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

The request was successful.

Dear North Tyneside Metropolitan 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 North Tyneside Council have its computer software set to deal with non specific payments. Current or oldest year's liability?

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

FOI Officer, North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council

2 Attachments

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

 

In all further correspondence please quote our reference RFI 1710058. 
Thank you for your request for information. 

 

Your request was received on 16/10/2017 and the Council is dealing with it
under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 

 

As required by the legislation, the Council aims to answer your request
promptly, but no later than 20 working days after receipt. As stated in
the Information Commissioner’s guidance, Awareness Guidance 11 Time for
Compliance, the 20 working day clock starts the day after the Council
received the request. The due date has been calculated to be 13/11/17. 

 

If the information you have requested contains reference to a third party,
then they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or
not to release the information to you.

 

Very occasionally, fees may be payable for the supply of information under
the Freedom of Information Act.  This will be considered, and if fees are
payable in respect of this request the Council will contact you before
proceeding in order to be sure that you are happy to go ahead.  Any fees
that do apply must be paid before the information is processed and
released.

 

Please note that an anonymised copy of our response to your request may be
published in the Council’s Disclosure Log where appropriate.  This is a
record of responses to completed requests for information that the Council
has received and dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 from 6 July 2009 onwards.

 

The Council’s Disclosure Log is available online at the following address:

 

[1]http://www.northtyneside.gov.uk/foi-disc...

 

If you have any queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact
us.

 

 

Eilidh Cook

Information Officer

Information Governance

[2]North Tyneside Council.

 

Tel: (0191) 643 5363 / 2333

 

[3]Facebook[4]Twitter email 

 

[5]www.northtyneside.gov.uk 

 

 

From: Gwyn Worth [mailto:[FOI #438682 email]]
Sent: 14 October 2017 21:01
To: FOI Officer
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Ensuring customers are not
subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship
[Scanned]

 

Dear North Tyneside Metropolitan 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 North Tyneside Council have its computer software set to deal
with non specific payments. Current or oldest year's liability?

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[6][FOI #438682 email]

Is [7][North Tyneside Council request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council? If
so, please contact us using this form:
[8]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[9]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[10]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

FOI Officer, North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council

3 Attachments

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

 

In all further correspondence please quote our reference RFI 1710058. 

 

Your request for information under the above legislation has now been
considered. Please see response attached.

 

Please note that an anonymised copy of this response may be published in
our Disclosure Log where appropriate.

 

This is a record of responses to completed requests for information that
the Council has received and dealt with under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 from 6th July 2009
onwards. The Disclosure Log is available online at the following address:

 

[1]http://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/...

 

I trust that this information answers your request, but if you have any
further requests please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

If you are unhappy with the way the Council has handled your request, you
may ask for an internal review. Please contact the Information Governance
Team no later than 40 working days after the date of this letter, after
which time we will consider the matter closed.

 

Law and Governance

North Tyneside Council

Quadrant

The Silverlink North

Cobalt Business Park

North Tyneside

NE27 0BY

 

e-mail [2][North Tyneside Council request email]

 

Further information is also available from the Information Commissioner
at:

 

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

[3]www.ico.org.uk

 

 

 

Eilidh Cook

Information Officer

Information Governance

[4]North Tyneside Council.

 

Tel: (0191) 643 5363 / 2333

 

[5]Facebook[6]Twitter email 

 

[7]www.northtyneside.gov.uk 

 

 

From: Eilidh.Cook
Sent: 16 October 2017 09:36
To: Gwyn Worth
Cc: FOI Officer
Subject: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - REQUEST FOR INFORMATION RFI
1710058.

 

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

 

In all further correspondence please quote our reference RFI 1710058. 
Thank you for your request for information. 

 

Your request was received on 16/10/2017 and the Council is dealing with it
under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 

 

As required by the legislation, the Council aims to answer your request
promptly, but no later than 20 working days after receipt. As stated in
the Information Commissioner’s guidance, Awareness Guidance 11 Time for
Compliance, the 20 working day clock starts the day after the Council
received the request. The due date has been calculated to be 13/11/17. 

 

If the information you have requested contains reference to a third party,
then they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or
not to release the information to you.

 

Very occasionally, fees may be payable for the supply of information under
the Freedom of Information Act.  This will be considered, and if fees are
payable in respect of this request the Council will contact you before
proceeding in order to be sure that you are happy to go ahead.  Any fees
that do apply must be paid before the information is processed and
released.

 

Please note that an anonymised copy of our response to your request may be
published in the Council’s Disclosure Log where appropriate.  This is a
record of responses to completed requests for information that the Council
has received and dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 from 6 July 2009 onwards.

 

The Council’s Disclosure Log is available online at the following address:

 

[8]http://www.northtyneside.gov.uk/foi-disc...

 

If you have any queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact
us.

 

 

Eilidh Cook

Information Officer

Information Governance

[9]North Tyneside Council.

 

Tel: (0191) 643 5363 / 2333

 

[10]Facebook[11]Twitter email 

 

[12]www.northtyneside.gov.uk 

 

 

From: Gwyn Worth [[13]mailto:[FOI #438682 email]]
Sent: 14 October 2017 21:01
To: FOI Officer
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Ensuring customers are not
subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship
[Scanned]

 

Dear North Tyneside Metropolitan 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 North Tyneside Council have its computer software set to deal
with non specific payments. Current or oldest year's liability?

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[14][FOI #438682 email]

Is [15][North Tyneside Council request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council? If
so, please contact us using this form:
[16]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[17]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[18]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

Dear FOI Officer,

Thank you for stating that 'where a payment does not match an instalment or payment arrangement or an amount due on a specific recovery document it is allocated to the oldest debt outstanding'.

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

FOI Officer, North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council

2 Attachments

Dear Gwyn,

 

The service area have provided the following clarification following the
response to RFI 1710058:

 

            There are no specific measures in place to identify payment
allocations as this would require checking every payment the Authority
Receives on an individual basis. However, should any payment be identified
as being incorrectly allocated throughout the Recovery Procedure, then
this payment would be re-allocated accordingly and any Recovery Action
withdrawn or cancelled.

The assumption that allocating paying the way we do in itself would run
the risk of incurring additional costs is incorrect. The requestor
presumes that there is only unsummonsed debt in the current year, which is
not always the case. If the allocation for an unmatched payment was
changed to the current year a person having unsummonsed debt prior to the
current year would run exactly the same risk as being summonsed as in the
current situation.

 

Thanks

 

Eilidh

 

 

Eilidh Cook

Information Officer

Information Governance

[1]North Tyneside Council.

 

Tel: (0191) 643 5363 / 2333

 

[2]Facebook[3]Twitter email 

 

[4]www.northtyneside.gov.uk 

 

 

From: Gwyn Worth [mailto:[FOI #438682 email]]
Sent: 06 November 2017 15:47
To: FOI Officer
Subject: RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - REQUEST FOR INFORMATION RFI
1710058. [Scanned]

 

Dear FOI Officer,

Thank you for stating that 'where a payment does not match an instalment
or payment arrangement or an amount due on a specific recovery document it
is allocated to the oldest debt outstanding'.

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

show quoted sections

Dear FOI Officer,

Thank you for clarifying my query. I consider North Tyneside 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*: "....should any payment be identified as being incorrectly allocated throughout the Recovery Procedure, then this payment would be re-allocated accordingly and any Recovery Action withdrawn or cancelled."

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

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