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

The request was successful.

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

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information, Hounslow Borough Council



Dear Resident/Member of the public,

Thank you for your email about a Freedom of Information.

We will either deal with your request or pass it onto our service teams to
provide you with a response.    

o   Freedom of Information (FOI) requests – the Council will respond
within 20 working days from the time of receipt if this is within working
hours, or, if received out of hours, from the next working
day.[1]https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/info/20110/o...

o   To comply with the Local Government Transparency Code 2015 further
information can be found
at [2]https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/info/20110/o...

 Yours sincerely,

Customer Relations Team

References

Visible links
1. https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/info/20110/o...
2. https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/info/20110/o...

Freedom of Information, Hounslow Borough Council

Dear Gwyn Worth,

Thank you for your below FOI request.

This has been logged under reference number 33023-33024 to the service team for a response. This response will follow to you within the 20 working day deadline.

Kind Regards,

Joe | Customer Relations Officer
London Borough of Hounslow, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow, TW3 4DN
Tel: 020 8583 5211 | Email: [Hounslow Borough Council request email] 

Information about Council services can be found on our website www.hounslow.gov.uk

Follow us online: Twitter: @LBofHounslow and Facebook: www.facebook.com/HounslowCouncil

Dear Freedom of Information,

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Hounslow Borough Council should normally have responded promptly and by 6 November 2017

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Dear Freedom of Information,

Can you please advise when you expect to have a response to my 9 October 2017 request.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Dear Freedom of Information,

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Hounslow Borough Council should normally have responded promptly and by 6 November 2017.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information, Hounslow Borough Council

Dear Gwyn Worth,

 

Thank you for your email.

 

Please see below response to your FOI request 33023-33024.

 

The service team attempted to send this response on the 24/10 so I
apologise that this was not received.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Revenues & Benefits Client Unit                   

              London Borough of Hounslow, Civic Centre, Lampton Road,
Hounslow, TW3 4DN

                        
                                                                              

 

Mr Gwyn Worth

                  

Contact       Mrs Persad

Telephone   0208 583 4751

Date            24 October 2017 

Your Ref     FOI

  

By Email             

 

Dear Mr Worth

Re: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (FOI) 2000 ACT RESPONSE

 

I am writing regarding your request for information dated 09 October 2017.

 

You have requested the following under the Freedom of Information Act
2000:

You have stated the following. Please see our response in blue:

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.

You 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.

You would like to know how Hounslow Council have its computer software set
to deal with non-specific payments. Current or oldest year's liability?

Hounslow has the 'Final Rule' set as blank. This means that any receipts
that do not match the existing cash posting rules will ‘soft allocate’ to
the oldest debt. However, there is a tolerance level of £1 & unsummonsed
Direct Debits will always be posted to the relevant year's unsummonsed
debt.

 

The response to your request has been dealt with under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

Copyright and misuse information

Most of the information that is provided in response to a FOI or EIR
request will be owned by the London Borough of Hounslow and therefore
covered by the Open Government Licence. However, the copyright of some of
the information we share may be owned by another person or organisation
(e.g. Ordinance Survey).

 

Individuals and organisations are free to re-use any information covered
by the Open Government Licence for commercial or non-commercial purposes,
provided the terms of the licence are adhered to.

Where the copyright of the information is owned by another person or
organisation, you must apply to the copyright owner to obtain their
permission for re-use.  

 

Should you wish to make a request for information again, please complete
our online form accessed via the link below as this will provide us with
the required information to ensure a prompt response to your request: FOI
on line request

This online form may also be used to request a review of any response
where you feel the Council has not dealt with your request for information
inappropriately or failed to take appropriate action within a reasonable
timescale:  FOI on line request

 

Yours sincerely

            Harminder Persad

          Head of Revenues & Benefits

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Kind Regards,

 

Joe | Customer Relations Officer

London Borough of Hounslow, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow, TW3 4DN

Tel: 020 8583 5211 | Email: [Hounslow Borough Council request email] 

 

Information about Council services can be found on our website
www.hounslow.gov.uk

 

Follow us online: Twitter: @LBofHounslow and Facebook:
www.facebook.com/HounslowCouncil

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom of Information,

Thank you for stating that unmatched payments (allowing a tolerance of £1) are allocated to the oldest 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.?

P.S. Can you please confirm whether or not payments which have been soft allocated is effectively floating cash?

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information, Hounslow Borough Council

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    Hounslow Response to your FOI request 33023 33024.html

    13K Download

Dear Gwyn Worth,

Thank you for your email.

I apologise that you have not yet received a response to your FOI request.

The service team sent a response on 24/10/17 and my colleague re-sent this on 15/11/17 - I am sorry if these were not received.

Please find your response attached to this email.

Yours sincerely,
Emma Wallis | Customer Relations Officer
Customer Relations
Yellow zone, Civic Centre
London Borough of Hounslow
Office: 020 8583 5211
Email: [email address]
Website:  www.hounslow.gov.uk
Follow us online: Twitter: @LBofHounslow and Facebook: www.facebook.com/HounslowCouncil

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom of Information,

There is obviously a glitch with the messaging system. I did receive a response (15 November 2017) which I responded to (see quoted below). I have not seen any response to this.

15 November 2017

"Thank you for stating that unmatched payments (allowing a tolerance of £1) are allocated to the oldest 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.?

P.S. Can you please confirm whether or not payments which have been soft allocated is effectively floating cash? "

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Freedom of Information, Hounslow Borough Council

Dear Gwyn Worth,

Thank you for your email below which has been received by the Customer Relations Team. I apologise for the delay in responding, we are currently experiencing a very high volume of enquiries.

This is being treated as a further FOI request and has been logged under reference number 35223-35224 to the service team for a response. This response will follow to you within 20 working days.

Kind Regards

Joe | Customer Relations Officer
London Borough of Hounslow, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow, TW3 4DN
Tel: 020 8583 5211 | Email: [Hounslow Borough Council request email] 

Information about Council services can be found on our website www.hounslow.gov.uk

Follow us online: Twitter: @LBofHounslow and Facebook: www.facebook.com/HounslowCouncil

show quoted sections

Carol Lovell, Hounslow Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Gwyn Worth

 

Please find attached response to your Freedom of Information Request and
the details you required.

 

Regards.

 

Carol Lovell | Monitoring Officer, Finance & HR

Orange Zone

London Borough of Hounslow

Office: 020 8583 2697

[1]www.hounslow.gov.uk

Follow us online: Twitter: [2]@LBofHounslow and Facebook:
[3]www.facebook.com/HounslowCouncil

show quoted sections

Dear Carol Lovell,

Thank you for clarifying my query. I consider Hounslow Borough 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 I would appreciate if you would correct me.

*NOTE*: "Measures are in place to check unmatched payments. A report is produced daily which is checked and if an account already has recovery on an old year then the monies are allocated to the current year's tax to avoid it falling into the recovery cycle."

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Harminder Persad, Hounslow Borough Council

Dear Ms Worth

Thank you for your email.

I can confirm that the principles surrounding the appropriation of payments are adhered to by Hounslow. These measures are in place to make sure that the payments are allocated to the current year to avoid the customer form falling behind in payments thus leading to further recovery action.

Regards
Harminder Persad IRRV Tech | Senior Corporate Services Contract Manager – Client Team &
Head of Revenues & Benefits 
London Borough of Hounslow
Office: 020 8583 4751

www.hounslow.gov.uk
Follow us online: Twitter: @LBofHounslow and Facebook: www.facebook.com/HounslowCouncil

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

show quoted sections

Dear Harminder Persad,

Thank you, I appreciate your further confirmation.

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org