Council Tax arrears pertaining to members of North East Lincolnshire Council

The authority would like to / has responded by post to this request.

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

I would be most grateful if the Council could provide a copy of the following information:

1. The names of all members who, within the past 5 years, had or are currently have Council Tax arrears/debts;

2. The total amount of Council Tax arrears/debts for each member;

3. The date of when the arrears/debts first arose for each member;

3. Whether the Council have commenced legal proceedings against those members, and if so, the date of the court hearings for each member;

4. Whether the legal proceedings against those members were successful, and if so, the amount of costs awarded by the Magistrates’ Court against each member; and

5. The action taken by the Council against each member following a successful conviction.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Webb

Becky Saunder (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

I would have suggested you stood no chance of obtaining this but for this.....

http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2016/n...

Res - Customer Services, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Webb

 

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been
allocated the reference number NEL/1730/1516.

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 on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Feedback Officer

 

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Colin Webb left an annotation ()

Hi Becky

Thanks for that. However, I was aware of Upper Tier Tribunal judge Kate Marcus QC's decision and hence my request.

I do hope North East Lincolnshire Council are indeed transparent and provide the requested information following the judge's decision.

Kind regards

Colin

Chris Osborne left an annotation ()

I am awaiting the outcome of this with interest, particularly in view of the recent judgement you mentioned. This resulted in Bolton councillors being named. My concern is that if there are any local councillors in arrears ( I believe there is at least one) is have they taken part in any budget debates or debates where council tax has been germaine to that debate. If they have then there is possibly a breech of Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 which makes it an offence for a councillor in council tax arrears (with at least two months unpaid bills) to vote at a meeting of the council, a committee or of the council’s executive where financial matters relating to council tax are being considered. It is also an offence if any such councillor present, who is aware of the arrears, fails to disclose that they are in arrears of council tax. If they haven't then no problem. Don't let them fob you off with 'purdah'. Good luck with the request.

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Webb

 

Thank you for your information request reference 1730_1516. I can confirm
that North East Lincolnshire Council publishes information in relation to
late payment of council tax by elected members on its website.

 

This information is available on our website through the following link:
[1]http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/councillors-an...

 

If you believe that your request for information 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

 

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fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Direct link to data:

"Council Tax Reminders For Elected Members (XLS)"

https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/wp-content/up...

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your response.

However, my request also states:

"5. The action taken by the Council against each member following a successful conviction."

Unfortunately, I am unable to find this information. Consequently, I would be most grateful if a copy of this information is provided forthwith.

If I have overlooked this information then please accept my apologies.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Webb

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Webb

Thank you for your correspondence in relaton to the response provided to your information request 1730/1617.

Column G (Enforcement) in the spreadsheet you were provided a link to, provides details of the action(s) taken by the Council in reference to question 5 of your request.

I trust that this now provides you with all the information you requested.

If you believe that your request for information 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

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Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your response.

Please clarify that no action was taken by the Council, with particular relevance to the Members Code of Conduct, following the convictions against the relevant councillors.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Webb

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Webb

 

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been
allocated the reference number NEL/1991/1617.

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]https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-infor....

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

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Feedback Officer

 

 

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Hollingsworth, Ian, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Webb

Thank you for your information request reference 1991_1516. I can confirm that North East Lincolnshire holds the following information.

At the time of your request we can confirm that no action had been taken by the Council regarding any breach of the Code of Conduct. Subsequent to your request, a referral has been made to the Standards and Adjudication Committee and the outcome of this referral will be made available upon conclusion of its consideration. The minutes of these meetings will be available through the following link: https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/meetings/

If you believe that your request for information 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

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Dear Mr Hollingsworth

Thank you for your response.

The role of the Council's Monitoring Officer is:

- to report on matters he/she believes are, or are likely to be illegal;
- responsible for matters relating to the conduct of Councillors; and
- responsible for the operation of the Council's Constitution.

I would be grateful if the Council could inform me of the following.

1. When and who, for example which Court Enforcement Officer or Court Enforcement Manager, reported the convictions to the Monitoring Officer for his/her attention (please provide copies of any relevant reports).

2. The precise reasons why the Monitoring Officer did not instigate any formal action against the relevant Councillors (please provide copies of any relevant reports).

Thank you for your cooperation and I look forward to hearing from the Council shortly.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Webb

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Webb

 

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been
allocated the reference number NEL/2096/1617.

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]https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-infor....

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

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Feedback Officer

 

 

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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Webb

 

Thank you for your information request, reference number NEL/2096/1617. I
wish to confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council holds the following
information:

 

1.      When and who, for example which Court Enforcement Officer or Court
Enforcement Manager, reported the convictions to the Monitoring Officer
for his/her attention (please provide copies of any relevant reports).

 

No Court Enforcement Officer or Court Enforcement Manager reported the
convictions nor the position on the Council Tax accounts of the members in
question at the point at which those accounts became out of order.  There
were ad hoc reports leading up to some budget setting Council meetings. 
Consequently the Council does not hold the information requested.

 

2.      The precise reasons why the Monitoring Officer did not instigate
any formal action against the relevant Councillors (please provide copies
of any relevant reports). 1.  When and who, for example which Court
Enforcement Officer or Court Enforcement Manager, reported the convictions
to the Monitoring Officer for his/her attention (please provide copies of
any relevant reports).  The precise reasons why the Monitoring Officer did
not instigate any formal action against the relevant Councillors (please
provide copies of any relevant reports).

 

It may be helpful if I explain that the Freedom of Information Act (2000)
gives individuals and organisations the right of access to all types of
recorded information held, at the time the request is received, by public
authorities such as North East Lincolnshire Council. 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.
For example, a Freedom of Information request would be for a copy of a
policy, rather than an explanation as to why we have that policy in place.
On occasion, North East Lincolnshire Council receives requests that do not
ask for recorded information, but ask more general questions about, for
example, a policy, opinion or a decision. In this instance I am satisfied
that your request falls outside of the scope of the Freedom of Information
Act as it is not a request for recorded information but is a request for a
reason why the Monitoring Officer did not instigate any formal action
against the relevant Councillors.  I can however confirm that a process
has been started in respect of referral to Standards and Adjudication
Panel which has already been made public.

 

If you believe that your request for information 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

 

 

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Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

Thank you for your response.

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 'Council Tax arrears pertaining to members of North East Lincolnshire Council'.

My request states:

"2. The precise reasons why the Monitoring Officer did not instigate any formal action against the relevant Councillors (please provide copies of any relevant reports)."

The Council's response to this particular part of my request states:

"It may be helpful if I explain that the Freedom of Information Act (2000) gives individuals and organisations the right of access to all types of recorded information held, at the time the request is received, by public authorities such as North East Lincolnshire Council. 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. For example, a Freedom of Information request would be for a copy of a policy, rather than an explanation as to why we have that policy in place. On occasion, North East Lincolnshire Council receives requests that do not ask for recorded information, but ask more general questions about, for example, a policy, opinion or a decision. In this instance I am satisfied that your request falls outside of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act as it is not a request for recorded information but is a request for a reason why the Monitoring Officer did not instigate any formal action against the relevant Councillors. I can however confirm that a process has been started in respect of referral to Standards and Adjudication Panel which has already been made public."

My request asks for the provision of copies of any relevant reports relating to the precise reasons why the Monitoring Officer did not instigate any formal action against the relevant Councillors. Therefore, this aspect of my request specifically refers to recorded information and consequently falls within the scope of the Freedom of Information Act.

Section 1(1)(a) of Freedom of Information Act requires a public authority to inform a requester whether it holds the information specified in the request. This is known as ‘the duty to confirm or deny’. In most cases, a public authority will be able to comply with its duty to confirm or deny under section 1(1)(a) – in other words, it will be able to respond to a request by at least informing the requester whether or not it holds the information.

As of result, the Council have failed in their duty to confirm or deny that they hold the information specified in this particular part of my request and I now ask for an internal review to be carried out to discover the exact reasons why North East Lincolnshire Council failed to comply with the law.

Additionally, I would be most grateful if the Council could provide me with the date of when the referral to the Standards and Adjudication Panel was made and complete copies of all of the relevant information surrounding this decision, including copies of any relevant reports, is provided to me.

Thank you for your cooperation.

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

Yours faithfully,

Colin Webb

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Webb

 

I am pleased to acknowledge your correspondence and wish to confirm that
an Internal Review of the handling of your Information Request
NEL/2096/1617 is to take place.

 

The Internal Review 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]https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-infor....

 

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

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

 

Feedback Officer

[2][North East Lincolnshire Council request email]

 

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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Webb

Further to your request an Internal Review has taken place into North East
Lincolnshire Council's handling of your information request NEL/2096/1617,
concerning council tax arrears pertaining to members of North East
Lincolnshire Council.

I have reviewed the response provided to you, and in respect of the
response provided to question 2 of your information request,  I can
confirm that there is no recorded information is held by North East
Lincolnshire Council in relation to this question.  Please accept my
sincere apologies that you were not informed of this in your initial
response.

I can confirm that the referral to the Standards and Adjudication
Committee was made verbally on 21st June 2016.  The referral will need to
be considered by the Standards Referrals Panel which is a sub-committee of
the Standards and Adjudication Committee.  Meetings of this Panel are
arranged as and when required and the Council is now in the process of
arranging a meeting to consider whether this referral should be the
subject of further investigation.  Please note we do not hold any recorded
information on the referral.

I trust that this Internal Review answers your queries in relation to your
request, and clarifies that your request has been handled in accordance
with the Freedom of Information Act. 

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

Feedback Officer

 

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Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your response.

Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 makes it an offence for a member in Council Tax arrears (with at least two months unpaid bills) to vote at a meeting of the Council, a committee or of the Council’s executive where financial matters relating to Council Tax are being considered. It is also an offence if any such member present, who is aware of the arrears, fails to disclose that they are in arrears of Council Tax.

I would be grateful if the Council could provide the names of any members, during the past 5 years, with at least two months unpaid Council Tax bills who voted at any meeting of the Council, a committee or of the Council’s executive where financial matters relating to Council Tax were being considered or if any such member present at the meeting, who was aware of their arrears, failed to disclose that they were in arrears of Council Tax.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Webb

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

NELC's 20 July 2016 response:

"I can confirm that the referral to the Standards and Adjudication Committee was made verbally on 21st June 2016. The referral will need to be considered by the Standards Referrals Panel which is a sub-committee of the Standards and Adjudication Committee. Meetings of this Panel are arranged as and when required and the Council is now in the process of arranging a meeting to consider whether this referral should be the subject of further investigation. Please note we do not hold any recorded information on the referral. "

It looks set for Wednesday 29 July 2016.
https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/meetings/cate...

Note: Following the link leads to the previous Standards Referral Panel meeting and associated documents (29 June 2016).

AGENDA
https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/wp-content/up...

MINUTES
https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/wp-content/up...

Colin Webb left an annotation ()

Hi fFaudwAtch UK

Many thanks for the information concerning the forthcoming meeting of the Standards Referrals Panel.

Kind regards

Colin Webb

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Hi Colin. You're welcome.

I must be looking in the wrong place (or not looking hard enough) ..... can't see Complaint (MO 03 2016) supposedly attached (paragraph 4, June 29th 2016 Agenda of Standards Referral Panel)

https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/wp-content/up...
" 4. Complaint – MO 03 2016 To consider the above complaint in accordance with the Local Standards arrangements arising from the Localism Act 2011 and as adopted by this Council on the 29th June 2012 (copy attached). "

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Webb

 

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been
allocated the reference number NEL/2556/1617.

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]https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-infor....

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

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Feedback Officer

 

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Colin Webb left an annotation ()

Hi fFaudwAtch UK

Redacted on the grounds of personal data?

Kind regards

Colin

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Webb,

 

Thank you for your information request, reference number NEL/2556/1617.

 

I wish to confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council holds the following
information:

 

During the past 5 years, we have no record of any Elected Member with at
least two months unpaid Council Tax bills who voted at any meeting of the
Council, a committee or of the Council’s executive where financial matters
relating to Council Tax were being considered

 

If you believe that your request for information 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

 

 

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Davo38 left an annotation ()

So councilors get 4 reminders before action the public get 0!! Reminder says this amount payable by date stated if not recieved no more reminders will be issued Payment options withdrawn full amount becomes due and court action with charges added!!! Typical !

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