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

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

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Rochford District Council

Thank you for emailing customer Services at Rochford District Council, we
are currently processing your enquiry.

If you need any further information you can visit our website at

[1]www.rochford.gov.uk

·        [2]I need planning advice

·        [3]I want to report a problem

·        [4]I want to apply for a council service

·        [5]I want to pay for a council service

·        [6]I need information on recycling

·        [7]Advice on the management of council owned trees and suspected
dangerous trees

·        [8]Information on Planning Policy

 

Our Vision at Rochford District Council is to create a better future
together.

This email (including any attachments) is intended only for the
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1. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/
2. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/advice
3. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/report
4. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/apply
5. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/payit
6. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/recycle
7. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/treeadvice
8. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/policy

Rochford District Council

2 Attachments

Dear Gwyn Worth

 

Thank you for your email. I have passed your email as a Freedom of
Information Request to Julie O’Brien, who will reply to your request
within the next 20 working days.

 

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact
Customer Services again.

 

Kind regards

 

Mrs Eleanor Chilcott, Customer Services Contact Advisor, Customer
Services,

Rochford District Council

www.[1]rochford.gov.uk,  t +44 (0) 1702 318111, ext. 3371

 

 

[2]Have Your Say Logo

 

 

[3]e-mail sig

Rochford District Council

2 Attachments

Dear Gwyn Worth,

 

Thank you for your request for information which has been dealt with under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 

 

To confirm, at Rochford District Council unless a customer is paying the
exact instalment for a current year, the payment will be allocated to the
arrears.  Each payment made to a customers account is checked
independently to ensure that the payment is allocated to the correct year.
 If we are unable to clarify how the customer wishes for the money to be
allocated then we will always contact them direct when necessary, trying
to avoid additional costs to the customer where ever possible.

 

I trust that you find the above information useful, but if you are unhappy
with the way in which your request for information has been dealt with,
you can request a review by writing to the Assistant Director of Legal
Services, Rochford District Council, South Street, Rochford SS4 1BW or
alternatively by email to [1][Rochford District Council request email].

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint,
then you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at The
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF [2]www.ico.org.uk.

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

 

Thanks and Regards

Julie

 

 

Julie O’Brien, Information Co-ordinator, Legal Services

Rochford District Council

[3][email address]

[4]www.rochford.gov.uk t + 44 (0) 1702 318 068, ext. 3704

 

[5]TellMeMore email signature

 

 

 

From: Customer Services
Sent: 30 October 2017 15:46
To: 'Gwyn Worth'
Cc: Julie O'Brien
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information request - Ensuring customers are not
subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship

 

Dear Gwyn Worth

 

Thank you for your email. I have passed your email as a Freedom of
Information Request to Julie O’Brien, who will reply to your request
within the next 20 working days.

 

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact
Customer Services again.

 

Kind regards

 

Mrs Eleanor Chilcott, Customer Services Contact Advisor, Customer
Services,

Rochford District Council

www.[6]rochford.gov.uk,  t +44 (0) 1702 318111, ext. 3371

 

 

[7]Have Your Say Logo

 

 

[8]e-mail sig

show quoted sections

Dear Rochford District Council,

Thank you for your response. I consider Rochford District 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 from what I have stated above please correct me.

*Note*: "Each payment made to a customers account is checked independently to ensure that the payment is allocated to the correct year. If we are unable to clarify how the customer wishes for the money to be allocated then we will always contact them direct when necessary, trying to avoid additional costs to the customer where ever possible."

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Rochford District Council

Thank you for emailing customer Services at Rochford District Council, we
are currently processing your enquiry.

If you need any further information you can visit our website at

[1]www.rochford.gov.uk

·        [2]I need planning advice

·        [3]I want to report a problem

·        [4]I want to apply for a council service

·        [5]I want to pay for a council service

·        [6]I need information on recycling

·        [7]Advice on the management of council owned trees and suspected
dangerous trees

·        [8]Information on Planning Policy

 

Our Vision at Rochford District Council is to create a better future
together.

This email (including any attachments) is intended only for the
recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged
information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used by any other
person unless express permission is given. If you are not a named
recipient, please contact the sender and delete the email from your
system. It is the recipient's responsibility to ensure that appropriate
measures are in place to check for software viruses.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/
2. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/advice
3. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/report
4. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/apply
5. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/payit
6. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/recycle
7. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/treeadvice
8. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/policy

Rochford District Council

1 Attachment

Thank you for your further reply Gwyn Worth,

 

To confirm:

o where the taxpayer specifies explicitly where the payment should be
allocated, the Council will follow that request
o Likewise where it is implied by either amount or any note from the
taxpayer, the Council will allocate accordingly;
o in all other cases the Council will either contact the taxpayer or
allocate the payment to other amounts outstanding normally in
chronological order which will assist in avoiding further enforcement
action

Regards

Julie

Julie O’Brien, Information Co-ordinator, Legal Services

Rochford District Council

[1][email address]

[2]www.rochford.gov.uk t + 44 (0) 1702 318 068, ext. 3704

 

[3]cid:image001.png@01D36CFB.EC7F6780

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Rochford District Council,

Re; "in all other cases the Council will either contact the taxpayer or allocate the payment to other amounts outstanding normally in chronological order which will assist in avoiding further enforcement action.

Do you mean reverse chronological order?

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Rochford District Council

Thank you for emailing customer Services at Rochford District Council, we
are currently processing your enquiry.

If you need any further information you can visit our website at

[1]www.rochford.gov.uk

·        [2]I need planning advice

·        [3]I want to report a problem

·        [4]I want to apply for a council service

·        [5]I want to pay for a council service

·        [6]I need information on recycling

·        [7]Advice on the management of council owned trees and suspected
dangerous trees

·        [8]Information on Planning Policy

 

Our Vision at Rochford District Council is to create a better future
together.

This email (including any attachments) is intended only for the
recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged
information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used by any other
person unless express permission is given. If you are not a named
recipient, please contact the sender and delete the email from your
system. It is the recipient's responsibility to ensure that appropriate
measures are in place to check for software viruses.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/
2. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/advice
3. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/report
4. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/apply
5. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/payit
6. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/recycle
7. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/treeadvice
8. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/policy

Rochford District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Gwyn,

 

Thank you for your follow email.

 

I have passed this onto the Council’s Freedom of Information Officer for
assistance with your enquiry.

 

Regards

 

Lynne Strawford, Information Officer – Civic Suite – Customer Services

Rochford District Council

[1]www.rochford.gov.uk, tel: +44 (0) 1268 798600 Ext.4021

 

[2]TellMeMore email signature

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Rochford District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Gwyn Worth,

 

Where we have used the term ‘chronological’ this is meaning; the order in
which the liability was incurred i.e. oldest first.

 

I trust that this clarifies accordingly for you.

 

Regards

Julie

 

Julie O’Brien, Information Co-ordinator, Legal Services

Rochford District Council

[1][email address]

[2]www.rochford.gov.uk t + 44 (0) 1702 318 068, ext. 3704

 

[3]TellMeMore email signature

 

From: Customer Services
Sent: 11 December 2017 10:40
To: 'Gwyn Worth'
Cc: FOI
Subject: RE: 7300-LS-RE: Freedom of Information request - Ensuring
customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs
or hardship

 

Dear Gwyn,

 

Thank you for your follow email.

 

I have passed this onto the Council’s Freedom of Information Officer for
assistance with your enquiry.

 

Regards

 

Lynne Strawford, Information Officer – Civic Suite – Customer Services

Rochford District Council

[4]www.rochford.gov.uk, tel: +44 (0) 1268 798600 Ext.4021

 

[5]TellMeMore email signature

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Rochford District Council,

Thank you for your reply.

I understood chronological order to mean the oldest first but queried whether this was a mistake and you meant reverse chronological order (in-year liability first). That would lessen the likelihood of the in-year liability falling in arrears and avoid additional unwarranted enforcement action.

The following opposes that idea:

"in all other cases the Council will either contact the taxpayer or allocate the payment to other amounts outstanding normally in chronological order which will assist in avoiding further enforcement action"

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Rochford District Council

Thank you for emailing customer Services at Rochford District Council, we
are currently processing your enquiry.

If you need any further information you can visit our website at

[1]www.rochford.gov.uk

·        [2]I need planning advice

·        [3]I want to report a problem

·        [4]I want to apply for a council service

·        [5]I want to pay for a council service

·        [6]I need information on recycling

·        [7]Advice on the management of council owned trees and suspected
dangerous trees

·        [8]Information on Planning Policy

 

Our Vision at Rochford District Council is to create a better future
together.

This email (including any attachments) is intended only for the
recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged
information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used by any other
person unless express permission is given. If you are not a named
recipient, please contact the sender and delete the email from your
system. It is the recipient's responsibility to ensure that appropriate
measures are in place to check for software viruses.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/
2. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/advice
3. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/report
4. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/apply
5. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/payit
6. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/recycle
7. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/treeadvice
8. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/policy

Dear Rochford District Council,

Will you please say whether you are going to deal with my 10 January 2018 request/clarification.

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Rochford District Council

Thank you for emailing customer Services at Rochford District Council, we
are currently processing your enquiry.

If you need any further information you can visit our website at

[1]www.rochford.gov.uk

·        [2]I need planning advice

·        [3]I want to report a problem

·        [4]I want to apply for a council service

·        [5]I want to pay for a council service

·        [6]I need information on recycling

·        [7]Advice on the management of council owned trees and suspected
dangerous trees

·        [8]Information on Planning Policy

 

Our Vision at Rochford District Council is to create a better future
together.

This email (including any attachments) is intended only for the
recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged
information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used by any other
person unless express permission is given. If you are not a named
recipient, please contact the sender and delete the email from your
system. It is the recipient's responsibility to ensure that appropriate
measures are in place to check for software viruses.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/
2. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/advice
3. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/report
4. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/apply
5. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/payit
6. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/recycle
7. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/treeadvice
8. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/policy

Rochford District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Gwyn,

 

Thank you for your follow on email. This has been passed on to our Freedom
of Information team.

 

Regards

 

Lynne Strawford, Information Officer – Civic Suite – Customer Services

Rochford District Council

[1]www.rochford.gov.uk, tel: +44 (0) 1268 798600 Ext.4021

 

[2]TellMeMore email signature

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Rochford District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Gwyn Worth,

 

Rochford District Council is satisfied that it has already provided you
with the information originally requested, per your initial request that
dates back to 30^th October 2017.  Subsequent clarification has also been
given following your further enquiries, and we do not now have any
additional information to offer.  To confirm, the following details have
been shared with you and do constitute as that which is correct and per
our records held:

 

22^nd November 2017

To confirm, at Rochford District Council unless a customer is paying
the exact instalment for a current year, the payment will be allocated to
the  arrears.  Each payment made to a customers account is
checked independently to ensure that the payment is allocated to the
correct year.  If we are unable to clarify how the customer wishes for the
money to be allocated then we will always contact them direct when
necessary, trying  to avoid additional costs to the customer where ever
possible.

 

7^th December 2017

To confirm:

o where the taxpayer specifies explicitly where the payment should be
allocated, the Council will follow that request
o Likewise where it is implied by either amount or any note from the
taxpayer, the Council will allocate accordingly;
o in all other cases the Council will either contact the taxpayer or
allocate the payment to other amounts outstanding normally in
chronological order which will assist in avoiding further enforcement
action

9^th January 2018

Where we have used the term ‘chronological’ this is meaning; the order in
which the liability was incurred i.e. oldest first.

 

 

I trust that you find the above information useful, but if you are unhappy
with the way in which your request for information has been dealt with,
you can request a review by writing to the Assistant Director of Legal
Services, Rochford District Council, South Street, Rochford SS4 1BW or
alternatively by email to [1][Rochford District Council request email].

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint,
then you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at The
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF [2]www.ico.org.uk.

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

 

Thanks and Regards

Julie

 

 

Julie O’Brien, Information Co-ordinator, Legal Services

Rochford District Council

[3][email address]

[4]www.rochford.gov.uk t + 44 (0) 1702 318 068, ext. 3704

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[5]TellMeMore email signature

 

From: Customer Services
Sent: 07 March 2018 12:02
To: '[FOI #441650 email]'
Cc: FOI
Subject: FW: 7300-LS-RE: Freedom of Information request - Ensuring
customers are not subject to unnecessary recovery action, additional costs
or hardship

 

Dear Gwyn,

 

Thank you for your follow on email. This has been passed on to our Freedom
of Information team.

 

Regards

 

Lynne Strawford, Information Officer – Civic Suite – Customer Services

Rochford District Council

[6]www.rochford.gov.uk, tel: +44 (0) 1268 798600 Ext.4021

 

[7]TellMeMore email signature

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Rochford District Council,

Thank you for your response. I consider Rochford District 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 dealt with in a way which causes the least burden for the debtor, and consequently the laws surrounding the appropriation of payments are being complied with. If it appears I have misunderstood anything from what I have stated I would appreciate if you would correct me.

*NOTE*: "....Each payment made to a customers account is checked independently to ensure that the payment is allocated to the correct year. If we are unable to clarify how the customer wishes for the money to be allocated then we will always contact them direct when necessary, trying to avoid additional costs to the customer where ever possible."

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Rochford District Council

Thank you for emailing customer Services at Rochford District Council, we
are currently processing your enquiry.

If you need any further information you can visit our website at

[1]www.rochford.gov.uk

·        [2]I need planning advice

·        [3]I want to report a problem

·        [4]I want to apply for a council service

·        [5]I want to pay for a council service

·        [6]I need information on recycling

·        [7]Advice on the management of council owned trees and suspected
dangerous trees

·        [8]Information on Planning Policy

 

Our Vision at Rochford District Council is to create a better future
together.

This email (including any attachments) is intended only for the
recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged
information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used by any other
person unless express permission is given. If you are not a named
recipient, please contact the sender and delete the email from your
system. It is the recipient's responsibility to ensure that appropriate
measures are in place to check for software viruses.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/
2. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/advice
3. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/report
4. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/apply
5. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/payit
6. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/recycle
7. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/treeadvice
8. https://www.rochford.gov.uk/policy

Rochford District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Gwyn,

 

Thank you for your follow on email.

 

I have passed this on to the Council’s Freedom of Information Officer and
a reply will be forthcoming as soon as possible.

 

Regards

 

Lynne Strawford, Information Officer – Civic Suite – Customer Services

Rochford District Council

[1]www.rochford.gov.uk, tel: +44 (0) 1268 798600 Ext.4021

 

[2]TellMeMore email signature

 

 

 

show quoted sections

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