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

The request was successful.

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

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Dear Chiltern District Council,

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Chiltern District Council should normally have responded promptly and by 7 November 2017

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Dear Chiltern District Council,

Can you please advise when you expect to have a response to my 7 November 2017 request.

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Dear Chiltern District Council,

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Chiltern District Council should normally have responded promptly and by 7 November 2017.

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Dear Chiltern District Council,

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Chiltern District Council should normally have responded promptly and by 7 November 2017..

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

CDC FOI, Chiltern District Council

Dear Gwyn Worth

Apologies for not getting back to you sooner.  Your request that you sent
on 10th November 2017 was only retrieved by the FOI team following your
email alerting us.  From our subsequent investigation it appears that a
technical fault occurred when the request was imported into the FOI
tracking system and therefore we very much appreciate you bringing this
error to our attention.

Your request is now being dealt with and has been assigned the case
reference number of 16466.  You should receive an acknowledgment shortly
to this affect.   We will endeavour to get the response to you as soon as
possible to minimise any further delay.

Apologies once again.

Yours sincerely

FOI Team
Chiltern District Council

show quoted sections

FOI Assistant CDC,

King George V House, King George V Road
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5AW
Email: [1][email address]
www.chiltern.gov.uk
 
 

CHILTERN AND SOUTH BUCKS DISTRICT COUNCILS
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
   
Date: 20/11/2017
e-mail:
For the attention of: Gwyn Worth
Our Ref: FOI 16466
 
   
   
Dear Sir / Madam

Thank you for your email requesting information under the provisions of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which provides a ‘right of access’ to
recorded information.

This is to acknowledge receipt of your valid request. A guide to
information that is held is contained in the Chiltern District Council
Publication Scheme via the following link

[2]http://www.chiltern.gov.uk/FOIpublicatio...

The Council will send you a response to your request in due course.

Yours faithfully
 
 
 
CHILTERN DISTRICT COUNCIL
[3][email address]

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://track.vuelio.uk.com/z.z?l=aHR0cDo...
3. mailto:[email address]

Chiltern District Council

2 Attachments

King George V House, King George V Road
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5AW
Email: [1][email address]
www.chiltern.gov.uk
 
 

CHILTERN AND SOUTH BUCKS DISTRICT COUNCILS
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
   
Date: 21/11/2017
e-mail:
For the attention of: Gwyn Worth
Our Ref: FOI 16466
 
   
   
Dear Sir / Madam

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

Further to our acknowledgement to your email requesting information under
the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 we are providing you
with our response.

REQUEST

Freedom of Information request - Ensuring customers are not subjectto
unnecessary recovery action, additional costs or hardship Dear Chiltern
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
Chiltern Council have its computer software set to deal with non specific
payments. Current or oldest year's liability? 

RESPONSE

Chiltern District council has its software set to pay the old year’s
outstanding liability if there is a non-specific payment.

We hope this answers your questions, but if not, you can contact us
(details below) with your query quoting the FOI number at the top of this
page. You can also seek an internal review of your request if you remain
unhappy with the outcome. Ultimately you can complain to the Information
Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF
should you remain dissatisfied, having exhausted the authority's internal
review procedures. If you would like more information about the role and
work of the Information Commissioner go to the website [2]www.ico.gov.uk

Yours faithfully
 
 
 
CHILTERN DISTRICT COUNCIL
[3][email address]

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://track.vuelio.uk.com/z.z?l=aHR0cDo...
3. mailto:[email address]

Dear Chiltern District Council,

Thank you for stating that 'Chiltern District council has its software set to pay the old year’s outstanding liability if there is a non-specific payment'.

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 faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Dear Chiltern District Council,

Will you please acknowledge receipt of my 21 November 2017 request/clarification.

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Sarah Helm,

King George V House, King George V Road
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5AW
Email: [1][email address]
www.chiltern.gov.uk
 
 

CHILTERN AND SOUTH BUCKS DISTRICT COUNCILS
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
   
Date: 26/01/2018
e-mail:
For the attention of: Gwyn Worth
Our Ref: FOI 16585
 
   
   
Dear Sir / Madam

Thank you for your email requesting information under the provisions of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which provides a ‘right of access’ to
recorded information.

This is to acknowledge receipt of your valid request. A guide to
information that is held is contained in the Chiltern District Council
Publication Scheme via the following link

[2]http://www.chiltern.gov.uk/FOIpublicatio...

The Council will send you a response to your request in due course.

Yours faithfully
 
 
 
CHILTERN DISTRICT COUNCIL
[3][email address]

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://track.vuelio.uk.com/z.z?l=aHR0cDo...
3. mailto:[email address]

Chiltern District Council

1 Attachment

King George V House, King George V Road
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5AW
Email: [1][email address]
www.chiltern.gov.uk
 
 

CHILTERN AND SOUTH BUCKS DISTRICT COUNCILS
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
   
Date: 26/01/2018
e-mail:
For the attention of: Gwyn Worth
Our Ref: FOI 16585
 
   
   
Dear Sir / Madam

Following receipt of your request under the provisions of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, this is to inform you that from our preliminary
assessment, it is clear that we will not be able to answer your request
without further clarification. Under section 1(3) of the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA), a public authority need not comply with a request
unless any further information reasonably required to locate the
information is supplied. If a request is too broad or general in nature,
then public authorities have a duty to provide advice and assistance to
the applicant in order to focus the request. The information you have
requested is too general and needs to be more specific. Please state the
exact information you require in the box below and return to us.

Yours faithfully
 
 
 
CHILTERN DISTRICT COUNCIL
[2][email address]

References

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1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]

Dear Chiltern District Council,

I hope this makes the request more focused:

When an unmatched payment is allocated by the council's software to the oldest year’s outstanding liability does the council subsequently carry out checks to establish where the taxpayer intended the payment to go and/or which allocation is of most beneficial to the account holder, and if necessary move it to the most appropriate account?

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Chiltern District Council

1 Attachment

King George V House, King George V Road
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5AW
Email: [1][email address]
www.chiltern.gov.uk
 
 

CHILTERN AND SOUTH BUCKS DISTRICT COUNCILS
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
   
Date: 26/02/2018
e-mail:
For the attention of: Gwyn Worth
Our Ref: FOI 16585
 
   
   
Dear Sir,

Further to our acknowledgement to your email requesting information under
the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 we are providing you
with our response.

REQUEST

When an unmatched payment is allocated by the council's software to the
oldest year’s outstanding liability does the council subsequently carry
out checks to establish where the taxpayer intended the payment to go
and/or which allocation is of most beneficial to the account holder, and
if necessary move it to the most appropriate account?

RESPONSE:

The money will go to the oldest debt first if it does not match the
installment figure or arrangement made figure. The reason for this is for
the council to consider every payment and what was most beneficial to the
customer if they have arrears is subjective because there is no right or
wrong answer for this without a specific request from the customer.

We hope this answers your questions, but if not, you can contact us
(details below) with your query quoting the FOI number at the top of this
page. You can also seek an internal review of your request if you remain
unhappy with the outcome. Ultimately you can complain to the Information
Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF
should you remain dissatisfied, having exhausted the authority's internal
review procedures. If you would like more information about the role and
work of the Information Commissioner go to the website [2]www.ico.gov.uk

Yours faithfully
 
 
 
CHILTERN DISTRICT COUNCIL
[3][email address]

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://track.vuelio.uk.com/z.z?l=aHR0cDo...
3. mailto:[email address]

Dear Chiltern District Council,

Thank you for your response. I consider that Chiltern District 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 stating 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 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 faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

Mail Delivery System,

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show quoted sections

Dear CDC FOI,

Thank you for your response. I consider that Chiltern District 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 stating 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 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

CDC FOI, Chiltern District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Worth,

 

Thank you for your email.

 

Please find attached the clarification requested, in regards to the above
FOI.

 

We hope this answers your questions and thank you for contacting the FOI
department at Chiltern District Council.

 

Yours sincerely

 

The FOI team.

Chiltern District Council

Gwyn Worth left an annotation ()

In reply to your further information request in respect of your Freedom of information Request number 16466, I can confirm that if a payment is received to a specific instalment or payment plan, it will be allocated to that debt in question.

If a non-specific payment is received, it will generally be allocated to the oldest debt first, this will normally result in the council tax payer having to pay fewer costs, as it will reduce the likelihood of the debt being taken to court or passed to enforcement agents incurring further costs.

If, however, a case is due to go to court or further recovery action is taken against a person or company, the payments received will be reviewed by an Officer compiling the court list or taking further recovery action. If it is clear that there was an intention to pay a certain debt, or if the unallocated payment will clear or reduce a debt, then the payment will be allocated to that debt. The intention of this procedure is to reduce further costs to the person or company and to avert the need to take further recovery action where possible.

Dear CDC FOI,

Thank you for further clarifying you response. As a result I have revised my comment originally made on 26 February 2018.

I understand by the council's further clarification (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).

*NOTE*: "If, however, a case is due to go to court or further recovery action is taken against a person or company, the payments received will be reviewed by an Officer compiling the court list or taking further recovery action. If it is clear that there was an intention to pay a certain debt, or if the unallocated payment will clear or reduce a debt, then the payment will be allocated to that debt. The intention of this procedure is to reduce further costs to the person or company and to avert the need to take further recovery action where possible."

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

Sarah Helm,

King George V House, King George V Road
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5AW
Email: [1][email address]
www.chiltern.gov.uk
 
 

CHILTERN AND SOUTH BUCKS DISTRICT COUNCILS
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
   
Date: 23/05/2018
e-mail:
For the attention of: Gwyn Worth
Our Ref: FOI 16919
 
   
   
Dear Sir / Madam

Thank you for your email requesting information under the provisions of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which provides a ‘right of access’ to
recorded information.

This is to acknowledge receipt of your valid request. A guide to
information that is held is contained in the Chiltern District Council
Publication Scheme via the following link

[2]http://www.chiltern.gov.uk/FOIpublicatio...

The Council will send you a response to your request in due course.

Yours faithfully
 
 
 
CHILTERN DISTRICT COUNCIL
[3][email address]

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://track.vuelio.uk.com/z.z?l=aHR0cDo...
3. mailto:[email address]

Chiltern District Council

1 Attachment

King George V House, King George V Road
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5AW
Email: [1][email address]
www.chiltern.gov.uk
 
 

CHILTERN AND SOUTH BUCKS DISTRICT COUNCILS
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
   
Date: 23/05/2018
e-mail:
For the attention of: Gwyn Worth
Our Ref: FOI 16919
 
   
   
Dear Sir,

Following receipt of your request under the provisions of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, this is to inform you that from our preliminary
assessment, it is clear that we will not be able to answer your request
without further clarification. Under section 1(3) of the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA), a public authority need not comply with a request
unless any further information reasonably required to locate the
information is supplied. If a request is too broad or general in nature,
then public authorities have a duty to provide advice and assistance to
the applicant in order to focus the request. The information you have
requested is too general and needs to be more specific. Please state the
exact information you require in the box below and return to us.

Yours faithfully
 
 
 
CHILTERN DISTRICT COUNCIL
[2][email address]

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]

Dear Chiltern District Council,

My 22 May 2018 email was to inform you that the FOI request has been satisfactorily dealt with.

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

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