Council Tax prosecutions – pre & post benefit reforms

Dan Stevens (Account suspended) made this Freedom of Information request to Haringey Borough 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.

Dan Stevens (Account suspended)

Dear Haringey Borough Council,

Please supply under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the
following:-

A) number of Council Tax Summons issued and Liability Orders granted broken down into each recovery cycle / application to the Magistrates court in the period from 1st April 2013 to date.

B) corresponding data but for 2012

Yours faithfully,

Dan Stevens

Shah Varsha, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Stevens

 

Freedom of Information / Environmental Information Regulations Request:
Reference LBH/2197813

 

I acknowledge your request for information received on 13 September 2013.

This information request will be dealt with in accordance with the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations and we
will send the response by 11 October 2013.

 

If you have any questions, please contact us on 020 8489 2550 or
[email address].

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Varsha Shah

Feedback Response Officer

Feedback & Information Governance | 020 8489 2550

 

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

CS Development Inbox, Haringey Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Stevens,

 

Please find attached the response to your request for information.

 

Apologies for the delay in responding.

 

Kind regards,

 

Melda Hassan

PA to Head of Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2845

[1][email address]

 

[2]www.haringey.gov.uk

[3]twitter.com/haringeycouncil

[4]www.facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

 

From: Shah Varsha
Sent: 16 September 2013 09:05
To: '[FOI #176662 email]'
Subject: Stevens : Freedom of Information request -Reference LBH/2197813

 

Dear Mr Stevens

 

Freedom of Information / Environmental Information Regulations Request:
Reference LBH/2197813

 

I acknowledge your request for information received on 13 September 2013.

This information request will be dealt with in accordance with the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations and we
will send the response by 11 October 2013.

 

If you have any questions, please contact us on 020 8489 2550 or
[5][email address].

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Varsha Shah

Feedback Response Officer

Feedback & Information Governance | 020 8489 2550

 

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dan Stevens (Account suspended)

Dear CS Development Inbox,

Thank you for your response.

I notice that the data supplied is not consistent from one year to the other.

For 2012/13 there are no figures for April and May whilst for 2013/14 both April and May have data provided.

Was this the actual situation, or is there a mistake in the presentation of the data?

Yours sincerely,

Dan Stevens

Broadbridge Maxine, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Stephens

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST LBH/2197813

 

Thank you for your e mail received on 14 November 2013 in which you
queried the following:

 

·         For 2012/13 there are no figures for April and May whilst for
2013/14 both April and May have data. Was this the actual situation, or is
there a mistake in the presentation of the data?

 

Your original request asked for the number of council tax summons issued
and liability orders granted broken down by each recovery
cycle/application to the Magistrates Court in the period from 1 April 2013
to date. Corresponding data but for 2012.

 

I can confirm that regrettably there was a mistake in the presentation of
the data as I failed to include the following detail

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Recovery cycle 2012/2013|Number of summons|Number of liability orders |
| |notices issued |granted |
|------------------------+-----------------+-----------------------------|
|4 April 2012 |176 |101 |
|------------------------+-----------------+-----------------------------|
|2 May 2012 |1,971 |1,299 |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

Please accept my sincere apologies for this oversight.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Maxine Broadbridge

Service Manager - Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services

 

Haringey Council

Alexandra House, 10 Station Road, Wood Green, N22 7TR

 

T.020 8489 3549

[email address]

 

www.haringey.gov.uk

twitter@haringeycouncil

facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

Please consider the environment before printing this e mail

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential, may be
subject to legal privilege and are intended only for the person(s) or
organisation(s) to whom this email is addressed. Any unauthorised use,
retention, distribution, copying or disclosure is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this email in error, please notify the system
administrator at Haringey Council immediately and delete this e-mail from
your system. Although this e-mail and any attachments are believed to be
free of any virus or other defect which might affect any computer or
system into which they are received and opened, it is the responsibility
of the recipient to ensure they are virus free and no responsibility is
accepted for any loss or damage from receipt or use thereof. All
communications sent to or from external third party organisations may be
subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with relevant
legislation.
______________________________________________________________________
This email has been scanned by the Symantec Email Security.cloud service.
For more information please visit http://www.symanteccloud.com
______________________________________________________________________

Dan Stevens (Account suspended)

Dear Ms Broadbridge,

Thank you for responding to this request. The figures highlight the effects recent benefit reforms have had on the ability for householders to pay their council tax liability.

A comparison between 2012 and 2013 of the months May to September indicates that the number of summonses issued in 2013 (after the effect of reforms) increased on average by around 33%.

In 2012, Haringey Borough Council raised standard costs of £125 for each application to the Magistrates' court for a summons.

This suggests that for May to September 2012, costs raised through issuing summonses (12,574) would have been £1,571,750 (12,574 x £125).

Any employee working as part of a council's revenues & benefits team knows that the principle factor determining the level of summons costs imposed on each individual (costs reasonably incurred by the authority) is dependent on the number of defendants between which the total cost is split. In other words, the summons cost per individual must decrease in a proportional amount to an increase in applications to the court.

Now for May to September 2013, the number of summons issued was 16,737. The cost incurred by the council for this period is £1,571,750 (implied by costs raised for the same period in 2012).

A simple calculation using the figures available indicates that the costs claimed per individual should be around £94 (£1,571,750 divided by 16,737), the higher figure of 16,737 being due to the effects of benefit reforms.

There is a small adjustment which needs making to that figure for costs attributable to an increased number of applications. Those being the Magistrates court fees of £3 for each application to the court and postage costs etc for serving the summons.

– Increased number of summonses = 4,163

– 4,163 x £4 = £16,652

– £1,571,750 + £16,652 = £1,588,402

divided by 16,737 (the increased number of defendants) = £94.90

The cost estimated at £94 post benefit reform would with the fixed costs included make that figure in the region of £95.

Has Haringey Borough Council reviewed the standard level it claims for costs from Enfield and Haringey Magistrates Court to reflect the new levels of applications?

If not has Enfield and Haringey Magistrates Court made any adjustment to the level of costs it awards Haringey Borough Council in respect of costs?

Yours sincerely,

Dan Stevens

Dan Stevens (Account suspended)

Dear Ms Broadbridge,

Will you please acknowledge my email sent 24 November 2013.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Stevens

Broadbridge Maxine, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Stevens

Thank you for your e mails.

Please accept my apologies for not responding earlier.

I have noted your comments and can confirm that we review our costs annually and consider the various impacts when doing so.

Yours sincerely

Mrs M A Broadbridge
For head of Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services

show quoted sections

Enid Brighton (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

"we review our costs annually and consider the various impacts when doing so."

Haringey still applies £125, so it obviously hasn't considered the impacts of increased volume of summonses caused by the introduction of the benefit reforms.

Interestingly, Haringey council used to apply costs in accordance with the regulations; initially at a lesser sum than the total in respect of the summons and a further sum on being granted the liability order.

For example in 2006/07 the summons only made up 67% of the overall costs with the liability order cost representing 33% of the total with the split being £60 and £30.

Apparently, the council decided it would no longer carry out the procedure in accordance with law a couple of years later where it replaced the two stage system with a single charge of £95 applied at the summons stage, presumably with the intention to raise additional income.

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

It has of course rocketed since and is £125