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

The request was partially successful.

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

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Access to Information, Eastbourne Borough Council

Thank you for your information request received today.

 

I am currently reviewing your request and investigating whether there is
any information available for disclosure.  The council, in accordance with
Section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act (2000), will reply to your
request promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day
following the date of receipt.

 

Please contact me again if you require any assistance with your request
and I will do my best to provide the relevant help and advice.

 

Kind Regards

 

 

Information Governance Officer

Lewes District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council

 

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Access to Information, Eastbourne Borough Council

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Dear Ms Worth,

 

Information Request:  EFOI 5817

 

Thank you for your information request dated 23^rd October 2017 received
in our office on the same day.

 

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

 

I have reviewed your request and investigated whether there is any
information which can be disclosed to you.  Please find below the
information the council holds, and which I am pleased to provide to you.

 

If the amount paid does not match any instalment held it will be
automatically credited against the oldest year that has a debt
outstanding.

 

I trust that this deals with your enquiry to your satisfaction, but if you
feel that Eastbourne Borough Council has misunderstood or not responded
appropriately to your request, you have two courses of action:

 

o You can clarify the terms of your original request to allow this to be
looked at again  (if you expand your request this will be dealt with
as a new request)
o All applicants have a 'right of appeal'.  An appeal should be focused
on the original request and should identify how the council’s response
failed to answer your Information Request.  Appeals must be made in
writing (or e-mail) within 40 working days of receipt of this response
and addressed to the Information Governance Appeals Officer, to the
address below. 

 

Information Governance Appeals Officer

Lewes District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council

1 Grove Road

EASTBOURNE

BN21 4TW     

                                  

E-mail  : [1][email address]

 

After the council’s internal appeals procedure has been exhausted, a
further appeal about the same Information Request can be directed to the
Information Commissioner for adjudication.  Full details will be provided
should an appeal proceed to this stage.

 

Please note:

If you are considering re-using the information disclosed to you through
this request, for any purpose outside of what could be considered for
personal use, you are required under the Public Sector Re-use of
Information Regulations 2015 to make an Application for Re-use to the
organisation you have requested the information from.  Applications for
Re-Use should be directed to the address detailed in the footer below.

 

Please contact me again, quoting your reference number, if you require any
further assistance with your current request and I will do my best to
provide the relevant help and advice.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Kevin Rance
Information Governance Officer

Tel: +44(0)1273 471600

[email address]

Lewes and Eastbourne Legal Services acting on behalf of Lewes District
Council and Eastbourne Borough Council

 

Lewes District Council: Southover House, Southover Road, Lewes BN7 1AB 
[2]www.lewes.gov.uk. Minicom 01273 484488

Eastbourne Borough Council: 1 Grove Road, Eastbourne BN21 4TW 
[3]www.eastbourne.gov.uk. Text Relay 18001 01323 410000

 

[4]cid:image003.jpg@01D1E9A6.A42E8490

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References

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Dear Access to Information,

Thank you for stating that 'if the amount paid does not match any instalment held it will be automatically credited against the oldest year that has a 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

Dear Access to Information,

Will you please acknowledge receipt of my 16 November 2017 request/clarification.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Access to Information, Eastbourne Borough Council

Thank you for your information request received today.

 

I am currently reviewing your request and investigating whether there is
any information available for disclosure.  The council, in accordance with
Section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act (2000), will reply to your
request promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day
following the date of receipt.

 

Please contact me again if you require any assistance with your request
and I will do my best to provide the relevant help and advice.

 

Kind Regards

 

 

Information Governance Officer

Lewes District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council

 

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Access to Information,

Dear Ms Worth,

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you. I can confirm that your follow up question was received but it has 'slipped through the net' and I have not chased for a response.

I hope to have a response shortly.

Regards,

Kevin Rance
Information Governance Officer
Tel: +44(0)1273 471600
[email address]
Lewes and Eastbourne Legal Services acting on behalf of Lewes District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council

Lewes District Council: Southover House, Southover Road, Lewes BN7 1AB  www.lewes.gov.uk. Minicom 01273 484488 Eastbourne Borough Council: 1 Grove Road, Eastbourne BN21 4TW  www.eastbourne.gov.uk. Text Relay 18001 01323 410000

Save a tree… please do not print this email unless you really need to This email is confidential and for the exclusive use of the above named addressee(s) or an authorised agent. If you are not the intended recipient(s), you are prohibited from copying, distributing, disseminating, or in any other way using the content of this email. If you have received this email in error, please contact the sender using the contact details given above.
All our Network computers operate virus-scanning but we make no guarantee that any attachment to this email is free from computer viruses. You are advised to check all attachments using your own virus-scanning software before opening or executing them.
All written communications sent by and to Eastbourne Borough Council are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You should therefore be aware that this email or the information contained in it may be disclosed without notice to a third party making a request for information about the subject matter of this email.

show quoted sections

Dear Ms Worth,

In response to your follow up question I can report that the following applies -

Eastbourne Borough Council does not monitor this owing to the complexity involved in identifying individual accounts to which this would apply however we would move the credit at the customer's request.

Regards,

Kevin Rance
Information Governance Officer
Tel: +44(0)1273 471600
[email address]
Lewes and Eastbourne Legal Services acting on behalf of Lewes District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council

Lewes District Council: Southover House, Southover Road, Lewes BN7 1AB  www.lewes.gov.uk. Minicom 01273 484488 Eastbourne Borough Council: 1 Grove Road, Eastbourne BN21 4TW  www.eastbourne.gov.uk. Text Relay 18001 01323 410000

Save a tree… please do not print this email unless you really need to This email is confidential and for the exclusive use of the above named addressee(s) or an authorised agent. If you are not the intended recipient(s), you are prohibited from copying, distributing, disseminating, or in any other way using the content of this email. If you have received this email in error, please contact the sender using the contact details given above.
All our Network computers operate virus-scanning but we make no guarantee that any attachment to this email is free from computer viruses. You are advised to check all attachments using your own virus-scanning software before opening or executing them.
All written communications sent by and to Eastbourne Borough Council are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You should therefore be aware that this email or the information contained in it may be disclosed without notice to a third party making a request for information about the subject matter of this email.

show quoted sections

Dear foi,

Thank you for clarifying your response. I consider Eastbourne Borough Council has provided the information I requested, however, 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 being unable to confirm that there are measures in place to ensure that unspecified payments are allocated to the account which it is least burdensome for the debtor (other than on relying on customer contact) that the laws surrounding the appropriation of payments are not being complied with. If the laws of appropriation were being complied with, 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).

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Thank you for your information request received today.

 

I am currently reviewing your request and investigating whether there is
any information available for disclosure.  The council, in accordance with
Section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act (2000), will reply to your
request promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day
following the date of receipt.

 

Please contact me again if you require any assistance with your request
and I will do my best to provide the relevant help and advice.

 

Kind Regards

 

 

Information Governance Officer

Lewes District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council

show quoted sections

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