Council Tax 2015/2016..Liability Orders and Court Summons

The request was successful.

Dear Telford and Wrekin Council,

Please could you tell me the following.....

1.Cost of a Liability Order and Court Summons to the Council?
(before being issued to the public for council tax 2015/2016)

2.Could you supply a breakdown of them costs just before being issued to the public?
(complete breakdown)

3.How many Liability Orders for Council Tax 2015/2016 were issued?

4.How many Court Summons were issued for Council Tax 2015/2016?

5.As of 19th October 2016,who is the current C.E.O of Telford and Wrekin Council?

Yours faithfully,

Mr R Shenton

Telford and Wrekin Council

Dear Mr Shenton

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 Acknowledgement -TWC-43761

Thank you for your request for information received by us on 19 October
2016 asking for the following:

 

1.Cost of a Liability Order and Court Summons to the Council?

(before being issued to the public for council tax 2015/2016)

 

2.Could you supply a breakdown of them costs just before being issued to
the public?

(complete breakdown)

 

3.How many Liability Orders for Council Tax 2015/2016 were issued?

 

4.How many Court Summons were issued for Council Tax 2015/2016?

 

5.As of 19th October 2016,who is the current C.E.O of Telford and Wrekin
Council?

 

The Freedom of Information Act requires us to provide this information to
you within 20 working days of receiving your request. Therefore we will
aim to respond to you by the 16 November 2016

However, if the information you request is subject to an exemption which
prevents us from releasing it, as defined by the Act, we will issue you
with a Refusal Notice together with your rights of appeal.  

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In the meantime, if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact
us, quoting the above reference number.

 

Yours sincerely

Kelsey Robson

Information Governance

 

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Dear Telford and Wrekin Council,

Thank you for your speedy reply,i look forward to recieving the information

Yours faithfully,

Mr R Shenton

Telford and Wrekin Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Shenton

Freedom of information request Reference TWC-43761

 

Please find attached your response

 

Kind Regards

Information Governance

Audit,  Information Governance and Insurance Services

Finance, Audit & Information Governance

Telford & Wrekin Council

 

Telford & Wrekin Council, Audit & Information Governance, Darby House,
Lawn Central, Town Centre, Telford, TF3 4JA

 

e-mail: [Telford and Wrekin Council request email]

 

 

 

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Telford and Wrekin Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Shenton

Freedom of information request Reference TWC-43761

 

Please find attached your response

 

Kind Regards

Information Governance

Audit,  Information Governance and Insurance Services

Finance, Audit & Information Governance

Telford & Wrekin Council

 

Telford & Wrekin Council, Audit & Information Governance, Darby House,
Lawn Central, Town Centre, Telford, TF3 4JA

 

e-mail: [Telford and Wrekin Council request email]

 

 

 

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Dear Telford and Wrekin Council,

Many thanks for the reply and the great information,do you have the break down costs of 2015/2016?(or are they the same costs)

Yours faithfully,

Mr R Shenton

Freedom of Information, Telford and Wrekin Council

Morning Mr R Shenton,

I am emailing you regarding your email below, we can confirm that we do not have a cost breakdown of 2015/2016 because they are the same costs.

I hope this helps with your enquiry.

Kind regards

Kelsey

Miss Kelsey Robson
Audit, IG and Insurance Services
Governance, Procurement & Commissioning
Telford & Wrekin Council
Darby House,
Lawn Central,
Town Centre,
Telford, TF3 4JA

Telephone : 01952 382535
www.telford.gov.uk

For all latest Council news visit our newsroom; follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/telfordwrekinand Twitter at www.twitter.com/telfordwrekin

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Dear Freedom of Information,

Many thanks for helping me obtain the information.

Yours sincerely,

Mr R Shenton

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Looks very much like the council includes all expenditure attributed to recovery costs in a breakdown to support its summons/liability order court costs. By law it should only includes expenditure it incurs in connection with simply applying for and obtaining the court order.

Mr R Shenton left an annotation ()

Can you explain that further....and can you show me in law?

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

The relevant law is regulation 34 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/...

In the judgment of the case linked to below, i.e., R (Nicolson) v Tottenham Magistrates [2015] EWHC 1252 (Admin), general guidance was provided in respect of the type of expenditure billing authorities may lawfully recharge to defendants in the process of seeking Magistrates’ permission to enforce unpaid council tax.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admi...

Interestingly, the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV) offered a series of courses aimed at local authorities wanting to maximise their costs income whilst minimising their exposure to legal challenge. They were evidently triggered by the judgment in Nicolson v Tottenham Magistrates. The presentation slides accompanying one of the courses [ http://tinyurl.com/hg593kl ] imply what has been generally suspected which is that local authorities aim to cover the full budget for their recovery of Council Tax administration, see, as follows:

“ Council Tax

When calculating the costs – no account should be taken of anything as follows:

–Post LO

–General administration of Council Tax

–NO WAY NOW TO INCLUDE THE FULL COSTS OF THE RECOVERY SECTION !

Mr R Shenton left an annotation ()

Interesting....

So if a liability order is £70...as my local council says what should the real cost be?

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

The issue of a summons (instituting the complaint), is provided for separately (referable to regulation 34(5) of the Regulations) and so that expenditure must be limited to nothing exceeding the costs of issuing the summons. That process is typically completely automated. For example, parameters will be agreed in advance by the relevant manager and set in its Council Tax processing system relating to the number of days behind and the monetary value etc., and summonses are issued on this basis.

It is unlikely, in the case of the summons, that a council would be reasonably be able to support a sum exceeding a few quid, lets say £6 maximum. However, your local authority will strongly disagree.

Your council will probably argue that expenditure attributable to serving reminder and final notices (additional to summons) is considered rechargeable to defendants in respect of instituting the complaint under regulation 34(5) of the Regulations. I've seen representations somewhere that argue against those costs being permissible and will, if I can, provide a link.

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Representations arguing that the point from which expenditure becomes a justifiable cost is the stage in the process where the decision is taken to enforce (Regulation 34 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992).

https://www.scribd.com/document/32924208...

Adamna left an annotation ()

The original question was:
1.Cost of a Liability Order and Court Summons to the Council?
Only one figure has been offered, without clarifying when those alleged costs are applied.
I would agree that the cost of Reminders/Final Notices is contentious. Also, not every person summonsed will receive a Final Notice.
I note that they do not include the cost of insertion, whereas the Summons does. I interpret this as automated insertion into the envelopes, or perhaps it's a separate insert, though 5p would not seem a comparable amount.
25% on Recovery software is not only high, but it covers all recovery, not just the summons/liability order application. Similarly, the last two items are not applicable to costs incurred in the application for a summons/liability order. Again the whole recovery operation is being unlawfully subsidised by the inclusion of £57 in unrelated 'costs'.
It is unlikely that 2 members of staff are uniquely employed on IT for the issuance of a summons or the subsequent (automated) application for a liability order. Whilst the process is automated, it would defy logic to spend £54,246 on people to constantly oversee the automation, or £22,500 annually on 'software'.
It would be worth checking how the Complaints list is presented to the court - on paper or by email? Is there a piece of paper for each complaint, or is there a simple list of names/account no./amount due on a continuous sheet.
The costs have been uniquely divided between those summonsed; it may be that there is no cost applied for liability orders. If not, why not?
I would not accept this as a proper or lawful costs breakdown.
What the real cost should be is a conundrum worthy of Lewis Carroll, but I would concur with a poorly octopus being about right (£6).

Mr R Shenton left an annotation ()

Thank you for your kind informative information

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