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

The request was successful.

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

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

DPFOI, Leeds City Council

Dear Gwyn Worth,

Freedom of information request Ref 19680 : Ensuring customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action

Thank you for your request for the above information which we received 5, October 2017. We will respond to your request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

We have passed your request onto Saleem Aziz, Information Governance Officer, Resources & Housing, [email address] who will arrange a response within the appropriate statutory time limit.

Please remember to quote reference number FOI 19680 in any future communications.

Yours sincerely

Mr Adam O’Connell
Information Governance Assistant
Information Management & Governance
Digital and Information Service
Leeds City Council

0113 37 84251
www.leeds.gov.uk

IMG.CC.requests, Leeds City Council

Dear Gwyn Worth,

 

Freedom of Information Request (Ref: 19680)

 

I refer to the above and your request dated 5, October 2017. I have
contacted the relevant services and now provide a response to the
following request Ensuring customers are not subject to unnecessary
recovery action.

 

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

 

A significant number of accounts for the current year are collected by
Direct Debit, and should a non-specific payment be made in the
circumstances outline in your request an allocation to the current year
would reduce the next due amount to be collected by direct debit.
Therefore in the event of the payment allocation routine not making a
match the amount will be allocated to the oldest balance. However should
this subsequently lead to recovery action and additional costs and the
individual communicates their intention for it to go to the current year
this would be amended and any costs cancelled.

 

I trust that this response is satisfactory. If however you are
dissatisfied with this response you have a right to appeal to an
independent officer within Resources & Housing. They will re-examine your
request and assess whether we have adhered to the requirements of the act.
Should you wish to follow this course of action please address your
concerns in writing to Paul Burns, Resources & Housing, Information
Management and Governance, 3rd Floor, Leonardo, 2 Rossington Street, Leeds
LS2 8HD or by emailing [email address].

 

You also have a right under Section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act
to ask the Information Commissioner to decide whether we have met with our
obligations under the act.  The Commissioner has however made it clear
that he expects all applicants to exhaust internal appeals procedures
prior to making such an application. Should you wish to contact the
Commissioner’s office then you can write to the following address:

 

            Office of the Information Commissioner,

            Wycliffe House,

            Water Lane,

            Wilmslow,

            Cheshire,

            SK9 5AF.

 

You may also contact the Commissioner via his website at [1]www.ico.gov.uk

 

I trust that this is self-explanatory.  If you have any queries please
contact me on 0113 37 87891, or by return email.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Saleem Aziz

Information Governance Officer

t: 0113 37 87891

e: [2][email address]

e: [3][email address]

e: w: [4]www.leeds.gov.uk 

 

Information Governance, Digital and Information Service

Information is everyone’s business and responsibility.”

 

 

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References

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Dear IMG.CC.requests,

Thank you for stating that an unmatched amount will be allocated to the oldest balance.

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

IMG.CC.requests, Leeds City Council

Dear Gwyn Worth,

 

There are no specific measures in place purely for this purpose but upon
the issue being identified either through customer contact or other
internal checks the payment would be reallocated as initially intended,
with any consequential costs being cancelled and recovery withdrawn.

 

Kind regards

 

Saleem Aziz

Information Governance Officer

t: 0113 37 87891

e: [email address]

e: [email address]

e: w: www.leeds.gov.uk 

 

Information Governance, Digital and Information Service

Information is everyone’s business and responsibility.”

 

Dear IMG.CC.requests,

Re; "There are no specific measures in place purely for this purpose but upon the issue being identified either through customer contact or other internal checks the payment would be reallocated as initially intended, with any consequential costs being cancelled and recovery withdrawn".

In respect of your above response could you please clarify whether there is a cut off point after which the authority would refuse to withdraw the recovery and cancel the costs, for example after bailiffs have been instructed?

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

IMG.CC.requests, Leeds City Council

Dear Gwyn Worth,

 

There is no “cut off point” and would hope that any potential issues are
typically identified well before bailiffs have been instructed.

 

Kind regards

 

Saleem Aziz

Information Governance Officer

t: 0113 37 87891

e: [email address]

e: [email address]

e: w: www.leeds.gov.uk 

 

Information Governance, Digital and Information Service

Information is everyone’s business and responsibility.”

 

 

 

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