Calculation of Bristol City Council's costs when applying for a liability order for non-payment of Council Tax
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From: Ben Sansum
2 April 2008
Dear Sir or Madam,
Please provide a breakdown of the different elements and/or actions
that make up the £97 listed as the councils costs on the Bristol
City Council Summons for non-payment of Council Tax. I have
searched the Councils website but cannot find this information.
From: Freedom of Information
Bristol City Council
2 April 2008
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From: Martin Smith
Bristol City Council
18 April 2008
Dear Mr Sansom
Freedom of information request dated 2 April 2008.
With regard to how the costs are made up I attach a breakdown of costs for the financial year 2007/08. The cost figure takes the percentage of staff involvement in the recovery of Council Tax from the summons stage onwards. This figure is assessed at 27.3% and is taken from our gross local taxation budget of £5.665 million to arrive at a cost of £1.55 million. The estimated number of summonses processed in the financial year is 16000 and this is divided into £1.55 million which equals £97.This figure is reviewed annually.
The costs applied to summonses, by Bristol City Council Local Taxation, is notified to the Clerk to the Justices of Bristol Magistrates Court on an annual basis and is circulated to the Magistrates. The Court and the Magistrates have accepted the level of costs at our Liability Order hearings.
The purpose of the calculation is to determine an amount reasonably incurred in obtaining a liability order for payment. There is no prescribed method on how these costs should be derived and the calculation attached is an estimate of such.
The calculation of staff time (27.3%) is intended to estimate the time involved in all summons related work to obtain a liability order. This does not include for example issue of bills or reminders and time taken on enforcement of payment after a court liability order has been obtained.
For your information the task areas that the costs will cover will include for example:-
· Extracting from the revenues database preliminary summons lists
· Checking the preliminary summons extract
· Cross checking to ensure that the selected accounts have no relevant outstanding work which
should prevent a summons issue
· Production of a final summons extract
· Production of a complaint list for the court
· Production & posting of a summons to the defaulter
· Producing copy summonses for court purposes
· Answering telephone calls resultant from the issue of a summons
· Answering letters resultant from the issue of a summons
· Attending Court and prosecuting defaulters on behalf of the City Council
· Updating defaulters accounts to record the actions taken / agreements reached
this is not an exhaustive list but illustrates some of the key processes that the costs are intended to cover.
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Local Tax Group Leader.
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