We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Gwyn Worth please sign in and let everyone know.

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

We're waiting for Gwyn Worth to read recent responses and update the status.

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

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

FOI Team, Peterborough City Council

Dear Gwyn Worth 
This is a courtesy email to let you know your Public Information
Request has been received on : 02/11/2017. 
Your unique reference number is "CRN1711341288 ". Please keep this
number safe, as you may be required to provide it in the future. 
Regards,
Customer Service Team

"FOI Team" <foi@peterborough.gov.uk>, Peterborough City Council

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST  CRN1711341288     

 

Dear Sir / Madam,

 

Your request for information, with reference number CRN1711341288 has
now been considered and the information requested is given below.

Information Request: 
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 Peterborough City Council have its computer software set to
deal with non specific payments. Current or oldest year's liability?

        

Our Response:

Response

The Council's computer systems are set up to allocate payments to the
oldest bill first if a non-specific payment is made.  Where this
occurs it can be moved if a customer subsequently contacts the
Council Tax team to discuss their intentions. 

Consideration will be given to removal of any costs/reminders if they
have been issued incorrectly.

 

 

       

Re-use of information

You may re-use any documents supplied for your own use, including for
non-commercial research purposes. The documents may also be used for
news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for example by
publishing the documents or issuing copies to the public will require
the permission of the copyright owner, where copyright exists.  Such
a request would be considered separately in accordance with the
relevant Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 and is
not automatic.  Therefore no permission is implied in the re-use of
these documents, until such a request for re-use has been made and
agreed, subject to any appropriate conditions. 

 

You may re-use any dataset included in this response (excluding
logos) free of charge, in any format or medium, under the terms of
the Open Government Licence v2.0. To view this licence, visit
the [1]National Archives website or
email [2][email address].  Where we have identified
any third-party copyright information, you will need to obtain
permission from the copyright holders concerned.  Users reproducing
Peterborough City Council content without adaptation should include a
source accreditation to Peterborough City Council: Source:
Peterborough City Council licensed under the Open Government Licence
v.2.0.  Users reproducing content which is adapted should include a
source accreditation to Peterborough City Council: Adapted from data
from Peterborough City Council licensed under the Open Government
Licence v.2.0.

 

If you have any queries or concerns then please do not hesitate to
contact me.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request please
contact the Information Specialist, Peterborough City Council, Town
Hall, Bridge Street, Peterborough, PE1 1HG; Telephone: 01733 452533,
e-mail: [3][Peterborough City Council request email]

 

You can also complain to the Information Commissioner at:

            The Information Commissioner's Office

            Wycliffe House, Water lane

            Wilmslow, Cheshire

            SK9 5AF

            Tel: 01625 545700

[4]http://www.ico.org.uk/

 

Yours faithfully

 

Tracey Wright

Information Specialist

Peterborough City Council

Town Hall

Peterborough

PE1 1HG

 

foi[5]@peterborough.gov.uk

Telephone 01733 452533

ref:_00Db0eVBc._500b01JTmHj:ref

show quoted sections

Dear &quot;FOI Team&quot; &lt;[email address]&gt;,

Thank you for your response. I consider Peterborough City 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 indicating that there are no measures in place to ensure that unspecified payments are allocated to the account which it is least burdensome for the debtor (other than 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).

If it appears I have misunderstood anything from what I have stated above I would appreciate if you would correct me.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Peterborough City Council

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST –  FOI 1711341288 Supplementary Query

 

Dear Gwyn,

 

I am writing in response to your recent email whereby you submitted a
supplementary query.  

 

Your request for information has now been considered and the response is
shown below:

 

Original Request and Response

[1]https://pcc.secure.force.com/SitePublish...

 

Supplementary request

 

Thank you for your response. I consider Peterborough City 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 indicating that there are no measures in place
to ensure that unspecified payments are allocated to the account which it
is least burdensome for the debtor (other than 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).

If it appears I have misunderstood anything from what I have stated above
I would appreciate if you would correct me.

 

Response

Where the value of a payment received equals that of an instalment/amount
owing the payment will be credited to the relevant matching amount
regardless of what year that bill relates to.  This is in accordance with
the precedence sent in the case of R v Miskin Lower Justices 1953

Where no instructions are received from the customer and the amount paid
does not equal a specific instalment or outstanding bill the amount can be
allocated as the creditor (in this case the Council) deems fit.  The
authority for this is the case of Peter v Anderson 1814.  Peterborough
City Council will normally allocate payments to the oldest debt first in
these cases.  This is for similar reasons outlined by the requestor, to
seek to ensure oldest debts are paid in a timely manner and prevent
escalation and additional costs being incurred.

We have no written policy.

 

If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to
contact me.

___________________________________________________________________    

 

Re-use of information

You may re-use any documents supplied for your own use, including for
non-commercial research purposes. The documents may also be used for news
reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for example by publishing
the documents or issuing copies to the public will require the permission
of the copyright owner, where copyright exists.  Such a request would be
considered separately in accordance with the relevant Re-use of Public
Sector Information Regulations 2015 and is not automatic.  Therefore no
permission is implied in the re-use of these documents, until such a
request for re-use has been made and agreed, subject to any appropriate
conditions. 

 

You may re-use any dataset included in this response (excluding logos)
free of charge, in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open
Government Licence v2.0. To view this licence, visit the [2]National
Archives website or email [3][email address].  Where we
have identified any third-party copyright information, you will need to
obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.  Users reproducing
Peterborough City Council content without adaptation should include a
source accreditation to Peterborough City Council: Source: Peterborough
City Council licensed under the Open Government Licence v.2.0. Users
reproducing content which is adapted should include a source accreditation
to Peterborough City Council: Adapted from data from Peterborough City
Council licensed under the Open Government Licence v.2.0.

 

If you have any queries or concerns then please do not hesitate to
contactme.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request please contact
the Information Specialist, Peterborough City Council, Town Hall, Bridge
Street, Peterborough, PE1 1HG; Telephone: 01733 452533,
e-mail: [4][Peterborough City Council request email]

 

You can also complain to the Information Commissioner at:

 

            The Information Commissioner's Office

            Wycliffe House, Water lane

            Wilmslow, Cheshire

            SK9 5AF

 

            Tel: 01625 545700

[5]http://www.ico.org.uk/

 

 

 

Yours sincerely  

 

FOI TEAM
Information Governance
Peterborough City Council
Town Hall
Bridge Street
Peterborough
PE1 1HQ
Contact details:
Kevin Taylor, Access to Information Officer - 01733 452576
Rachel Pierre, Access to Information Officer - 01733 454482 (Tues-Thurs)
Tracey Wright, Information Manager - 01733 452533
Ben Stevenson, Compliance Manager on 01733 452387 (non-working day Wed)
Emma Doran, 
​​Business Support Officer - 01733 453571
Email: [6]f[7][email address
To find out more about Peterborough City Council please go to
[8]www.peterborough.gov.uk. 
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

Thank you for your response.

Peterborough City Council relies on the case of "Peter v Anderson 1814" for entitlement to elect which account payment is allocated to, where a customer has arrears as well as his in-year liability. To assert the authority, the following is cited:

"Where no instructions are received from the customer and the amount paid does not equal a specific instalment or outstanding bill the amount can be allocated as the creditor (in this case the Council) deems fit."

However, the authority from the "Peter v Anderson" case is as follows:

"A person who is indebted to another on two several accounts, may, on paying him money, ascribe it to which account he pleases.–And his election may either be expressed, –Or may be inferred from the circumstances of the transaction. –But if the payer does not pay specifically on one account, the receiver may afterwards appropriate the payment to the discharge of either of the accounts that he pleases."

The above affirms that the inference from the circumstances of a transaction can be just as valid as an election by the debtor to pay specifically on one of several accounts as if his election were expressed. It is therefore self-evident that in the case of Council Tax liability (where one account is more onerous for the debtor than another) that an unmatched payment must be carried to that account which it is most beneficial to the debtor to reduce. It follows that a debtor who would be caused the additional burden from recovery action being taken in respect of his in-year liability as a consequence of payment being appropriated to his arrears, would clearly intend that his payment be appropriated to his in-year liability to avoid unnecessary additional costs etc. Evidence of an intent to appropriate would be provided in those particular circumstances to be an election to pay specifically on the current year's liability.

The judgment in the case of Peter v Anderson considers different circumstance which could indicate evidence of an intent to appropriate where an election has not been expressed. Where the allocation to one account instead of another would prevent an unnecessary burden (as exampled above) is considered to be circumstances that would infer that the money was paid in application to a particular debt. Also highlighted in the judgment are the circumstances attributable to a debtor's payment pattern which would provide evidence of an intent to appropriate payment to a particular debt. If a pattern had emerged of a customer's payment being made and accepted as credited to a particular debt then it would be inferred from the nature of the transaction even if not expressed at the time by the customer that he intended to ascribe it to that account.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Peterborough City Council

Please note that Peterborough City Council will be closed from midday on
Friday 22 December 2017 until Tuesday 2 January 2018.
Any emails received during this period will be actioned upon our return. 

--
FOI TEAM
Information Governance
Peterborough City Council
Town Hall
Bridge Street
Peterborough
PE1 1HQ
Contact details:
Kevin Taylor, Access to Information Officer - 01733 452576
Rachel Pierre, Access to Information Officer - 01733 454482 (Tues-Thurs)
Tracey Wright, Information Manager - 01733 452533
Ben Stevenson, Compliance Manager on 01733 452387 (non-working day Wed)
Emma Doran, 
​​Business Support Officer - 01733 453571
Email: [1]f[2][email address
To find out more about Peterborough City Council please go to
[3]www.peterborough.gov.uk. 
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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Freedom of Information Mailbox, Peterborough City Council

Dear Gwyn,
Thank you for your email dated 26th December 2017. We are sorry for the
delay in answering but the Council had a Christmas shutdown and today is
the first day back.
We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge your response and
confirm we will respond to any other FOI queries you submit.
Kind regards
FOI TEAM
Information Governance
Peterborough City Council
Town Hall
Bridge Street
Peterborough
PE1 1HQ
Contact details:
Kevin Taylor, Access to Information Officer - 01733 452576
Rachel Pierre, Access to Information Officer - 01733 454482 (Tues-Thurs)
Tracey Wright, Information Manager - 01733 452533
Ben Stevenson, Compliance Manager on 01733 452387 (non-working day Wed)
Emma Doran, 
​​Business Support Officer - 01733 453571
Email: [1]f[2][email address
To find out more about Peterborough City Council please go to
[3]www.peterborough.gov.uk. 
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

Will you please say whether my 26 December 2017 request/clarification is going to be dealt with.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Peterborough City Council

1 Attachment

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST – FOI 1711341288 Supplementary Query

 

Dear Gwyn Worth,

 

I am writing further to your email dated 6 March 2018, in which you are
asking whether your email dated  26^th December 2017 was going to be dealt
with.

 

A search of our records show that a response was emailed to you on the
2 January 2018. A copy of our response is attached for your reference. We
could not find any specific questions contained within your email dated
26 December 2017 hence our acknowledgement to you and confirmation that we
would be happy to respond to any further FOI questions you wish to
submit. 

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request please contact
the Information Manager, Peterborough City Council, Town Hall, Bridge
Street, Peterborough, PE1 1HG; Telephone: 01733 452533,
e-mail: [1][Peterborough City Council request email]

 

You can also complain to the Information Commissioner at:

 

            The Information Commissioner's Office

            Wycliffe House, Water lane

            Wilmslow, Cheshire

            SK9 5AF

 

            Tel: 01625 545700

[2]http://www.ico.org.uk/

 

 

 

Yours sincerely  

 

FOI TEAM
Information Governance
Peterborough City Council
Town Hall
Bridge Street
Peterborough
PE1 1HQ
Contact details:
Kevin Taylor, Access to Information Officer - 01733 452576
Rachel Pierre, Access to Information Officer - 01733 454482 (Tues-Thurs)
Sadaf Abdullah, Access to Records Officer - 01733 864668
Tracey Wright, Information Manager - 01733 452533
Ben Stevenson, Compliance Manager on 01733 452387 (non-working day Wed)
Emma Doran, 
​​Business Support Officer - 01733 453571
Email: [3]f[4][email address
To find out more about Peterborough City Council please go to
[5]www.peterborough.gov.uk. 
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

show quoted sections

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http://www.ico.org.uk/
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5. http://www.peterborough.gov.uk/
6. http://www.peterborough.gov.uk/emaildisc...

Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

Thank you for your response.

Peterborough City Council relies on the case of "Peter v Anderson 1814" for entitlement to elect which account payment is allocated to, where a customer has arrears as well as his in-year liability. To assert the authority, the following is cited:

"Where no instructions are received from the customer and the amount paid does not equal a specific instalment or outstanding bill the amount can be allocated as the creditor (in this case the Council) deems fit."

However, the authority from the "Peter v Anderson" case is as follows:

"A person who is indebted to another on two several accounts, may, on paying him money, ascribe it to which account he pleases.–And his election may either be expressed, –Or may be inferred from the circumstances of the transaction. –But if the payer does not pay specifically on one account, the receiver may afterwards appropriate the payment to the discharge of either of the accounts that he pleases."

The above affirms that the inference from the circumstances of a transaction can be just as valid as an election by the debtor to pay specifically on one of several accounts as if his election were expressed. It is therefore self-evident that in the case of Council Tax liability (where one account is more onerous for the debtor than another) that an unmatched payment must be carried to that account which it is most beneficial to the debtor to reduce. It follows that a debtor who would be caused the additional burden from recovery action being taken in respect of his in-year liability as a consequence of payment being appropriated to his arrears, would clearly intend that his payment be appropriated to his in-year liability to avoid unnecessary additional costs etc. Evidence of an intent to appropriate would be provided in those particular circumstances to be an election to pay specifically on the current year's liability.

The judgment in the case of Peter v Anderson considers different circumstance which could indicate evidence of an intent to appropriate where an election has not been expressed. Where the allocation to one account instead of another would prevent an unnecessary burden (as exampled above) is considered to be circumstances that would infer that the money was paid in application to a particular debt. Also highlighted in the judgment are the circumstances attributable to a debtor's payment pattern which would provide evidence of an intent to appropriate payment to a particular debt. If a pattern had emerged of a customer's payment being made and accepted as credited to a particular debt then it would be inferred from the nature of the transaction even if not expressed at the time by the customer that he intended to ascribe it to that account.

Q) In light of the above can Peterborough City Council clarify why it considers the authority from "Peter v Anderson 1814" is appropriate to be relied upon for entitlement to elect which account payment is allocated to, where a customer has arrears as well as his in-year liability where there are no express instructions from the customer?

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Peterborough City Council

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST – FOI 1711341288 Supplementary Query

 

Dear Gwyn Worth,

 

Thank you for your email in which you have raised a supplementary
question, as detailed below.

 

Supplementary Request

 

Thank you for your response.

Peterborough City Council relies on the case of "Peter v Anderson 1814"
for entitlement to elect which account payment is allocated to, where a
customer has arrears as well as his in-year liability. To assert the
authority, the following is cited:

"Where no instructions are received from the customer and the amount paid
does not equal a specific instalment or outstanding bill the amount can be
allocated as the creditor (in this case the Council) deems fit."

However, the authority from the "Peter v Anderson" case is as follows:

"A person who is indebted to another on two several accounts, may, on
paying him money, ascribe it to which account he pleases.–And his election
may either be expressed, –Or may be inferred from the circumstances of the
transaction. –But if the payer does not pay specifically on one account,
the receiver may afterwards appropriate the payment to the discharge of
either of the accounts that he pleases."

The above affirms that the inference from the circumstances of a
transaction can be just as valid as an election by the debtor to pay
specifically on one of several accounts as if his election were expressed.
It is therefore self-evident that in the case of Council Tax liability
(where one account is more onerous for the debtor than another) that an
unmatched payment must be carried to that account which it is most
beneficial to the debtor to reduce. It follows that a debtor who would be
caused the additional burden from recovery action being taken in respect
of his in-year liability as a consequence of payment being appropriated to
his arrears, would clearly intend that his payment be appropriated to his
in-year liability to avoid unnecessary additional costs etc. Evidence of
an intent to appropriate would be provided in those particular
circumstances to be an election to pay specifically on the current year's
liability.

The judgment in the case of Peter v Anderson considers different
circumstance which could indicate evidence of an intent to appropriate
where an election has not been expressed. Where the allocation to one
account instead of another would prevent an unnecessary burden (as
exampled above) is considered to be circumstances that would infer that
the money was paid in application to a particular debt. Also highlighted
in the judgment are the circumstances attributable to a debtor's payment
pattern which would provide evidence of an intent to appropriate payment
to a particular debt. If a pattern had emerged of a customer's payment
being made and accepted as credited to a particular debt then it would be
inferred from the nature of the transaction even if not expressed at the
time by the customer that he intended to ascribe it to that account.

Q) In light of the above can Peterborough City Council clarify why it
considers the authority from "Peter v Anderson 1814" is appropriate to be
relied upon for entitlement to elect which account payment is allocated
to, where a customer has arrears as well as his in-year liability where
there are no express instructions from the customer?

 

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for a response. As
soon as the information is available I will be in touch with you again and
no later than 9^th April 2018.

 

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely 

FOI TEAM
Information Governance
Peterborough City Council
Town Hall
Bridge Street
Peterborough
PE1 1HQ
Contact details:
Kevin Taylor, Access to Information Officer - 01733 452576
Rachel Pierre, Access to Information Officer - 01733 454482 (Tues-Thurs)
Sadaf Abdullah, Access to Records Officer - 01733 864668
Tracey Wright, Information Manager - 01733 452533
Ben Stevenson, Compliance Manager on 01733 452387 (non-working day Wed)
Emma Doran, 
​​Business Support Officer - 01733 453571
Email: [1]f[2][email address
To find out more about Peterborough City Council please go to
[3]www.peterborough.gov.uk. 
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
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2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.peterborough.gov.uk/
4. http://www.peterborough.gov.uk/emaildisc...

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Peterborough City Council

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST – FOI 1711341288 Supplementary Query

 

Dear Gwyn Worth,

 

I am writing in response to your recent email whereby you submitted a
supplementary question.  

 

Your request for information has now been considered and the response is
shown below:

 

Original Request and Response

 

 

[1]https://pcc.secure.force.com/SitePublish...

 

 

First Supplementary request

 

 

Thank you for your response. I consider Peterborough City 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 indicating that there are no measures in place
to ensure that unspecified payments are allocated to the account which it
is least burdensome for the debtor (other than 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).

If it appears I have misunderstood anything from what I have stated above
I would appreciate if you would correct me.

 

First Supplementary Response

 

Where the value of a payment received equals that of an instalment/amount
owing the payment will be credited to the relevant matching amount
regardless of what year that bill relates to.  This is in accordance with
the precedence sent in the case of R v Miskin Lower Justices 1953

Where no instructions are received from the customer and the amount paid
does not equal a specific instalment or outstanding bill the amount can be
allocated as the creditor (in this case the Council) deems fit.  The
authority for this is the case of Peter v Anderson 1814.  Peterborough
City Council will normally allocate payments to the oldest debt first in
these cases.  This is for similar reasons outlined by the requestor, to
seek to ensure oldest debts are paid in a timely manner and prevent
escalation and additional costs being incurred.

We have no written policy.

 

Second Supplementary Request

 

Thank you for your response.

Peterborough City Council relies on the case of "Peter v Anderson 1814"
for entitlement to elect which account payment is allocated to, where a
customer has arrears as well as his in-year liability. To assert the
authority, the following is cited:

"Where no instructions are received from the customer and the amount paid
does not equal a specific instalment or outstanding bill the amount can be
allocated as the creditor (in this case the Council) deems fit."

However, the authority from the "Peter v Anderson" case is as follows:

"A person who is indebted to another on two several accounts, may, on
paying him money, ascribe it to which account he pleases.–And his election
may either be expressed, –Or may be inferred from the circumstances of the
transaction. –But if the payer does not pay specifically on one account,
the receiver may afterwards appropriate the payment to the discharge of
either of the accounts that he pleases."

The above affirms that the inference from the circumstances of a
transaction can be just as valid as an election by the debtor to pay
specifically on one of several accounts as if his election were expressed.
It is therefore self-evident that in the case of Council Tax liability
(where one account is more onerous for the debtor than another) that an
unmatched payment must be carried to that account which it is most
beneficial to the debtor to reduce. It follows that a debtor who would be
caused the additional burden from recovery action being taken in respect
of his in-year liability as a consequence of payment being appropriated to
his arrears, would clearly intend that his payment be appropriated to his
in-year liability to avoid unnecessary additional costs etc. Evidence of
an intent to appropriate would be provided in those particular
circumstances to be an election to pay specifically on the current year's
liability.

The judgment in the case of Peter v Anderson considers different
circumstance which could indicate evidence of an intent to appropriate
where an election has not been expressed. Where the allocation to one
account instead of another would prevent an unnecessary burden (as
exampled above) is considered to be circumstances that would infer that
the money was paid in application to a particular debt. Also highlighted
in the judgment are the circumstances attributable to a debtor's payment
pattern which would provide evidence of an intent to appropriate payment
to a particular debt. If a pattern had emerged of a customer's payment
being made and accepted as credited to a particular debt then it would be
inferred from the nature of the transaction even if not expressed at the
time by the customer that he intended to ascribe it to that account.

Q) In light of the above can Peterborough City Council clarify why it
considers the authority from "Peter v Anderson 1814" is appropriate to be
relied upon for entitlement to elect which account payment is allocated
to, where a customer has arrears as well as his in-year liability where
there are no express instructions from the customer?

 

Second Supplementary Response

 

There are two pieces of case law that give precedence over different
points of law, one over the situation where a customer gives specific
instructions the other when they don't.  Our previous response sets these
out as follows:-

 

Where the value of a payment received equals that of an instalment/amount
owing the payment will be credited to the relevant matching amount
regardless of what year that bill relates to.  This is in accordance with
the precedence sent in the case of R v Miskin Lower Justices 1953

Where no instructions are received from the customer and the amount paid
does not equal a specific instalment or outstanding bill, the amount can
be allocated as the creditor (in this case the Council) deems fit.  The
authority for this is the case of Peter v Anderson 1814.  Peterborough
City Council will normally allocate payments to the oldest debt first in
these cases.  This is for similar reasons outlined by the requestor, to
seek to ensure oldest debts are paid in a timely manner and prevent
escalation and additional costs being incurred.

 

Please note that we are more than happy to review an individual case if
the requester believes we have allocated their payment incorrectly.

 

Please contact the Council Tax Team at:- 

 

email address:- [2][email address]

 

or

 

telephone:- 01733 452258.  

 

 

If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to
contact me.

 

___________________________________________________________________    

 

Re-use of information

 

You may re-use any documents supplied for your own use, including for
non-commercial research purposes. The documents may also be used for news
reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for example by publishing
the documents or issuing copies to the public will require the permission
of the copyright owner, where copyright exists.  Such a request would be
considered separately in accordance with the relevant Re-use of Public
Sector Information Regulations 2015 and is not automatic.  Therefore no
permission is implied in the re-use of these documents, until such a
request for re-use has been made and agreed, subject to any appropriate
conditions. 

 

You may re-use any dataset included in this response (excluding logos)
free of charge, in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open
Government Licence v2.0. To view this licence, visit the [3]National
Archives website or email [4][email address].  Where we
have identified any third-party copyright information, you will need to
obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.  Users reproducing
Peterborough City Council content without adaptation should include a
source accreditation to Peterborough City Council: Source: Peterborough
City Council licensed under the Open Government Licence v.2.0. Users
reproducing content which is adapted should include a source accreditation
to Peterborough City Council: Adapted from data from Peterborough City
Council licensed under the Open Government Licence v.2.0.

 

If you have any queries or concerns then please do not hesitate to
contactme.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request please contact
the Information Specialist, Peterborough City Council, Town Hall, Bridge
Street, Peterborough, PE1 1HG; Telephone: 01733 452533,
e-mail: [5][Peterborough City Council request email]

 

You can also complain to the Information Commissioner at:

 

            The Information Commissioner's Office

            Wycliffe House, Water lane

            Wilmslow, Cheshire

            SK9 5AF

 

            Tel: 01625 545700

[6]http://www.ico.org.uk/

 

 

 

Yours sincerely  

 

FOI TEAM
Information Governance
Peterborough City Council
Town Hall
Bridge Street
Peterborough
PE1 1HQ
Contact details:
Kevin Taylor, Access to Information Officer - 01733 452576
Rachel Pierre, Access to Information Officer - 01733 454482 (Tues-Thurs)
Sadaf Abdullah, Access to Records Officer - 01733 864668
Tracey Wright, Information Manager - 01733 452533
Ben Stevenson, Compliance Manager on 01733 452387 (non-working day Wed)
Emma Doran, 
​​Business Support Officer - 01733 453571
Email: [7]f[8][email address
To find out more about Peterborough City Council please go to
[9]www.peterborough.gov.uk. 
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

Thank you for your further clarification, however, your response apparently fails to take into account of the fact (regarding the authority in Peter v Anderson) 'that the inference from the circumstances of a transaction can be just as valid as an election by the debtor to pay specifically on one of several accounts as if his election were expressed'.

As in my 27 November 2017 correspondence I remain satisfied that there are no measures in place to ensure that unspecified payments are allocated to the account which it is least burdensome for the debtor (other than relying on customer contact) and so the laws surrounding the appropriation of payments are not being complied with.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

Can you please acknowledge my 14 March 2018 email for clarification.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

If you are refusing to clarify your response in relation to my query of 14 March 2018 please let me know.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Peterborough City Council

Dear Mr Worth 
I am writing in response to your email dated 9 July 2018, in which you are
requesting a response in relation to your query dated 14 March 2018.
Please find below the response that has been kindly provided by the Local
Taxation Manger: 
Thank you for your further enquiry in relation to the allocation of
payments for Council Tax purposes.  Please accept my apologies for the
delay in replying.
I can see that our previous responses have set out the Council's position
in this matter including the legal basis for our decision.  I am
satisfied that the Council Tax processes comply with the case law
surrounding this subject and that this has been interpreted correctly.  
There is no evidence that supports that the Council is taking unnecessary
recovery action against customers putting them in hardship.  However, if
you remain unhappy with how the Council Tax team has allocated your
payments you do have a right of appeal if recovery action is taken against
you.  This would be via the Magistrates Court by way of a defence against
the issue of a Liability Order on the grounds you believe you have paid
and your monies have been mis-allocated.
I now consider this query to be resolved and have provided your appeal
rights if you should remain aggrieved with specific decision of the
Council Tax team.  As a result, unless you raise any new points for
consideration I do not intend to respond further on this matter.

 

Should you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your FOI request you
can complain to the Information Commissioner at:

 

            The Information Commissioner's Office

            Wycliffe House, Water lane

            Wilmslow, Cheshire

            SK9 5AF

 

            Tel: 01625 545700

[1]http://www.ico.org.uk/

 

Yours sincerely 
FOI TEAM
Information Governance
Peterborough City Council
Town Hall
Bridge Street
Peterborough
PE1 1HQ
Contact details:
Kevin Taylor, Access to Information Officer - 01733 452576
Tracey Chapman, Access to Information Officer - 01733 863889 (Tues, Wed &
Fri)
Sadaf Abdullah, Access to Records Officer - 01733 864668
Tracey Wright, Information Manager - 01733 452533
Ben Stevenson, Data Protection Officer on 01733 452387 (non-working day
Wed)
Emma Doran, 
​​Business Support Officer - 01733 453571
Email: [2]f[3][email address
To find out more about Peterborough City Council please go to
[4]www.peterborough.gov.uk. 
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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5. http://www.peterborough.gov.uk/emaildisc...

Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

"....if you remain unhappy with how the Council Tax team has allocated your payments you do have a right of appeal if recovery action is taken against you. This would be via the Magistrates Court by way of a defence against the issue of a Liability Order on the grounds you believe you have paid and your monies have been mis-allocated. "

Can you please check the accuracy of the above advice because I have been led to believe that a Liability Order can only be appealed in the high court either by judicial review or by way of a case stated.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

Have you had chance to clarify the point I raised in my previous email?

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Peterborough City Council

Dear Mr Worth 
I am writing further to your email dated 22 July 2018, in which you are
asking if we have had chance to clarify the point raised in your earlier
email.
I can confirm receipt of your email dated 13 July 2018, in which you
raised the following:
  "....if you remain unhappy with how the Council Tax team has allocated
your payments you do have a right of appeal if recovery action is taken
against you.  This would be via the Magistrates Court by way of a defence
against the issue of a Liability Order on the grounds you believe you have
paid and your monies have been mis-allocated. "

Can you please check the accuracy of the above advice because I have been
led to believe that a Liability Order can only be appealed in the high
court either by judicial review or by way of a case stated.
Please note that your email has been passed to the relevant department and
once I am in receipt of their response, I will be in touch with you
again. 
Yours sincerely
FOI TEAM
Information Governance
Peterborough City Council
Town Hall
Bridge Street
Peterborough
PE1 1HQ
Contact details:
Kevin Taylor, Access to Information Officer - 01733 452576
Tracey Chapman, Access to Information Officer - 01733 863889 (Tues, Wed &
Fri)
Sadaf Abdullah, Access to Records Officer - 01733 864668
Tracey Wright, Information Manager - 01733 452533
Ben Stevenson, Data Protection Officer on 01733 452387 (non-working day
Wed)
Emma Doran, 
​​Business Support Officer - 01733 453571
Email: [1]f[2][email address
To find out more about Peterborough City Council please go to
[3]www.peterborough.gov.uk. 
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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3. http://www.peterborough.gov.uk/
4. http://www.peterborough.gov.uk/emaildisc...

Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

Thank you. I look forward to what the relevant department has to say.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Peterborough City Council

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST –  FOI 1711341288 Supplementary query

 

Dear Gwyn Worth,

 

I am writing in response to your recent email whereby you queried a
supplementary response.  

 

Your request for information has now been considered and the response is
shown below:

 

Original Request and Response

[1]https://pcc.secure.force.com/SitePublish...

 

First Supplementary request 

 

Thank you for your response. I consider Peterborough City 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 indicating that there are no measures in place
to ensure that unspecified payments are allocated to the account which it
is least burdensome for the debtor (other than 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).

If it appears I have misunderstood anything from what I have stated above
I would appreciate if you would correct me.

 

First Supplementary Response

 

Where the value of a payment received equals that of an instalment/amount
owing the payment will be credited to the relevant matching amount
regardless of what year that bill relates to.  This is in accordance with
the precedence sent in the case of R v Miskin Lower Justices 1953

Where no instructions are received from the customer and the amount paid
does not equal a specific instalment or outstanding bill the amount can be
allocated as the creditor (in this case the Council) deems fit.  The
authority for this is the case of Peter v Anderson 1814.  Peterborough
City Council will normally allocate payments to the oldest debt first in
these cases.  This is for similar reasons outlined by the requestor, to
seek to ensure oldest debts are paid in a timely manner and prevent
escalation and additional costs being incurred.

We have no written policy.

 

Second Supplementary Request

 

Thank you for your response.

Peterborough City Council relies on the case of "Peter v Anderson 1814"
for entitlement to elect which account payment is allocated to, where a
customer has arrears as well as his in-year liability. To assert the
authority, the following is cited:

"Where no instructions are received from the customer and the amount paid
does not equal a specific instalment or outstanding bill the amount can be
allocated as the creditor (in this case the Council) deems fit."

However, the authority from the "Peter v Anderson" case is as follows:

"A person who is indebted to another on two several accounts, may, on
paying him money, ascribe it to which account he pleases.–And his election
may either be expressed, –Or may be inferred from the circumstances of the
transaction. –But if the payer does not pay specifically on one account,
the receiver may afterwards appropriate the payment to the discharge of
either of the accounts that he pleases."

The above affirms that the inference from the circumstances of a
transaction can be just as valid as an election by the debtor to pay
specifically on one of several accounts as if his election were expressed.
It is therefore self-evident that in the case of Council Tax liability
(where one account is more onerous for the debtor than another) that an
unmatched payment must be carried to that account which it is most
beneficial to the debtor to reduce. It follows that a debtor who would be
caused the additional burden from recovery action being taken in respect
of his in-year liability as a consequence of payment being appropriated to
his arrears, would clearly intend that his payment be appropriated to his
in-year liability to avoid unnecessary additional costs etc. Evidence of
an intent to appropriate would be provided in those particular
circumstances to be an election to pay specifically on the current year's
liability.

The judgment in the case of Peter v Anderson considers different
circumstance which could indicate evidence of an intent to appropriate
where an election has not been expressed. Where the allocation to one
account instead of another would prevent an unnecessary burden (as
exampled above) is considered to be circumstances that would infer that
the money was paid in application to a particular debt. Also highlighted
in the judgment are the circumstances attributable to a debtor's payment
pattern which would provide evidence of an intent to appropriate payment
to a particular debt. If a pattern had emerged of a customer's payment
being made and accepted as credited to a particular debt then it would be
inferred from the nature of the transaction even if not expressed at the
time by the customer that he intended to ascribe it to that account.

Q) In light of the above can Peterborough City Council clarify why it
considers the authority from "Peter v Anderson 1814" is appropriate to be
relied upon for entitlement to elect which account payment is allocated
to, where a customer has arrears as well as his in-year liability where
there are no express instructions from the customer?

 

Second Supplementary Response

 

There are two pieces of case law that give precedence over different
points of law, one over the situation where a customer gives specific
instructions the other when they don't.  Our previous response sets these
out as follows:-

 

Where the value of a payment received equals that of an instalment/amount
owing the payment will be credited to the relevant matching amount
regardless of what year that bill relates to.  This is in accordance with
the precedence sent in the case of R v Miskin Lower Justices 1953

Where no instructions are received from the customer and the amount paid
does not equal a specific instalment or outstanding bill, the amount can
be allocated as the creditor (in this case the Council) deems fit.  The
authority for this is the case of Peter v Anderson 1814.  Peterborough
City Council will normally allocate payments to the oldest debt first in
these cases.  This is for similar reasons outlined by the requestor, to
seek to ensure oldest debts are paid in a timely manner and prevent
escalation and additional costs being incurred.

 

Please note that we are more than happy to review an individual case if
the requester believes we have allocated their payment incorrectly.

 

Please contact the Council Tax Team at:- 

 

email address:- [2][email address]

 

or

 

telephone:- 01733 452258.  

 

 

If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to
contact me.

 

Supplementary Query

 

Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

 

"....if you remain unhappy with how the Council Tax team has allocated
your payments you do have a right of appeal if recovery action is taken
against you.  This would be via the Magistrates Court by way of a defence
against the issue of a Liability Order on the grounds you believe you have
paid and your monies have been mis-allocated. "

 

Can you please check the accuracy of the above advice because I have been
led to believe that a Liability Order can only be appealed in the high
court either by judicial review or by way of a case stated.

 

Supplementary Response

The advice stated was based on the position if a Liability Order had not
been granted (so for example where we would be seeking recovery action and
the customer wants to challenge that on the grounds it is paid).

 

If a Liability Order has already been granted the customer is correct in
their awareness of the options available for challenge.

 

Please note that we are more than happy to review an individual case if
the requester believes we have allocated their payment incorrectly.

 

Please contact the Council Tax Team at:- 

 

email address:- [3][email address]

 

or

 

telephone:- 01733 452258. 

 

 

If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to
contact me.

__________________________________________________________________    

 

Re-use of information

 

You may re-use any documents supplied for your own use, including for
non-commercial research purposes. The documents may also be used for news
reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for example by publishing
the documents or issuing copies to the public will require the permission
of the copyright owner, where copyright exists.  Such a request would be
considered separately in accordance with the relevant Re-use of Public
Sector Information Regulations 2015 and is not automatic.  Therefore no
permission is implied in the re-use of these documents, until such a
request for re-use has been made and agreed, subject to any appropriate
conditions. 

 

You may re-use any dataset included in this response (excluding logos)
free of charge, in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open
Government Licence v2.0. To view this licence, visit the [4]National
Archives website or email [5][email address].  Where we
have identified any third-party copyright information, you will need to
obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.  Users reproducing
Peterborough City Council content without adaptation should include a
source accreditation to Peterborough City Council: Source: Peterborough
City Council licensed under the Open Government Licence v.2.0. Users
reproducing content which is adapted should include a source accreditation
to Peterborough City Council: Adapted from data from Peterborough City
Council licensed under the Open Government Licence v.2.0.

 

If you have any queries or concerns then please do not hesitate to
contactme.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request please contact
the Information Specialist, Peterborough City Council, Town Hall, Bridge
Street, Peterborough, PE1 1HG; Telephone: 01733 452533,
e-mail: [6][Peterborough City Council request email]

 

You can also complain to the Information Commissioner at:

 

            The Information Commissioner's Office

            Wycliffe House, Water lane

            Wilmslow, Cheshire

            SK9 5AF

 

            Tel: 01625 545700

[7]http://www.ico.org.uk/

 

 

 

Yours sincerely  

 

FOI TEAM
Information Governance
Peterborough City Council
Town Hall
Bridge Street
Peterborough
PE1 1HQ
Contact details:
Kevin Taylor, Access to Information Officer - 01733 452576
Tracey Chapman, Access to Information Officer - 01733 863889 (Tues, Wed &
Fri)
Sadaf Abdullah, Access to Records Officer - 01733 864668
Tracey Wright, Information Manager - 01733 452533
Ben Stevenson, Data Protection Officer on 01733 452387 (non-working day
Wed)
Emma Doran, 
Business Support Officer - 01733 453571
Email: [8]f[9][email address
To find out more about Peterborough City Council please go to
[10]www.peterborough.gov.uk. 
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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