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

The request was successful.

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

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Haringey Borough Council

Dear Ms Worth

 

Freedom of Information / Environmental Information Regulations Request:
LBH/6684517

 

I acknowledge your request for information received on 09 October 2017.

 

This information request will be dealt with in accordance with the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations and we
will send the response by 06 November 2017

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Feedback and Information Governance

 

Shared Service Centre | Central Team

Haringey Council 

10th Floor, Alexandra House, 10 Station Road, Wood Green, London N22 7TR

 

www.haringey.gov.uk

twitter@haringeycouncil

facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

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subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with relevant
legislation.

Kempster Joseph, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Ms Worth,

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request ref: LBH/6684517

 

Thank you for your request for information received on 09 October 2017, in
which you asked for the following information:

 

How does Haringey Council have its computer software set to deal with
non-specific payments and whether this is to the current or oldest year's
liability?

 

My response is as follows:

 

Haringey Council has its computer software set to allocate payments
received, that do not match with the payment plan for the current year’s
debt, to the oldest year's liability.

 

If you are unhappy with how we have responded to your request you can ask
us to conduct an Internal Review. If so, please contact the Feedback and
Information Team as below. (Please note you should do this within two
months of receiving this response.)   

 

Feedback and Information Team

10th Floor, Alexandra House

10 Station Road

London

N22 7TR

E [1][email address]

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

Joe Kempster

Shared Service Centre -Revenues

Haringey Council

Alexandra House,10 station Road, London, N22 7TR

T.0208 489 1000

[2][email address]

[3]www.haringey.gov.uk

twitter@haringeycouncil

facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential, may be
subject to legal privilege and are intended only for the person(s) or
organisation(s) to whom this email is addressed. Any unauthorised use,
retention, distribution, copying or disclosure is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this email in error, please notify the system
administrator at Haringey Council immediately and delete this e-mail from
your system. Although this e-mail and any attachments are believed to be
free of any virus or other defect which might affect any computer or
system into which they are received and opened, it is the responsibility
of the recipient to ensure they are virus free and no responsibility is
accepted for any loss or damage from receipt or use thereof. All
communications sent to or from external third party organisations may be
subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with relevant
legislation.

References

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2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.haringey.gov.uk/

Dear Mr Kempster,

Thank you for stating that payments that do not match with the payment plan for the current year’s debt are allocated to the oldest year's liability.

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

Kempster Joseph, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Ms Worth

Thank you for your email of 16 October 2017.

You have raised a further query with regard to the Council’s process of allocating payments received, that do not match with the current year’s instalment plan, to the oldest outstanding debt.

In this regard, you have requested confirmation as to whether there are any measures in place to check whether the above method of allocation will result in arrears accruing on the current year’s debt and, if so, whether such payments would then be re-allocated to avoid further recovery action and further costs being incurred.

In response, I would clarify that there are no specific checks undertaken to ascertain whether the adopted method of allocation will result in arrears accruing on the current year’s debt. However, if a charge payer indicates that a particular payment is to be allocated to reduce any specific debt, then these instructions would be complied with. In addition, if it subsequently transpired that the debtor had intended to specify an allocation of a previously unspecified payment then funds would be re-allocated accordingly.

In these circumstances, any additional recovery action that might have occurred due to the initial method of allocation would be withdrawn and any additional costs incurred would be refunded.

If you are unhappy with how we have responded to your request you can ask us to conduct an Internal Review. If so, please contact the Feedback and Information Team as below. (Please note you should do this within two months of receiving this response.)

Feedback and Information Team
10th Floor, Alexandra House
10 Station Road
London
N22 7TR
Em: [email address]

Yours sincerely

Joe Kempster
Shared Service Centre -Revenues
Haringey Council
Alexandra House,10 station Road, London, N22 7TR
T.0208 489 1000
Em. [email address]
www.haringey.gov.uk
twitter@haringeycouncil
facebook.com/haringeycouncil

Dear Kempster Joseph,

Re; "In addition, if it subsequently transpired that the debtor had intended to specify an allocation of a previously unspecified payment then funds would be re-allocated accordingly.

In these circumstances, any additional recovery action that might have occurred due to the initial method of allocation would be withdrawn and any additional costs incurred would be refunded."

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

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Kempster Joseph, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Ms Worth

Thank you for your email received earlier today in connection with your previous Freedom of Information request.

You have requested clarification as to whether there is a cut-off point after which the Council would refuse to withdraw additional recovery costs.

In response to your further query, I would advise that the recovery stage is irrelevant. If it transpires that the Council has not allocated payments received as the Charge Payer intended, then any recovery action that had been taken as a result of that mis-allocation would be withdrawn.

If you are unhappy with how I have responded to your request you can ask us to conduct an Internal Review. If so, please contact the Feedback and Information Team as below. (Please note you should do this within two months of receiving this response).

Feedback and Information Team
10th Floor, Alexandra House
10 Station Road
London
N22 7TR
E [email address]

Dear Mr Kempster,

Thank you for clarifying my query. It is encouraging that Haringey Borough Council is apparently mindful of the principles surrounding the appropriation of payments and implement them.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

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