are no longer imposed on
householders when an order is made against them. However, the
summons charge imposed, simultaneously increased by £38.

Are the specific costs for obtaining the liability order now incurred by the taxpayer, along with those which are connected with the summons application? i.e. in with the £70 at the summons stage.

Q3. It is a reasonable assumption that the £3 paid to HMCTS per
application comprised part of the £25 incurred by the council for
obtaining the liability order.

Has this been correctly assumed, if so what was the remaining £22
costs attributable to in obtaining the order?

Q4. If incorrectly assumed, what makes up the £25 costs
attributable to obtaining the order?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt
 
Thank you for your information request, reference number 2587/1213.
 
Q1. Could you please explain the composition of the £70 summons fee
imposed on council taxpayers in terms of costs incurred by the council for
issuing the summons and obtaining the liability order?
 
Q2. It appears some costs which are incurred by the council for obtaining
a liability order, i.e. £25 are no longer imposed on householders when an
order is made against them. However, the summons charge imposed,
simultaneously increased by £38.
 
Are the specific costs for obtaining the liability order now incurred by
the taxpayer, along with those which are connected with the summons
application? i.e. in with the £70 at the summons stage.
 
Q3. It is a reasonable assumption that the £3 paid to HMCTS per
application comprised part of the £25 incurred by the council for
obtaining the liability order.
 
Has this been correctly assumed, if so what was the remaining £22 costs
attributable to in obtaining the order?
 
Q4. If incorrectly assumed, what makes up the £25 costs attributable to
obtaining the order?
 
In response to your previous requests (including request 20110505), we
have confirmed that the £70.00 fee, is based on comparisons with the fees
charged by neighbouring authorities (including Hull City Council  and East
Riding of Yorkshire Council). The figure of £70 was then compared against
national averages, and as previously identified checked to ensure that the
monies raised from costs would not be greater than the cost of the
service.
 
As confirmed above, the fees reflect the costs that have been reasonably
incurred by the authority in connection with the application up to the
time of payment or tender, and we therefore do not hold a breakdown of the
composition of each fee.
 
If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation
North East Lincolnshire Council
 
 

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Reference number 2567/1213 (2587/1213 ?????)

Thank you for your 23 April 2012 email. However, I replied specifically to the council's Business Support Officer, Hayley Kidd. This was in response to her email of 18 April 2012 because the offer was made to further clarify details:

Quote:

"If you require any further clarification or details, please do not hesitate to contact me, quoting the reference number above."

Please forward this message on to the council's Business Support Officer, Hayley Kidd, for her attention.

P.S.

You have stated that the £70.00 fee, is based on comparisons with the fees charged by neighbouring authorities (including Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council). The figure of £70 was then compared against national averages, and as previously identified checked to ensure that the monies raised from costs would not be greater than the cost of the service.

This explanation is unacceptable and reinforces the fact that NELC's costs are not based on those reasonably incurred.

It is not good enough to base what NELC charges in penalties on what other local authorities get away with. Nor is it acceptable to base them in relation to national averages.

Your claim that "monies raised from costs would not be greater than the cost of the service" has already been discredited. The figures supplied in your email of 26 May 2011 to Freedom of Information request, 20110505 relate to council tax administration in general, as confirmed in your 10 May 2011 email where it is quoted:

"The costs raised are to cover the cost of Council Tax collection and recovery."

You also state that "the fees reflect the costs that have been reasonably incurred by the authority in connection with the application up to the time of payment or tender, and we therefore do not hold a breakdown of the composition of each fee."

There is no logical basis to specify a predetermined sum. This can only be determined by the Magistrate at the liability order hearing and after he has considered such factors as the number summoned in the bulk application which would have a bearing on any costs the council should be awarded.

There is also the mystery of the £25 costs for obtaining a liability order which have disappeard completely.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your correspondence of April 23rd 2012, which raised the following points

1) That your correspondence was not responded to by a specified Officer.

2) That the response to your request does not provide an explanation for the basis of the Council's summons costs.

In response to the points you have raised an internal review has been undertaken into the handling of your request

Point 1 - That your correspondence was not responded to by a specified Officer.

Freedom of Information requests are made to public authorities in relation to the recorded information they hold, not individual officers. When North East Lincolnshire Council receives a Freedom of Information request it will be allocated to the appropriate service area to deal with and a response will be sent by an appropriate officer acting on behalf of the public authority. Whilst your request was addressed to a specific officer, to ensure your request is handled effectively and efficiently it will not necessarily be the same officer that responds to your request. I am therefore satisfied that your request has been handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and the Council's processes.

Point 2 - That the response to your request does not provide an explanation for the basis of the Council's summons costs.

In response to your request we have confirmed that the summons costs reflect the costs that have been reasonably incurred by the authority in connection with the application up to the time of payment or tender. The current figure of £70.00 is based on comparisons with the fees charged by neighbouring authorities (including Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council) and national averages, and checks to ensure that the monies raised from costs would not be greater than the cost of the service. As the summons costs are based on an average figure which is not be greater than the cost of the service, North East Lincolnshire Council do not therefore hold a breakdown of the composition of the fee. I am therefore satisfied that your request has been handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, and the Council have responded in full to your request.

If you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, Telephone 08456 306060 or 01625 545745

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation
North East Lincolnshire Council

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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for you email of 1 May 2012.

You have stated that checks are made,

"to ensure that the monies raised from costs would not be greater than the cost of the service."

and that,

"the summons costs are based on an average figure which is not greater than the cost of the service.."

Can you please confirm that the "COST OF THE SERVICE" refers to "the cost of Council Tax collection and recovery".

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

NELC supplied the following figures for the council's total budget in relation to costs attributable to Council Tax recovery.

===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===

2011/12 REVENUES BUDGET (debt recovery)

A0184 CONTROL & MONITORING

Total revenue expenditure budget – £507,000
£ recharged income – £0
Percentage recovery work – 20%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £101,400

A0187 DEBT COLLECTION

Total revenue expenditure budget – £738,500
£ recharged income – (£121,800)*
Percentage recovery work – 100%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £616,700

A0191 COUNCIL TAX

Total revenue expenditure budget – £826,900
£ recharged income – £0
Percentage recovery work – 50%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £413,450

TOTAL £1,131,550

*cost of sundry debt collection recharged to other directorates

===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===

Including:

• Quantity
• Cost
• Revenues budget category (COUNCIL TAX, DEBT COLLECTION etc.)
• Attributed OR NOT? to recovery work

For (2011/12) and in relation to council tax bills, reminders, summonses etc, please provide information for the following:

1. Annual Council Tax & NNDR Billing

2. Housing & Council Tax Benefit Notifications - year end calculation

3. Council Tax reminders

4. Non Domestic Rates reminders

5. Council Tax finals letters

6. Non Domestic Rates finals letters

7. 14 day notifications (settle accounts in full)

8. Council Tax summonses

9. Non Domestic Rates summonses

10. Daily billing

11. Ongoing Printing / Personalisation Requirements

12. Leaflets, for example Direct debit mandates which are inserted in any of the above.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been allocated a new reference number of 2739_1213.

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of Information requests is available on our website at: http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council/the-co....

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

Thank you for your query in relation to the information supplied in
response to your request 2587/1213.

 

I wish to confirm that the 'cost of service' referred to in the answer
provided to your request on 01/05/2012 relates to the costs reasonably
incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery by the  North East
Lincolnshire Council, as allowed by the  Council Tax Administration and
Enforcement regulations 1992 .

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or
the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review
by contacting the Information Commissioner's  Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, Telephone 08456 306060 or 01625
545745

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

     

Paul Ellis

Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation

North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 17 May 2012 email and your confirmation that the 'cost of service' relates to the costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery by the North East Lincolnshire Council, as allowed by the Council Tax Administration and Enforcement regulations 1992.

I have looked at the regulations and unless I'm missing something can only link your reference to Regulation 34 where at items (5)(b), (7)(b) and (8) there are the following references to costs reasonably incurred:

...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

...an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the applicant in obtaining the order.

...an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the authority in making the application.

Could you please quote the particular reference in the Council Tax Administration and Enforcement regulations 1992 which allow for costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt 

 

Thank you for your enquiry regarding the response to information request
2587/1213, which asked for 'the particular reference in the Council Tax
Administration and Enforcement regulations 1992 which allow for costs
reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery'.

 

I am pleased to confirm that the relevant legislation is schedule 4 of the
Local Government Finance Act 1992, which is provided below

 

Liability orders

 

3          (1) Regulations under paragraph 1(1) above may provide that—

                        (a) the authority concerned may apply to a
magistrates’ court for an order (a “liability order”) against the person
by                                              whom the sum is payable;

                        (b) the magistrates’ court shall make the order if
it is satisfied that the sum has become payable by the person
                                            concerned  and has not been
paid.

            (2) The regulations may include provision that the order shall
be made in respect of an amount equal to the aggregate of—

                        (a) the sum payable; and

                        (b) a sum (of a prescribed amount or an amount
determined in accordance with prescribed rules) in respect of the
                                            costs incurred in obtaining
the order.

            (3) The regulations may include provision that, where the sum
payable is paid after the order has been applied for but before it
                                 is made, the magistrates’ court shall
nonetheless make the order in respect of a sum (of a prescribed amount or
an                                         amount determined in accordance
with prescribed rules) in respect of the costs incurred in applying for
it.

            (4) The regulations may include—

                        (a) provision prescribing steps to be taken before
an application may be made;

                        (b) provision that no application may be made
after a prescribed period has expired;

                        (c) provision prescribing the procedure to be
followed for the initiation of an application (which may include provision
as                           to form);

                        (d) provision prescribing the procedure to be
followed in dealing with an application;

                        (e) provision prescribing the form and contents of
an order

 

I trust that this answers your request in full, if you are unhappy with
the response you have received, you have the right to request an internal
review by the Council. If following this you are still dissatisfied you
may contact the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you wish to
request an internal review, please contact me and I will make the
necessary arrangements.

 

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation
North East Lincolnshire Council

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 29 May 2012 email.

I have looked at the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and formed the opinion that this is primary legislation, which, as far as I can tell, lays out the boundaries to which the secondary legislation (SI 1992/613) must conform. Or at least, in relation to schedule 4 of the Local Government Finance Act and PART VI of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

I can therefore assume that the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 is the appropriate legislation to consider in trying to establish whether or not there is a particular reference which allows for costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery.

So, I still maintain that Regulation 34 of SI 1992/613 at items (5)(b), (7)(b) and (8) will be the most relevant part of the legislation in connection with costs reasonably incurred. However, there doesn't appear to be any reference to costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery.

P.S. There is also my email of 14 May 2012, which appears to have been overlooked.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Mail Delivery System,

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:

IMCEAEX-_O=NE+20LINCOLNSHIRE+20COUNCIL_OU=THRUNSCOE_CN=PUBLIC+20FOLDER_CN=[email address]
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host mail02.nelincs.gov.uk [80.6.94.181]: 550 5.1.1 <IMCEAEX-_O=NE+20LINCOLNSHIRE+20COUNCIL_OU=THRUNSCOE_CN=PUBLIC+20FOLDER_CN=[email address]>:
Recipient address rejected: undeliverable address:
host mail-svr01.nelincs.gov.uk[10.6.6.50] said:
550 5.1.1 User unknown (in reply to RCPT TO command)

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

Thank you for your 29 May 2012 email.

I have looked at the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and formed the opinion that this is primary legislation, which, as far as I can tell, lays out the boundaries to which the secondary legislation (SI 1992/613) must conform. Or at least, in relation to schedule 4 of the Local Government Finance Act and PART VI of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

I can therefore assume that the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 is the appropriate legislation to consider in trying to establish whether or not there is a particular reference which allows for costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery.

So, I still maintain that Regulation 34 of SI 1992/613 at items (5)(b), (7)(b) and (8) will be the most relevant part of the legislation in connection with costs reasonably incurred. However, there doesn't appear to be any reference to costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery.

P.S. There is also my email of 14 May 2012, which appears to have
been overlooked.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 29 May 2012 email.

I believe this message failed to reach you previously.

I have looked at the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and formed the opinion that this is primary legislation, which, as far as I can tell, lays out the boundaries to which the secondary legislation (SI 1992/613) must conform. Or at least, in relation to schedule 4 of the Local Government Finance Act and PART VI of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

I can therefore assume that the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 is the appropriate legislation to consider in trying to establish whether or not there is a particular reference which allows for costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery.

So, I still maintain that Regulation 34 of SI 1992/613 at items (5)(b), (7)(b) and (8) will be the most relevant part of the legislation in connection with costs reasonably incurred. However, there doesn't appear to be any reference to costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery.

P.S. There is also my email of 14 May 2012, which appears to have been overlooked.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Mail Delivery System,

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:

IMCEAEX-_O=NE+20LINCOLNSHIRE+20COUNCIL_OU=THRUNSCOE_CN=PUBLIC+20FOLDER_CN=[email address]
SMTP error from remote mail server after RCPT TO:<IMCEAEX-_O=NE+20LINCOLNSHIRE+20COUNCIL_OU=THRUNSCOE_CN=PUBLIC+20FOLDER_CN=[email address]>:
host mail02.nelincs.gov.uk [80.6.94.181]: 550 5.1.1 <IMCEAEX-_O=NE+20LINCOLNSHIRE+20COUNCIL_OU=THRUNSCOE_CN=PUBLIC+20FOLDER_CN=[email address]>:
Recipient address rejected: undeliverable address:
host mail-svr01.nelincs.gov.uk[10.6.6.50] said:
550 5.1.1 User unknown (in reply to RCPT TO command)

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear Kidd, Hayley,

Please can you ensure this message is directed to the relevant person to deal with the FOI request.

I have twice received notice of a message delivery failure. On each occasion the recipient's address was "PPD - FOI"

I have looked at the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and formed the opinion that this is primary legislation, which, as far as I can tell, lays out the boundaries to which the secondary legislation (SI 1992/613) must conform. Or at least, in relation to schedule 4 of the Local Government Finance Act and PART VI of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

I can therefore assume that the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 is the appropriate legislation to consider in trying to establish whether or not there is a particular reference which allows for costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery.

So, I still maintain that Regulation 34 of SI 1992/613 at items (5)(b), (7)(b) and (8) will be the most relevant part of the legislation in connection with costs reasonably incurred. However, there doesn't appear to be any reference to costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery.

P.S. There is also my email of 14 May 2012, which appears to have been overlooked.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt
 
Thank you for your correspondence of May 29th 2012, your comments in
relation to schedule 4 are noted.
 
In relation to your enquiry concerning your email of 14 May 2012, I can
confirm that request 2739_1213 is currently being processed and you can
expect a response within the 20 working day time limit
 
Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council
 
Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation
 

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 7 June 2012 email.

I'm unsure how to interpret your statement, i.e

"your comments in relation to schedule 4 are noted."

Does this mean there's no particular reference in neither the Council Tax regulations nor schedule 4 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 which allow for costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery?

Regardless of whether this is true will you please review the response in your 17th & 29th of May 2012 emails in relation to the 'cost of service'.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for an internal review on request 2587/1213.

You can expect a response within 20 working days. If it will take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving the response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of Information requests is available on our website at: http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-and-de...

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

Re: Freedom of Information

 

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act made on
14/05/2012, reference number FOI 2739/1213.

 

Under Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I wish to confirm
that North East Lincolnshire Council holds some of the information you
have requested.

 

Your request was:

 

     Including:

    

     • Quantity

     • Cost

     • Revenues budget category (COUNCIL TAX, DEBT COLLECTION etc.)

     • Attributed OR NOT? to recovery work

    

     For (2011/12) and in relation to council tax bills, reminders,

     summonses etc, please provide information for the following:

    

     1. Annual Council Tax & NNDR Billing

    

     2. Housing & Council Tax Benefit Notifications - year end

     calculation

    

     3. Council Tax reminders

    

     4. Non Domestic Rates reminders

    

     5. Council Tax finals letters

    

     6. Non Domestic Rates finals letters

    

     7. 14 day notifications (settle accounts in full)

    

     8. Council Tax summonses

    

     9. Non Domestic Rates summonses

    

     10. Daily billing

    

     11. Ongoing Printing / Personalisation Requirements

    

     12. Leaflets, for example Direct debit mandates which are inserted

     in any of the above.

 

  Letter type Number
1 Annual Council Tax Billing 71,478
  Annual NNDR Billing 5,166
2 Housing Benefit Notifications - year end calculation 11,177
  Council Tax Benefit Notifications - year end calculation 20,002
3 Council Tax reminder 1 23,923
  Council Tax reminder 2 5,730
4 Non-Domestic Rates reminders 2,161
5 Council Tax finals letters 2,602
6 Non-Domestic Rates finals letters 307
7 Council Tax - 14 day notifications (settle accounts in full) 10,944
  Non-Domestic Rates - 14 day notifications (settle accounts in 781
full)
8 Council Tax summonses 14,031
9 Non-Domestic Rates summonses 827

 

10 Daily billing
CT Bills (NR) NDR Bills (NR) CT Bills (R) NDR Bills (R)
82,789 6,976 9,425 1,182

 

11 On-going Printing / Personalisation Requirements N/A
12 Leaflets, for example Direct debit mandates which are See Below
inserted in any of the above.

 

LEAFLETS

3 Leaflets are sent with every annual and new bill (Police, Fire Brigade
and Direct Debit)

1 request for Information leaflet is sent with each 14 Day Letter

 

All costs for the above are within the amounts paid to FDML on a monthly
basis, the payments for which are available on the internet -
[1]http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council/counci....
As all of the above activities are covered in one payment no breakdown of
cost can be given. This also prevents the identification of revenues
budget category and whether it is attributable or not to recovery work.
All letters are sent 2^nd Class except for summonses.

 

If you require any further clarification or details, please do not
hesitate to contact me, quoting the reference number above.

 

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Freedom of Information Officer

People and Communities Directorate

North East Lincolnshire Council

 

 

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

REF: FOI 2739/1213

Thank you for your 13 June 2012 email.

Could you please state which category (if any) of the revenues budget, each item listed in my FOI request belongs, i.e. COUNCIL TAX, DEBT COLLECTION or CONTROL & MONITORING.

Whether or not it is possible for costs to be broken down, this should not prevent their identification or whether they're attributable or not to recovery work.

Could you please clarify how it was possible for the authority to determine the following costs, bearing in mind responses in FOI/206211/12 went along the lines of the council "do not hold this information, to the level of detail specified in your request" and the following statement:

"As all of the above activities are covered in one payment no breakdown of cost can be given. This also prevents the identification of revenues budget category and whether it is attributable or not to recovery work..."

===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===

2011/12 REVENUES BUDGET (debt recovery)

A0184 CONTROL & MONITORING

Total revenue expenditure budget – £507,000
£ recharged income – £0
Percentage recovery work – 20%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £101,400

A0187 DEBT COLLECTION

Total revenue expenditure budget – £738,500
£ recharged income – (£121,800)*
Percentage recovery work – 100%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £616,700

A0191 COUNCIL TAX

Total revenue expenditure budget – £826,900
£ recharged income – £0
Percentage recovery work – 50%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £413,450

TOTAL £1,131,550

*cost of sundry debt collection recharged to other directorates

===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt,
 
An Internal Review has taken place into the handling of your information
request FOI 2587/1213, which relates to the legislation that allows for
the recovery of costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and
recovery.
 
I have reviewed the responses provided to you on and find that North East
Lincolnshire Council has meet its responsibilities to you under the
Freedom of Information Act, namely:
 

* To inform you whether or not the information is held by North East
Lincolnshire Council;
* To comply with the request within the statutory time of 20 working
days;
* To provide you with the information disclosable under the Act; and
* To provide you with your rights of appeal.

 
As previously stated I am pleased to confirm that the relevant legislation
is schedule 4 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
 
If you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or
the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review
by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
 
Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council
 
Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation
North East Lincolnshire Council
 

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 26 June 2012 email.

You have confirmed in your 17 May 2012 email that the 'cost of service' refers to the cost reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery by the North East Lincolnshire Council, as allowed by the Council Tax Administration and Enforcement regulations 1992.

In your 29 May 2012 email you stated that the relevant legislation is schedule 4 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

I believe the specific reference will be (2)(b)of paragraph 3

"(2) The regulations may include provision that the order shall be made in respect of an amount equal to the aggregate of—

(a) the sum payable; and

(b) a sum (of a prescribed amount or an amount determined in accordance with prescribed rules) in respect of the costs incurred in obtaining the order."

Schedule 4 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 lays out the boundaries to which PART VI of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 must conform.

The relevant part to costs reasonably incurred in the regulations is Regulation 34 at (5)(b), (7)(b) and (8).

"(5)(b) 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

(7)(b) an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the applicant in obtaining the order.

(8) an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the authority in making the application."

My question was:

"Could you please quote the particular reference in the Council Tax Administration and Enforcement regulations 1992 which allow for costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery."

You have stated:

"As previously stated I am pleased to confirm that the relevant legislation is schedule 4 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992."

Nowhere in any legislation you have quoted is there any reference (I can see) that allows for costs reasonably incurred for Council Tax collection and recovery.

I have not seen it, however I'm not saying it does not exist. If you have made an error of judgement in an earlier response please just say so, otherwise be more specific with your response.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your information request, reference number 2739_1213, concerning the allocation of payments to Financial Data Management Ltd (FDML) to different budget codes. I wish to confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council holds the following information in relation to your request.

The payments made to FDML, were attributed to the following budget codes:

Code Description Amount £
A0180 Benefits Administration 6,932.90
A0187 Debt Collection 5,149.63
A0190 NNDR 5,751.17
A0191 Council Tax 61,300.99

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me and I will make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation, Informatics and Research| North East Lincolnshire Council

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Stuart left an annotation ()

Equity does not recognise a penalty incurred under duress for non compliance!

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 12 July 2012 email.

I have a question or two regarding the information you have supplied.

My 13 June 2012 email I requested that you state which category (if any) of the revenues budget, each item listed in my FOI request belongs. To clarify my request, the following illustrates the format:

EXAMPLE: (Letter type)

1. Annual Council Tax & NNDR Billing
[COUNCIL TAX] A0191 (Recovery)

2. Housing & Council Tax Benefit Notifications - year end calculation
[BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION] A0180 (Non Recovery)

3. Council Tax reminders
[COUNCIL TAX] A0191 (Recovery)

4. Non Domestic Rates reminders
[COUNCIL TAX] A0191 (Recovery)

5. Council Tax finals letters
[DEBT COLLECTION] A0187 (Recovery)

6. Non Domestic Rates finals letters
[DEBT COLLECTION] A0187 (Recovery)

........

It stated in your 26 May 2011 email the following:

"The annual budget for all activity associated with recovery of Council Tax and Business rates amounts to approximately £1.1 million."

However, your 12 July 2012 email has introduced an additional budget code for Business rates, i.e [A0190 NNDR]. Could you please clarify why this budget code is not included in the 2011/12 Revenues budget figures I was given for debt recovery.

Lastly,

Could you please clarify how it was possible for the authority to determine the costs in the 26 May 2011 email, bearing in mind responses in FOI/206211/12 went along the lines of the council "do not hold this information, to the level of detail specified in your request" and the following statement:

"As all of the above activities are covered in one payment no breakdown of cost can be given. This also prevents the identification of revenues budget category and whether it is attributable or not to recovery work..."

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been allocated the reference number 3150_1213.

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of Information requests is available on our website at: http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-and-de....

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Admin Assistant

North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 16 July 2012 email.

My last email was not a new FOI request. It was a request to clarify the council's response as the information supplied was not the information I requested, nor were certain parts answered at all.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act made on 12
July 2012, reference number 3150/1213. I am pleased to provide the
following response.

 

Element 1 - to identify which budget code (A0180 / A1087 / A0190 / A0191)
each of the letter types (i.e. Annual Council Tax & NNDR Billing)
specified can be attributed to

 

We have already confirmed that payments to FDML have been attributed to
codes A0180 / A1087 / A0190 / A0191 and the percentage relating to
recovery work for three of these codes, which are as follows

 

•         A0184 CONTROL & MONITORING Percentage recovery work – 20%

•         A0187 DEBT COLLECTION Percentage recovery work – 100%

•         A0191 COUNCIL TAX Percentage recovery work – 50%

 

The table below identifies the budget code most relevant to each letter
type:

 

Item Attributable to: Cost Recovery / Non
Code: Recovery
Annual Council Tax bills Council Tax A0191 Non Recovery
NNDR bills NNDR A0190 Non Recovery
Housing & Council Tax Benefit Benefits A0180 Non Recovery
notifications Administration
Council Tax reminders and Council Tax A0191 Non Recovery
finals
NNDR reminders and finals NNDR A0190 Non Recovery
14 day notifications (settle Council Tax and NNDR A0191/ Recovery
accounts in full)
A0190
Council Tax summonses Council Tax A0191 Recovery
Non Domestic Rates summonses NNDR A0190 Recovery
Daily billing Council Tax and NNDR A0191/ Non Recovery

A0190
Ongoing Printing / Unable to define as N/A N/A
Personalisation Requirements could be attributable
to all areas
Leaflets, for example Direct Council Tax and NNDR A0191/ N/A
debit mandates which are
inserted in any of the above A0190

 

Please note as there is no direct postage budget for Debt Recovery, the
information you are requesting and subsequently being provided with, does
not necessarily provide a full representation of the cost of running the
debt recovery service.

 

Element 2 - why code A0190 NNDR was not included in the 2011/12 Revenues
budget figures given for all activity associated with recovery of Council
Tax and Business rates

 

2011/12 Revenues budget (debt recovery)      
           
Cost Cost Centre Total recharged % Cost
centre Description revenue   expenditure income recovery attributable
budget  £ work CT recovery
A0184 Control & 507,000 0 20 101,400
Monitoring
A0187 Debt 738,500 (121,800)* 100 616,700
Collection
A0191 Council Tax 826,900 0 50 413,450
          1,131,550

 

*cost of sundry debt collection recharged to other directorates

 

This table was provided as part of the response to your FOI request
20110505, to demonstrate in relation to the Council Tax summons fee the
costs reasonably incurred by North East Lincolnshire Council in connection
with the application up to the time of payment or tender.

 

Element 3 - Could you please clarify how it was possible for the authority
to determine the costs in the 26 May 2011 email, bearing in mind responses
in FOI/206211/12 went along the lines of the council "do not hold this
information, to the level of detail specified in your request"

 

The information provided to you on 26/05/2011 in response to your request
20110505, identified overall expenditure and income attributed to cost
centres relating to the Revenues budget in 2011/12 and in particular in
relation to debt recovery. Your FOI request 2062/1112 asked for very
specific information relating to individual activities undertaken as part
of the preparation of summonses during the financial years 2010/11 and
2011/12. To determine the overall expenditure and income which is
attributed to individual cost centres does not require the level of detail
you requested in your request 2062/1112.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or
the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review
by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Ian Hollingsworth

 

Informatics and Research Team

 

North East Lincolnshire Council

 

 

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 9 August 2012 email.

I have used data provided by North East Lincolnshire council in an attempt to establish the (REALISTIC) associated costs incurred in council tax liability order applications. The council's reluctance to cooperate has made this impossible by the fact the information which it has been possible to prize out of the authority has been pure guesswork.

An example of this is where in the council's 26 May 2011 email it states that the table referred to in 'Element 2' of your 9 August 2012 email:

"The annual budget for all activity associated with recovery of Council Tax and Business rates amounts to approximately £1.1 million."

It is now apparent that costs for NNDR were not included although it was stated they were.

On another point, it seems the table supplied in the 9 August 2012 email has not been compatible with the whatdotheyknow's email text editor, so have interpreted it as follows:

The format being:

Item Attributable to:
Cost
Code:
Recovery / Non Recovery

===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===

Annual Council Tax bills
Council Tax
A0191
Non Recovery

NNDR bills
NNDR
A0190
Non Recovery

Housing & Council Tax Benefit notifications
Benefits Administration
A0180
Non Recovery

Council Tax reminders and finals
Council Tax
A0191
Non Recovery

NNDR reminders and finals
NNDR
A0190
Non Recovery

14 day notifications (settle accounts in full)
Council Tax and NNDR
A0191/ A0190
Recovery

Council Tax summonses
Council Tax
A0191
Recovery

Non Domestic Rates summonses
NNDR
A0190
Recovery

Daily billing
Council Tax and NNDR
A0191/ A0190
Non Recovery

Ongoing Printing / Personalisation Requirements
Unable to define as could be attributable to all areas
N/A
N/A

Leaflets, for example Direct debit mandates which are inserted in any of the above
Council Tax and NNDR
A0191/ A0190
N/A

===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===+===

If the above has been interpreted correctly from the supplied table, can NELC confirm that only those letters, namely the 14 day notifications and summonses for both Council Tax and NNDR, are attributed to the council's recovery costs calculation and none of the others are lumped in with the estimate?

Although it is impossible to establish the associated costs incurred with the data supplied by NELC, there is something worth pointing out (again if the above has been interpreted correctly).

It would be unlawful to include that expenditure in the penalty imposed on the debtor in relation to ALL the 14 day notifications letters.

A proportion of those who receive these letters will not go on to default. Only the proportion relating to residents who do in fact get taken to court are recoverable costs. Those who do receive summons penalties are effectively paying a proportion of unallowable costs because of this.

The supplied data also highlights that the majority of expenses dealt with are not included in the incurred costs calculation. The concern is, what is? In other words the council have been unable to make any credible attempt to justify these figures. They appear to be just made-up.

I would like NELC to clarify some of these points and ultimately provide an itemised breakdown of the £1.13 million it claims to incur.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Maria left an annotation ()

Any cost's over the £3 fee, should be refunded, as this is worse than PPI, they are already paid a wage unless they are working as volunteers, and already paid expenses and bonuses.

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your further correspondence in relation to your information request 3150_1213. Unfortunately it is unclear from your e-mail where you are asking for further information and where you are making comments in relation to the information previously provided to you.

In order to be able to respond to your request can you please clarify, without accompanying comments and statements, the precise information you are asking for. Under the Freedom of Information Act, the 20 working days allowed for responding to your request will not begin until the clarification is received.

Yours sincerely

Informatics and Research Team
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 16 August 2012 email.

I tried to be diplomatic about the incompetent way the data was supplied in the council's last email.

I therefore require confirmation that I have interpreted this accurately.

Other points have been explained in my last email.

Unless you are prepared to itemise costs which the council claim amount to £1.13 million, please just answer my queries in order that I can make a better assessment of the information required.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your further correspondence in relation to your request 3150_1213. As stated in the Council's earlier correspondence, unfortunately it is unclear from your e-mail where you are asking for further information and where you are making comments in relation to the information previously provided to you. In order to be able to respond to your request can you please clarify, without accompanying comments and statements, the precise questions you require the Council to answer or the information you wish the Council to provide you with.

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Informatics and Research Team
North East Lincolnshire Council

<html>
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recipient be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the
contents of this information is prohibited. If you have received this
electronic message in error, please telephone or email the number(s) or address
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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 22 August 2012 email.

I would quite simply like you to sort these out:

1) Confirm that my interpretation (11 August 2012 email) of the council's table it supplied was correct.

2) Provide accurate information to replace that which I'd identified as guesswork, in my 11 August 2012 email.

i.e, the table supplied in both the council's 26 May 2011 email and 9 August 2012.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Please refer to my 11 August 2012 email to clarify any points needed to process my earlier request today.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your further correspondence in relation to your request 3150_1213. As stated in the Council's earlier correspondence, unfortunately it remains unclear from your correspondence where you are asking for further information and where you are making comments in relation to the information previously provided to you. To assist us to answer any queries you still have we have asked that you please clearly set out, without any accompanying comments or statements, the precise questions you require the Council to answer or the information you wish the Council to provide you with.

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation
North East Lincolnshire Council

<html>
<p>
<p>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<p>
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style='font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Webdings;mso-bidi-font-family:Webdings;
color:green'>P </span><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif";
color:green'>Reduce your environmental footprint, please do not print this
email unless you really need to. </span><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:"Arial","sans-serif";color:blue'><o:p></o:p></span></p>

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style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif";color:blue'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>
<p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>This electronic message contains information from North East Lincolnshire Council
which may be privileged or confidential. The information is intended to be for
the use of the individual(s) or entity named above. If you are not the intended
recipient be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the
contents of this information is prohibited. If you have received this
electronic message in error, please telephone or email the number(s) or address
above immediately. Activity and use of the North East Lincolnshire email system
is monitored to secure its effective operation and for other lawful business
purposes. Communications using this system will also be monitored and may be
recorded to secure effective operation and for other lawful business purposes.
Scanned by Anti Virus Software</span></p>
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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 7 September 2012 email.

I am for the time being going to end my attempt of getting any sense from North East Lincolnshire council with regards this FOI request.

I'm unsure what you are trying to achieve. It seems though, you are provoking me with your infuriating immature approach in the hope I will put in writing an offensive account to outline NELC's failings.

If this is what you're after, i.e. ammunition to use taxpayer's money for some prosecution, you are out of luck. You have demonstrated in your recent email, and many previous to that, what the council is without help from me.

You can not honestly provide the information without revealing evidence that NELC has defrauded its residents "en masse" for years, with the help of Grimsby Magistrates' court through its council tax liability order applications.

You will not provide the requested information and neither will the Information Commissioner persuade you to. However, the way you have conducted your responses to my recent correspondence, I'm sure the Commissioner will take an interest.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Stuart left an annotation ()

Finally council admits that council tax liabilities don't exist!

http://www.nocounciltax.com/councils/fin...

This is what Wigan Council say is a Liability Order: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1...

http://www.getoutofdebtfree.org/forum/vi...

Dan Stevens (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Are you going to resume this at any point?

I understand the frustration of having to deal with such intransigence, but you were getting close to the truth.

Stuart left an annotation ()

Council-tax-fraud-exposed-after-council-lose-court-case

http://landofthefree.co.uk/site/componen...

Maria left an annotation ()

The council make pay day loan sharks look like saints. They need to stop electing themselves and giving nonjobs to their family and friends. Council tax needs to be abolished or reduced by at least 90%
Please make sure you vote UKIP at every election and get the corrupt liblabcons out. Please do not listen to any lies told by liblabcons. Please find the true facts on the official website.

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

The department of Communities and Local Government released a report:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

Emphasis is put on 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."

In the light of the above, please provide a breakdown showing how the summons costs are calculated?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for further information on
reference number 3150/1213

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and
you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will
take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you
of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of
Information requests is available on our website at:
[1]http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council/the-co....

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or
assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Feedback Officer

North East Lincolnshire Council

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Stuart left an annotation ()

MAXIM IN LAW:

Equity does not recognise a penalty for non compliance!

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

Thank you for your information request reference 3150_1213.

 

I can confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council is in possession of the
document you refer to and is considering its content. At this time the
council's response to your request remains unchanged.

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or
the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review
by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Ian Hollingsworth

 

Informatics and Research Team

 

On behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Helen,

I have to agree with you.

We are all up against corrupt lying local authorities. However, what adds insult to injury is the money defrauded from the taxpayer to fund corrupt watchdog organisations covering up councils lies and corruption.

Alistair P Sloan left an annotation ()

I have removed an annotation that did not comply with our annotations policy https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/requ...

Alistair - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

If you weren't already aware, the report I brought to your attention in my 22 June 2013 email has been amended.

The Department of Communities and Local Government's amended guide may be downloaded here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

Paragraph 3.4 of the guidance now reads as follows:

"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."

In the light of the above, please provide a breakdown showing how the summons costs are calculated?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Stuart left an annotation ()

They are running illegal kangaroo courts and counterfeiting warrants and summonses - Check the ACTS!

Those have both been proven!

Stuart left an annotation ()

MAXIM IN LAW!

Equity does not recognise a penalty for non compliance!

Stuart left an annotation ()

MAXIM IN LAW!

Equity does not recognise a statute cloaked in fraud!

Thomas Pattison left an annotation ()

Spot on Stuart. illegal summonses. illegal liability orders. Unethical (at the very least) charges. illegal theft of funds through attachment of earnings. debt collectors not bailiffs. committal to prison without criminal record. totally fraudulent.

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to acknowledge your further correspondence in relation to
request reference number 3150/1314.

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and
you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will
take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you
of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of
Information requests is available on our website at:

[1]http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council/the-co....

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or
assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Feedback Officer

North East Lincolnshire Council

 

show quoted sections

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your latest correspondence re information request reference 3150_1213.

North East Lincolnshire Council have previously provided to you all the details it holds in relation to how the summons cost of £70 was calculated, which I am pleased to provide again below:

The Council Tax Administration and Enforcement regulations 1992, state that the Council may add costs reasonably incurred by the authority in connection with the application. The £70.00 fee was set based on comparisons with the fees charged by neighbouring authorities. The proposed figure of £70.00 was then compared against national averages, and then checked to ensure that the monies raised from applying costs of £70.00 would not be greater than the cost of the service.

If you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation, Informatics and Research, Resources Directorate| North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

This message has been hidden. This message just contained abusive language and no substantive content so has been removed from public view. Please contact us if you have any questions. If you are the requester, then you may sign in to view the message.

Stuart left an annotation ()

We the people are the Sovereign grantors of the Estate- in-Trust you the Council elected by us are the elected Trustees of said Estate-in Trust, for and on behalf of we the Grantors of said Trust and are also the beneficiaries of that said TRUST! You the Trustees cannot make charges against any Beneficiary PERIOD!

The created (YOU THE COUNCIL) Cannot usurp the creator! PERIOD

If there's any part of that non rocket science you don't get Messrs PUBLIC SERVANTS! Then clearly you do not have the intellect to be in those positions and therefore committing pecuniary deception by - drawing wages -in order to obtain advantage, by fraudulent conveyance of language, fraudulent concealment and modification of contract fraud. Please show all parties the Deed of Assignment whereby any member of the public ever gave you expressed permission outside of fraudulent duress to administer, usufruct or monotise their account in any shape or form whatsoever!

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

North East Lincolnshire Council states:

"The Council Tax Administration and Enforcement regulations 1992, state that the Council may add costs reasonably incurred by the authority in connection with the application. The £70.00 fee was set based on comparisons with the fees charged by neighbouring authorities. The proposed figure of £70.00 was then compared against national averages, and then checked to ensure that the monies raised from applying costs of £70.00 would not be greater than the cost of the service."

Reasonably incurred costs in liability order applications does not mean;

• a sum which neighbouring authorities get away with

• a sum based on national averages, or

• an amount meeting the cost of council tax administration

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Re, your 29 May 2012 email with regards Schedule 4 (liability orders) to the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

"Liability orders

3 (1) Regulations under paragraph 1(1) above may provide that—

(a) the authority concerned may apply to a magistrates’ court for an order (a “liability order”) against the person by whom the sum is payable;

(b) the magistrates’ court shall make the order if it is satisfied that the sum has become payable by the person concerned and has not been paid.

(2) The regulations may include provision that the order shall be made in respect of an amount equal to the aggregate of—

(a) the sum payable; and

(b) a sum (of a prescribed amount or an amount determined in accordance with prescribed rules) in respect of the costs incurred in obtaining the order.

(3) The regulations may include provision that, where the sum payable is paid after the order has been applied for but before it is made, the magistrates’ court shall nonetheless make the order in respect of a sum (of a prescribed amount or an amount determined in accordance with prescribed rules) in respect of the costs incurred in APPLYING for it.

(4) The regulations may include—

(a) provision prescribing steps to be taken before an application may be made;

(b) provision that no application may be made after a prescribed period has expired;

(c) provision prescribing the procedure to be followed for the initiation of an application (which may include provision as to form);

(d) provision prescribing the procedure to be followed in dealing with an application;

(e) provision prescribing the form and contents of an order."

It may be that the reason Regulation 34(5) of the Council Tax Regulations provides that local authorities may impose court costs on a Council Taxpayer in respect of issuing a summons before the case is even brought before the bench is because the statutory instrument is ultra vires.

As is indicated in your 29 May 2012 email , the primary legislation laying down the boundaries from which Regulation 34 derives is the Local Government Finance Act 1992. The relevant provision of Schedule 4 paragraph (3) ('liability orders') of the 1992 Act (quoted at the beggining of this email) are the powers conferred on the secretary of state to make provision for the relevant secondary legislatation.

As suggested, the statutory instrument with regards regulation 34 appears to have been enacted without the legal powers of the primary legislation.

The primary legislation, as previously quoted ('liability orders') does not give legal powers such that the statutory instrument may include provision for the billing authority to impose costs before it has obtained a court order, however, this is what regulation 34(5) provides:

"(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. "

This suggests that if the respective secretaries of state (England and Wales) had made the regulations within the powers conferred on them, regulation 34 would not have made provision that is included in paragraph (5).

THIS IS NOT THE ONLY REASON WHY THE STATUTORY INSTRUMENT MAY BE ULTRA VIRES

Additionally; sub-paragraph (3) of paragraph 3 to Schedule 4 of the 1992 Act confers powers on the relevant secretaries of state that the regulations may include provision that, where the sum payable is paid after the order has been applied for but before it is made, the magistrates’ court shall nonetheless make the order in respect of a sum in respect of the costs incurred in APPLYING for it.

The statutory instrument (Council Tax Regulations) with regards regulation 34(8) appears to have been enacted without the legal powers of the primary legislation. Regulation 34(8) is as follows:

"(8) Where the sum payable is paid after a liability order has been applied for under paragraph (2) but before it is made, the court shall nonetheless (if so requested by the billing authority) make the order in respect of a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the authority in MAKING THE APPLICATION. "

The primary legislation does not give legal powers such that the regulations may include provision that the court shall make the order in respect of a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the authority in "MAKING THE APPLICATION".

There is an important distinction in that the primary legislation provides for an order in respect of the costs incurred in "APPLYING" for it.

This means that if the respective secretaries of state had made the regulations within the powers conferred on them, regulation 34(8) would make provision for where the sum payable is paid after a liability order has been applied for but before it is made, the court shall nonetheless (if so requested by the charging authority) make the order in respect of a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the authority for issuing the summons.

Of importance is that this would essentially be a lesser sum than whatever sum is claimed to be an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the council in obtaining the order (Regulation 34(7)(b)).

You would therefore expect that the Council Tax legislation with regards regulation 34 to be more in line with Business Rates in Regulation 12 of the Non-Domestic rating (Collection and Enforcement) (Local lists) Regulations 1989.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Ellis, Paul, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to acknowledge your correspondence of 29th October 2014, in relation to request 3150-1213.

As no questions are raised in your correspondence, no further action will be taken in relation to it.

If you believe that your correspondence has not been handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, you have the right to request an internal review by the Council. Please be clear about which elements of the Council’s response or handling of the request you are unhappy with, and would like the Council to address during the internal review process. If following this you are still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me and I will make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Feedback Officer

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear Ellis, Paul,

As it is highly likely that the law is invalid under which NELC has used to enforce £millions from its residents since 1992 in Council Tax cases, I highly recommend that the issues raised in my correspondence are acted upon.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear Ellis, Paul,

Can I have your assurance that the council's legal department is, or will be looking into the points of law I have highlighted, particularly regarding the ultra vires statutory instrument it relies on to apply Magistrates' court costs to resident's council tax accounts without a court hearing taking place. I trust the council's Section 151 Officer and Monitoring officer would be engaged as required to oversee that the actions relevant to these matters are carried out within the law.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

North East Lincolnshire have responded previously to you request
confirming the legislation we acted in accordance with and how the summons
cost of £70 was calculated and verified.

 

Your latest correspondence relates to your own comments and points you
have raised in relation to this matter, and falls outside the scope of the
Freedom of Information Act, which provides a right of access to recorded
information held by a public body. Section 84 of the Act states that in
order for a request for information to be handled as a Freedom of
Information (FOI) request, it must be for recorded information. We will
therefore not be responding to your latest correspondence under the
Freedom of Information Act by virtue of section 84. If you remain
dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or the decision
of the internal review you can request an independent review by contacting
the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

We would again ask that you restrict your future Freedom of Information
requests to asking for the recorded information you require, and do not
include statements or comments setting out your opinions.

 

Please Note, it is not the responsibility of the Council’s Legal Services
to provide members of the public with legal advice. If you require legal
advice in relation to the points of law you have raised, you are at
liberty to instruct your own legal representation who will be able to look
into this matter for you.

 

If you have a complaint in relation to how the Council calculates or
applies costs, you have the right to make a complaint under the Council's
corporate feedback process. Information on how to do this can be found on
our website at

 

[1]http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council/the-co...

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council,

 

Paul Ellis

Team Manager - Information Governance and Data Protection

Informatics and Research

 

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Re, "If you have a complaint in relation to how the Council calculates or applies costs, you have the right to make a complaint under the Council's corporate feedback process. Information on how to do this can be found on our website at....."

North East Lincolnshire Council's complaint procedure is a sham. The council should be prosecuted for the amount of time it encourages aggrieved residents to waste.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Stuart left an annotation ()

Maxim in Law:

Equity does not recognise a penalty for non compliance.

Stuart left an annotation ()

Local Government Act 1888

Sec 79 Ss 2
(2)All duties and liabilities of the inhabitants of a county shall become and be duties and liabilities of the council of such county.

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

Besides hiring the Court rooms for the day they also have the fraudulent audacity to charge the defendant Court cost's!

Stuart left an annotation ()

Furthermore:
It is fraudulent to utilise community funds (Wages and Court cost's) to knowingly and wittingly enforce unlawful claims of pecuniary deception in order to obtain advantage. otherwise know as fraud.

Councils' and/or Indemnity bonds do not cover fraud, placing the perpetrators into the private and personally liable.

Supporting that is the following

Malfeasance in office - 7 years in Prison

Willful misconduct: for clarification :-

Misconduct in Public Office

Scope of the offence

Misconduct in public office is an offence at common law triable only on indictment. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. It is an offence confined to those who are public office holders and is committed when the office holder acts (or fails to act) in a way that constitutes a breach of the duties of that office.

Policy

The behaviour or the circumstances are such that they should nevertheless be treated as criminal;

Definition of the offence

The elements of the offence are summarised in Attorney General's Reference No 3 of 2003 [2004] EWCA Crim 868. The offence is committed when:
A public officer acting as such willfully neglects to perform his duty and/or willfully misconducts himself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder without reasonable excuse or justification

Case references.

and the tort of misfeasance in public office.

Recklessness, willful neglect and willful misconduct was to require:

i. "an actual intention to do the particular kind of harm that in fact was done; or

ii. recklessness as to whether such harm should occur or not (i.e. the accused has foreseen that the particular kind of harm might be done and yet has gone on to take the risk of it)." First, it is a salutary principle that conviction of serious crime should depend on proof not simply that the defendant caused (by act or omission) an injurious result to another but that his state of mind when so acting was culpable. This, after all, is the meaning of the familiar rule actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea. The most obviously culpable state of mind is no doubt an intention to cause the injurious result, but knowing disregard of an appreciated and unacceptable risk of causing an injurious result or a deliberate closing of the mind to such risk would be readily accepted as culpable also.

Misconduct in public office is a 'conduct' crime and not a 'results' crime; the crime is constituted by the misconduct itself rather than the result that follows from it. The prosecution need only show, it is submitted, that there has been misconduct by the defendant and he is indifferent as to whether the acts or omissions constituting the misconduct may have any consequences. This involves an element of culpability which is not restricted to corruption or dishonesty but which must be of such a degree that the misconduct impugned is calculated to injure public interest so as to call for condemnation and punishment.
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Ms Molly left an annotation ()

There is a goldmine of information here that could be used but the question is, will anyone use it. They have admitted to not calculating the summons cost. They have also admitted to charging for the entire team, regardless of whether they work solely on the summons side of things.

Get together with a group of like minded people and take action in the Court.

It is pointless doing these FoI's to uncover wrongdoing, if you're ot going to follow through when they expose the truth.

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Molly,

There are a few problems with the judicial system. You may probably have noticed that very few cases brought by a litigant in person (LIP) are ever successful. This may be down to the fact that the party against whom the LIP is contesting will probably have limitless access to public money to buy the best legal representation. It also may be a factor that if the Magistrates' court (which in a case like this may put a spanner in the works and prevent the case being brought before the High Court) get the slightest sense that a LIP may be successful and implicate the Magistrates' court, then it will go out of its way to put a spanner in the works.

The Chronology of events at ANNEX A gives an insight into the difficulties you have as a LIP accessing the courts.

Judicial Complaint

https://www.scribd.com/doc/238416776/Jud...

Ms Molly left an annotation ()

That link was bang on.

Drop us an email at: a50916ee@opayq.com

Maybe we can throw a few ideas around?

Helen Garvey left an annotation ()

Yep, I tried to take Rochdale Council straight to the High Cour, well stuck in the appropriate forms and the judge, HHJ Platts, would not allow it. Rochdale Council even hired barristers. That's where they waste OUR money. Completely corrupt are the council and its staff. Then again, we must remind ourselves that it is an ANTICHRIST world upon our shoulders, and the beast will always win. It's a shame because these people working for this system are so blinded. You can read the entire story on my blog here, including all court papers/complaints etc: https://bloodyhelldell.wordpress.com/201...

Becky Saunder (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

The Department for Communities and Local Government have stated something that might be relevant to this issue (see the FOI)

'Council Tax court costs without court involvement'

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

Particularly the attached letter dated 16 March 2015 and the paragraph below:

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

"Local authorities must be satisfied that what they propose is within their powers under the 1992 council tax regulations and the 1992 Local Government Finance Act. It is not the role of this Department to interpret legislation, as this is ultimately up to the courts."

So, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government, North East Lincolnshire Council are not only responsible for applying the council tax regulations lawfully but also the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

This message has been hidden. [Correspondence unrelated to FOI] Please contact us if you have any questions. If you are the requester, then you may sign in to view the message.

Stuart left an annotation ()

TAKE 'NOTICE': Notice to Principle is 'NOTICE' to Agent and 'NOTICE' to agent is 'NOTICE' to Agent.

I think the Council Public servants are under the gross misconception that their regulations apply to the people? They don't! They only apply to your in house staff and anybody else within that organisation (see above).

Furthermore when you were granted 'The Consent' by 'The Sovereign People' to manage 'The Estate-in-Trust', that didn't give you the right to manage The People or assume Authority over the Grantors of said "Trust" - Not that you can under Trust Law!

I further remind you that "The Law" give rise to legislation ( The colour of law agreed by "an opinion" of a body of Wo/Men. Not forgetting that Legal' means - To undo Gods Law, therefore validating yourselves being a party in attempting to deny peoples' faith (I am of my father and it is forbidden for me to stand under any other contract), by fraudulently attempting to obtain pecuniary deception by modification of contract fraud by conversion places you into the Private and personally liable for all claims, torts, losses and harm thereafter under Common 'Law' towards your victims as your indemnity Bond does not cover yourselves for fraud.

Please provide the first applicant to the above original request with your you proof of claim give the onus is upon the accusatory of the claim to provide the evidence. Until such proof is forthcoming you remain in a position of illegitimate locus standi without The Authority to enforce a carrot! See The re-instated Larceny Act 1916 - Depriving another of valuable considerations.

May I further remind you that their are "NO OFFICERS" except in the Armed Forces due the to insolvency of the Country. To claim otherwise would also be misrepresentation under The Fraud Act 2006.

Finally, lest us not forget that it is us THE PEOPLE that pay your wages and your pensions,no permission or right whatsoever was granted to utilise sophistry and subterfuge whilst you work for us!

S/He who is in breach of 'The Trust' must resign office!

Stuart left an annotation ()

Addendum correction to the above.

TAKE 'NOTICE': 'NOTICE' to Principle is 'NOTICE' to Agent and 'NOTICE' to Agent is 'NOTICE' to Principle.