Policy on Collection of Council Tax Arrears

Ian Tyes made this Freedom of Information request to Cambridge City Council

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The request was partially successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please could you supply a copy of your policy on Council Tax Arrears collection.

For the most recent year for which figures are available, please could you confirm the following:

1) How many people were in arrears of over £750

Of these, how many have:

a) Liability Orders
b) Statutory Demands
c) Bankruptcy Petitions (applied for by Council)
d) Attachment of Earnings Orders
e) Attachment of Benefits Orders

Please confirm the breakdown between homeowners and tenants for each of the above

2) What is the average amount owed by people you have made bankrupt for a) owner occupiers b) tenants?

Yours faithfully,

Ian Tyes

Dear Sir or Madam,

You are now overdue in responding to my request. I am therefore requesting an internal review.

Yours faithfully,

Ian Tyes

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Cambridge City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Policy on Collection of Council Tax Arrears'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:

Yours faithfully,

Ian Tyes

John Frost, Cambridge City Council

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Dear Mr Tyes

Cambridge City Council - Policy on Collection of Council Tax Arrears

I apologise for the delay in getting back to you in relation to your

The reason for that delay has been my need to determine the time and
resources required to provide the more detailed information that you
have requested.

The manner in which Cambridge City Council carries out its duties in
relation to the collection of Council Tax arrears are prescribed within
the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992
Statutory Instrument 613 of 1992, as amended by subsequent legislation.
The Council undertakes actions to recover unpaid Council Tax in
accordance with these regulations.

These statutory regulations are supplemented by a range of local
procedures designed to ensure that, when recovering arrears of Council
Tax, the Authority is compliant with locally agreed processes and

As an example, the Authority operates what is known as an Anti-Poverty
Strategy. This strategy was approved in 1988 and updated in 2002. There
are two key principles, which have had particular importance in
formulating the Council’s approach to the collection of Local Taxes
[Council Tax & Business Rates, Residual Poll Tax] and in the recovery of
overpaid Housing & Council Tax Benefit.

* To maximise individual income levels through the provision of
welfare rights information and advice and the prompt, sensitive and
accurate administration of Housing and Council Tax Benefit.

* To collect outstanding debts and charges in as sensitive a manner
as possible, to ensure that further hardship, distress or financial
difficulties are not created.

The approach advocated by the City Council is one which seeks to strike
a balance between the need to maximise income to the Council and the
desire not to cause further hardship to the poorest within the

The Council’s Anti-Poverty Strategy acknowledges that many
individuals and whole households in Cambridge are living in poverty -
some in absolute poverty and many more in relative poverty.

We also have other local policies that deal with such issues as
timescales for issuing Council Tax reminders and summons, as well as
those that provide guidance in relation to the imposition of attachment
of earnings.

I have attached a copy our Anti-Poverty Strategy, an extract of the
Statutory Instrument 1992 No 613 [The Council Tax (Administration &
Enforcement) Regulations 1992], as well as a copy of the Guide to
These, along with a number of other policy and procedural documents,
are used within our Service Area as references for us to carry out our
enforcement functions.

Further to your request for details on:

How many people were in arrears of over £750, of these, how many have:

* Liability Orders
* Statutory Demands
* Bankruptcy Petitions (applied for by Council)
* Attachment of Earnings Orders
* Attachment of Benefits Orders and
* The breakdown between homeowners and tenants for each of the
* What is the average amount owed by people you have made bankrupt
for a) owner occupiers b) tenants?

This is a significant request in terms of additional workload for our
staff to gather and compile this information.

I am of the view that gathering this additional information in the
format you have requested will have resource and cost implications for
the Authority. Therefore, before providing such a detailed return, I
will require an undertaking from you that you will be willing to pay for
this in advance, should the Authority seek to levy a charge for this
detailed information.

The public notices in respect of all bankruptcy petitions and
bankruptcy orders must, by law, be published in the London Gazette. This
information is, therefore, in the public realm and available to you via
the London Gazette should you require to view it.

John Frost
Head of Revenue & Benefit Services
Cambridge City Council
[email address]

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George Cant left an annotation ()

false answer,

they do hold the records in exactly the mannior you asked for them.

send me an email and i will tell you exectly what to ask.