Councillors and Council Tax Arrears

Joanna Morris made this Freedom of Information request to Oxford City Council as part of a batch sent to 426 authorities

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 successful.

Hello,

I'm writing to you in the hope of obtaining information relating to the number of reminder letters and summons sent to elected councillors in your authority area since 2015/16.

I'd prefer to receive the information in Excel spreadsheet - xlsx or xls - format and if you cannot provide the information in full, I would like to request that you provide as much as you are able to within the cost and time limits of the Act.

If you need clarification or can suggest ways in which the request can be refined in order for it to be successful, I'd be grateful if you could contact me as soon as possible.

Please note that there is precedent for councillors to be named in relation to this issue - the High Court ruled in March 2015 that they should not have their identities protected when it comes to non-payment of council tax.

I'd like to know the following:

1. How many unpaid council tax reminders were sent to councillors elected in your authority between 2015/16 and 2017/18? Please break down by financial year?

2. How many councillors were summonsed to court or given summary warrants in the same period? Again, please break down by financial year.

3a. How many reminders were issued to the councillors named? Please break down by year.

3b. For each instance, please provide the name of each councillor, the party they represent or represented at the time and the amount of council tax owed according to sums requested in the letter. Please also provide the amount of council tax that remains outstanding.

3c. Please also state for each councillor, whether they were barred from voting on the council's budget as a result of their council tax arrears and whether any summons received resulted in a court hearing going ahead.

I'd be grateful if you could provide the information for questions 1 and 2 as totals for your authority and present the rest of the information within a spreadsheet with the following columns:

Financial Year - Authority Name - Councillor Name - Party - No of Reminders - No of Summons - Amount Owed According to Reminders - Court Hearing Y/N - Outcome of Hearing - Banned from Voting Y/N - Current Sum Outstanding

Yours faithfully,

Joanna Morris

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Ms Morris,

Thank you for your email. You will receive a response within 20 working days from the date of your request, as required under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Yours sincerely

Merilyn

Merilyn Davies | Freedom of Information and Complaints Officer| Law and Governance | Oxford City Council – Normal working hours Monday to Friday 09:30 – 14:30

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freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

 

Dear Ms Morris,

 

Further to the acknowledgement below, I can respond to your FOI request
received on 12th April 2019 as follows:

 

1. How many unpaid council tax reminders were sent to councillors elected
in your authority between 2015/16 and 2017/18? Please break down by
financial year?

 

2015/16 = 0

2016/17 = 0

2017/18 = 1

 

2. How many councillors were summonsed to court or given summary warrants
in the same period? Again, please break down by financial year.

 

2015/16 = 0

2016/17 = 0

2017/18 = 0

 

3a. How many reminders were issued to the councillors named? Please break
down by year.

 

3b. For each instance, please provide the name of each councillor, the
party they represent or represented at the time and the amount of council
tax owed according to sums requested in the letter.  Please also provide
the amount of council tax that remains outstanding.

 

3a-b.

Councillor Mohammed Altaf-Khan - Liberal Democrat - 1 Reminder issued for
£200.78 in 2017/18 financial year. This was not on the Councillor’s
personal residence for which he pays Council Tax by direct debit, rather
it was on a rental property he owns that is let through a managing agent
which has contractual responsibility for paying any non-tenant-paid costs
associated with the property, including Council Tax. The reminder was sent
to the Councillor after an administrative oversight by the managing agent
had left the Council Tax bill unpaid for a month between lettings. Upon
receipt of the reminder the Councillor prompted the managing agent to make
immediate payment. This was received by the Council and no recovery was
necessary.

 

3c. Please also state for each councillor, whether they were barred from
voting on the council's budget as a result of their council tax arrears
and whether any summons received resulted in a court hearing going ahead.

 

Not applicable

 

 

If you disagree with any part of the response to your request, you are
entitled to ask the Council for an internal review of the decision(s)
made.  You may do this by writing to the Monitoring Officer, by either
email – [1][email address] – or by post to Monitoring Officer,
Oxford City Council, St Aldate’s Chambers, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1DS. 
After the result of the internal review, if you remain dissatisfied, you
may ask the Information Commissioner to intervene on your behalf.  You may
do this by writing to the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe
Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Kathryn Winfield

Freedom of Information Officer 

 

Kathryn Winfield | Freedom of Informaton Officer | Oxford City Council |
Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS | Email:
[2][email address] | T: 01865 252007 My working days are Mondays,
Tuesdays and Wednesdays

 

 

 

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