council tax 'household' Liability, Enforcement & policy

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Lewisham Borough Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Lewisham Borough Council,

May I please have the following information or direction as to where it is available

1 -The procedure to update/amend council tax policies i;e changes put forward at a committee meeting? (which committee), A single person makes the decision, put to the public by way of survey/vote?

2- How Many 'household' summons for council tax was issued in 2016-2018
3- Of the above how many were on instalment plans prior to the summons
4- How many of those received Liability orders (per tax year 16/17 & 17/18)
5- Of the above (4)-agreed instalment plans prior to Enforcement Action
6- How many of (4) had direct deductions from benefits & no from wages
7- How many of (4) those were passed to bailiffs
8- No (6) how many were (a) before Enforcement returned the debt and (b) how many after

9- May I please have a detailed break down of all costs incurred by the authority in applying for being awarded liability orders,

10- How often are these figures presented to the magistrates to enable them to make the decision which justifies the conclusion that the costs that were claimed were incurred in connection with the issue of the summons or obtaining the liability order.? (a)when was the last time?

In 2016-18 What was the total figure in £'s & pence
a) £75 summons with no liability order obtained
b)£50 additional attracted costs upon being awarded Liability order
c)£.. .. income from Lewisham Enforcement in relation to Council Tax household

how many

Yours faithfully,

sam scanlon

Foi, Customer, Lewisham Borough Council

Dear Sam,

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000

Reference No: 1724266

Thank you for your recent request.

Your request is being considered and you will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days, subject to the application of any exemptions. Where consideration is being given to exemptions the 20 working day timescale may be extended to a period considered reasonable depending on the nature and circumstances of your request. In such cases you will be notified and, where possible, a revised time-scale will be indicated. In all cases we shall attempt to deal with your request at the earliest opportunity.

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of the information requested where the request exceeds the statutory limit or where disbursements exceed £10. In such cases you will be informed in writing and your request will be suspended until we receive payment from you or your request is modified and/or reduced.

Your request may require either full or partial transfer to another public authority. You will be informed if your request is transferred.

If we are unable to provide you with the information requested we will notify you of this together with the reason(s) why and details of how you may appeal (if appropriate).

Please note that the directorate team may contact you for further information where we believe that the request is not significantly clear for us to respond fully.


Kind regards
Corporate Complaints, Casework and Information Governance Team

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Rahman, Davina, Lewisham Borough Council

Dear Sam Scanlon
 
Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request for information held by London Borough of
Lewisham. I have included below a copy of your request, followed by the
Council’s response.
 
1 -The procedure to update/amend council tax policies i;e changes put
forward at a committee meeting? (which committee), A single person makes
the decision, put to the public by way of survey/vote?
 
In response, we can advise that any changes would go through Mayor and
Cabinet/Committee, or elected member authorisation where appropriate.
 
 
2- How Many 'household' summons for council tax was issued in 2016-2018
 
2016/2017 = 23,457
2017/2018 = 35,494
 
 
 
3- Of the above how many were on instalment plans prior to the summons
 
all accounts are on instalment plans prior to summons.
 
 
 
4- How many of those received Liability orders  (per tax year 16/17  &
17/18)
 
2016/2017 = 15,687
2017/2018 = 18,107
 
 
 
5- Of the above (4)-agreed instalment plans prior to Enforcement Action
 
All  accounts are on instalment plans prior to enforcement action.
 
2016/2017 = 6,144 (Arrangements Post Summons)
2017/2018 = 7,180 (Arrangements Post Summons)
 
 
 
6- How many of (4) had direct deductions  from benefits & no from wages
 
2016/2017 = 147
2017/2018 = 97
Attachment of Benefit
2016/2017 = 171
2017/2018 = 155
 
 
7- How many of (4) those were passed to bailiffs
 
2016/2017 = 15,928*
2017/2018 = 17,460*
* These include current and previous year referrals
 
 
8- No (6) how many were (a) before Enforcement returned the debt and (b)
how many after
 
We apply Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, ‘Exemption
where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit’, to Q8 above.
 
Section 12 states:
(1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a
request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of
complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.
(2) Subsection (1) does not exempt the public authority from its
obligation to comply with paragraph (a) of section 1(1) unless the
estimated cost of complying with that paragraph alone would exceed the
appropriate limit.
(3) In subsections (1) and (2) “the appropriate limit” means such amount
as may be prescribed, and different amounts may be prescribed in relation
to different cases.
(4) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that, in such
circumstances as may be prescribed, where two or more requests for
information are made to a public authority—
(a) by one person, or
(b) by different persons who appear to the public authority to be acting
in concert or in pursuance of a campaign,
the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to
be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them.
(5) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for the
purposes of this section as to the costs to be estimated and as to the
manner in which they are to be estimated.
 
This acts as a refusal notice. This information is not held in a readily
accessible format. It is estimated that the cost of locating, retrieving
and collating the information would cost in excess of £450 (the set limit)
and therefore exceeds the 'appropriate level' as stated in the Freedom of
Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004
([1]http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2004/uksi_20...).
 
Costs for staff time i.e. staff retrieving and collating information are
set at £25 per hour and this task would require us to spend more than 18
hours of staff time on preparing the relevant information. You are able to
make a payment so that this task could be undertaken. You may also modify
your request to reduce the cost of this task. Please contact us if you
wish to proceed with one of these options.
 
 
 
9- May I please have a detailed break down of all costs incurred by the
authority in applying for being awarded liability orders,
 
Cost of Collection for Council Tax - 2017 2018
 
 

Enforcement costs
55% of employees £1,039,500
80% of direct costs £1,495,200
80% of indirect costs £                  -
55% of overheads £620,235
Total Enforcement Costs £3,154,935
Summons Issued in 2017 2018 23,142
Summons cost (per summons) £136

 
 
 
 
10- How often are these figures presented to the magistrates to enable
them to make the decision which justifies the conclusion that the costs
that were claimed were incurred in connection with the issue of the
summons or obtaining the liability order.?  (a)when was the last time?
 
Our figures are presented to the Magistrate at every hearing.
(a) The last time was Friday 23rd November 2018.
 
 
 
 
In 2016-18 What was the total figure in £'s & pence
a) £75 summons with no liability order obtained
b)£50 additional attracted costs upon being awarded Liability order
 
2016/2017
Summons = 23,457
Liability Order = 15,687
Difference =7,770
 
2017/2018
Summons = 35,494
Liability Order = 18,107
Difference = 17,387
 
 
c)£.. ..  income from Lewisham Enforcement in relation to Council Tax
household
 
Regarding Question  c)  above, our Council Tax Team have advised that they
are not sure what kind of information is required here. Therefore, please
could you clarify exactly what type of information  you are seeking.
 
 
 
We hope you will find this information helpful.
 
You are free to use the information provided for your own purposes,
including any non-commercial research you are doing and for the purposes
of news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication,
requires the permission of the copyright holder. You may apply for
permission to re-use this information by submitting a request to
[2][email address]
 
You have a right of appeal against this response which you can exercise by
writing to: Information Governance – 1st floor Town Hall Chambers,
Catford, London. SE6 4RU. Or at: [3][email address]
 
This must be requested within 40 working days of the date of this
response.
 
If you remain dissatisfied after receiving this decision, you then also
have a further right of appeal, which you can make in writing, stating
your reasons to the regulating body, the Information Commissioner's
Office. Contact details:  [4]https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/ or 0303
123 1113 or Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Corporate Complaints and Information Governance
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Dear Rahman, Davina,

Thank you for your reply with regards to
'
c)£.. .. income from Lewisham Enforcement in relation to Council Tax
household

Regarding Question c) above, our Council Tax Team have advised that they are not sure what kind of information is required here. Therefore, please could you clarify exactly what type of information you are seeking.

I am asking what the council's profit revenue is from the enforcement team, Not including ANY services sold to out of the borough,.

May I also inquire
1 - 80% of direct costs £1,495,200 / 80% of indirect costs £ - / 55% of overheads £620,235
how the council has reached the two figures provided,
a) what do direct costs consist of?
b) is the - for indirect costs to mean there were no indirect costs?
c) and the overheads are made up from?

2- could you please tell me when the meeting was held regarding alteration to the council tax policy in November 2018 and a link to the council meeting minute in which it was discussed and decided

3- Just for clarification it is Lewiham's tatement that the Judge is given a full break down of the charge (BOTH the 75 for applying for proceedings and thde 50 to recieve the order ? as they are no longer it seems ent to reidents ) at the begining of EVERY Hearing ?

Thank you again for your time
Yours sincerely,

sam scanlon

Wisdom left an annotation ()

Thank you for making this request. It is very interesting to see how no one is able to challenge the making of a Liability Order despite the extraordinary powers of enforcement they give the Local Authority. This implies that the Magistrates assume that the process up to their rubber stamping a list of Liability Orders to be made is beyond challenge despite whatever evidence a defendant might present that they are not liable.