Ensuring customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship

The request was successful.

Dear Kirklees Borough Council,

A council taxpayer who owes more than just the current year's liability runs the risk of incurring additional recovery costs through a further application for a liability order if payments which are intended for the current year's liability are allocated by the council's computer to the previous year's liability. This would most likely happen where a non specific payment is made and the computer software is set to automatically allocate these payments to the oldest year's debt.

Councils computer systems have the necessary flexibility to be set to allow non specific payments to be allocated to the arrears or the current year's liability.

I understand that the majority of billing authorities have their computer software set to ensure that their customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship, i.e. so non specific payments are allocated to the current year's liability.

How does Kirklees Borough Council have its computer software set to deal with non specific payments. Current or oldest year's liability?

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Mr Worth

FoI 16029 - Ensuring customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship

I confirm receipt of your information request and that I am looking into this.

I will respond to you in due course.

Regards

Information Access Team
Legal, Governance & Monitoring
Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for Freedom of Information)

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

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Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Mr Worth

 

16029 - Ensuring customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action,
additional costs or hardship

 

I am writing in response to your request dated 5 October 2017.  This has
been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

You asked for the following information:

 

A council taxpayer who owes more than just the current year's liability
runs the risk of incurring additional recovery costs through a further
application for a liability order if payments which are intended for the
current year's liability are allocated by the council's computer to the
previous year's liability. This would most likely happen where a non
specific payment is made and the computer software is set to automatically
allocate these payments to the oldest year's debt.

 

Councils computer systems have the necessary flexibility to be set to
allow non specific payments to be allocated to the arrears or the current
year's liability.

 

I understand that the majority of billing authorities have their computer
software set to ensure that their customers are not subject to unnecessary
recovery action, additional costs or hardship, i.e. so non specific
payments are allocated to the current year's liability.

 

How does Kirklees Borough Council have its computer software set to deal
with non specific payments. Current or oldest year's liability?

 

The Council’s response is set out below:

 

Payments are set to the oldest debt if it does not match any of the
payment rules in the system.

 

If you are not content with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review.  Requests for internal reviews should
be submitted within 2 months of the date of receipt of the response to
your original request and should be addressed to the Monitoring Officer,
1st floor, Civic Centre 3, Market Street, Huddersfield HD1 2EY. 
Alternatively, you can send an email to:
[1][email address]. 

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of any review you have the right
under section 50 of the 2000 Act to apply to the Information Commissioner
for a decision as to whether your request for information has been dealt
with in accordance with the requirements of the Act.  The Information
Commissioner’s website is at [2]www.ico.org.uk and gives more information
about the role and duties of the Commissioner.  The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Access Team

Legal, Governance & Monitoring

Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for
Freedom of Information)

 

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it
in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and
do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council
monitors all emails sent or received.

 

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[4]Website | [5]News | [6]Email Updates | [7]Facebook | [8]Twitter

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received this
email in error – please notify the sender immediately, delete it from your
system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way.
Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/
3. http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/
4. https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/
5. http://www.kirkleestogether.co.uk/
6. http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/stayconnected
7. https://www.facebook.com/liveinkirklees
8. https://twitter.com/KirkleesCouncil

Dear Freedom Info,

Thank you for stating that 'payments are set to the oldest debt if it does not match any of the payment rules in the system'.

Would you please confirm whether or not any measures are in place to check that allocating an unmatched payment to the oldest debt in these circumstances would have the consequences of putting the current year's liability also in arrears, and if so, in accordance with R. v Miskin Lower Justices [1953] 1 Q.B. 533, whether the payment would be moved in respect of the current year's account to avoid unnecessary recovery action, additional costs etc.?

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Mr Worth

I confirm receipt of your information request and that I am looking into this.

I will respond to you in due course.

Regards

Information Access Team
Legal, Governance & Monitoring
Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for Freedom of Information)

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Mr Worth,

 

Further to your recent request for information relating to the above,
which has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

You asked :

 

‘Thank you for stating that 'payments are set to the oldest debt if it
does not match any of the payment rules in the system'.

 

Would you please confirm whether or not any measures are in place to check
that allocating an unmatched payment to the oldest debt in these
circumstances would have the consequences of putting the current year's
liability also in arrears, and if so, in accordance with R. v Miskin Lower
Justices [1953] 1 Q.B. 533, whether the payment would be moved in respect
of the current year's account to avoid unnecessary recovery action,
additional costs etc.?’

 

Please find the Council’s response below :

 

If the incorrect payment allocation came to light, as a result of internal
checks or by notification from the customer, the allocation would be
corrected and any recovery action or costs incurred reversed. We do some
manually checking of exceptions on a weekly basis and again if it appears,
the monies have been incorrectly allocated then this will be corrected and
appropriate remedial action taken.

 

If you are not content with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review.  Requests for internal reviews should
be submitted within 2 months of the date of receipt of the response to
your original request and should be addressed to the Monitoring Officer,
Civic Centre I, PO Box 1274, Huddersfield HD1 2WZ.  Alternatively, you can
send an email to: [email address]. 

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of any review you have the right
under section 50 of the 2000 Act to apply to the Information Commissioner
for a decision as to whether your request for information has been dealt
with in accordance with the requirements of the Act.  The Information
Commissioner’s website is at www.ico.org.uk and gives more information
about the role and duties of the Commissioner.  The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Access Team

The Democracy Service

Email: [email address]

Telephone: 01484 221000

 

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it
in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and
do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council
monitors all emails sent or received.

 

[1][IMG]

[2]Website | [3]News | [4]Email Updates | [5]Facebook | [6]Twitter

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received this
email in error – please notify the sender immediately, delete it from your
system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way.
Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/
2. https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/
3. http://www.kirkleestogether.co.uk/
4. http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/stayconnected
5. https://www.facebook.com/liveinkirklees
6. https://twitter.com/KirkleesCouncil

Dear Freedom Info,

Thank you for clarifying my query. I consider Kirklees Borough Council has provided the information I requested. The purpose of this exercise was to ascertain whether or not the principles surrounding the appropriation of payments were being adhered to.

R v Miskin Lower Justices (1953)

It was held in R v Miskin Lower Justices, that where an amount obviously relates to a specific liability, it would be an unwarranted assumption to allocate the payment elsewhere.

If no instruction is given at the time of payment, then the council has a duty to allocate payment to the account which it is most beneficial to the debtor to reduce. That would be in the majority of cases the current liability if the consequences of allocating payment to the arrears meant that the customer was subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs etc.

I understand by the council's response (see *note*) that there are measures in place to ensure that unspecified payments are allocated to the account which it is least burdensome for the debtor, and consequently the laws surrounding the appropriation of payments are being complied with. This effectively means that an unmatched payment allocated to the oldest debt (having the consequences of putting the current year's liability also in arrears) would be reallocated to the current year's liability on account of the circumstances implying that this was the debtor's intention (least burdensome for the debtor). If it appears I have misunderstood anything by what I have stated I would appreciate if you would correct me.

*Note*: "If the incorrect payment allocation came to light, as a result of internal checks or by notification from the customer, the allocation would be corrected and any recovery action or costs incurred reversed. We do some manually checking of exceptions on a weekly basis and again if it appears, the monies have been incorrectly allocated then this will be corrected and appropriate remedial action taken."

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Mr Worth,

I confirm receipt of your email below and that I am looking into this.

I will respond to you in due course.

Yours sincerely

Information Access Team
e: [email address]

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

show quoted sections

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Mr Worth,

Further to your email dated 7 November 2017.

We can confirm that you have understood the process correctly.

Yours sincerely

Information Access Team
e: [email address]

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom Info,

Thank you, I appreciate your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

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