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

The request was successful.

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

Yours faithfully,

Gwyn Worth

FOI, Wolverhampton City Council

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Dear Mr Worth,

I am writing in regards to the Freedom of Information we received on 16 October 2017.

Your request will be dealt with as quickly as possible and a final response should be sent to you within 20 working days of receipt.

If you wish to enquire about the progress of your request, then please do not hesitate to contact us, quoting the reference number, in the heading above.

Rita Rich
Information Governance Officer
Tel. Office: 01902 550363

E-mail: [email address]
City of Wolverhampton Council

FOI, Wolverhampton City Council

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FOR THE ATTENTION OF GWYN WORTH

 

With reference to your above request received on 16 October 2017, please
find attached our response marked in blue.

 

I hope this provides the information that you require.  If not, please
contact me again.

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Information Governance Team

Governance

City of Wolverhampton Council

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Wolverhampton
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E-mail: [1][Wolverhampton City Council request email]

Under section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, you also have the
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The Information Commissioner
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0303 123 1113

 

[2]http://ico.org.uk/complaints/getting/com...

 

Rita Rich

Information Governance Officer

Tel. Office: 01902 550363

 

[3]E-mail: [email address]

City of Wolverhampton Council

 

 

 

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Dear FOI,

Thank you for your response. I consider Wolverhampton City 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 allocating unmatched payments to the current liability that it is the council's priority to ensure that unspecified payments are allocated to the account which is least burdensome for the debtor, and consequently the laws surrounding the appropriation of payments are being complied with. The circumstances would imply that this was the debtor's intention as the consequences of doing otherwise would be to put the current year's liability also in arrears.

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

Yours sincerely,

Gwyn Worth

FOI, Wolverhampton City Council

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FOR THE ATTENTION OF GWYN WORTH

Thank you for your e-mail below.

We shall come back you shortly with our response.

Rita Rich
Information Governance Officer
Tel. Office: 01902 550363

E-mail: [email address]
City of Wolverhampton Council

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FOI, Wolverhampton City Council

NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

FOR THE ATTENTION OF GWYN WORTH

With reference to your e-mail below, we have noted your information and have no further comment to make.

Thank you.

Rita Rich
Information Governance Officer
Tel. Office: 01902 550363

E-mail: [email address]
City of Wolverhampton Council

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