Report Ref: 16 014 707 - Vulnerable council tax debtor (2)

Rod Simons made this Freedom of Information request to The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

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The request was successful.

Dear Local Government Ombudsmen,

Fareham Borough Council - Ref: 16 014 707 (31 Jan 2017)

http://www.lgo.org.uk/decisions/benefits...

Paragraphs 18 and 19 of the report states:

'18. The enforcement agent fee regulations say if a payment is made that is less than the total debt and fees outstanding first the Compliance Fee is cleared; the balance is split pro rata between the debt and the fees. Any further payments are split pro rata between the debt and the fees. (Paragraph 13 of The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014)

19. Mr J was paying the Council directly. The Council was following the law by passing the bailiffs a proportion of these payments to clear the bailiff’s fees. Paying the Council directly does not mean the council tax debt is clear as the Regulations make clear any balance is made up of both the debt and the bailiff fees.'

Does the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014, or any other legislation provide for the council to pass money to a private contractor paid by someone in respect of their outstanding council tax (against the person's wishes)?

Yours faithfully,

Rod Simons

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

This is to acknowledge receipt of your email. If you are making a request for information, you should get an acknowledgement from us within the next 2-3 days with a reference number and a date by which we will respond to your request. Please note, however, that this address is only for use in relation to requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act and subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act. If your email is in relation to a new complaint please follow this link to a complaint form<http://www.lgo.org.uk/forms/ShowForm.asp...> or call 0300 061 0614 to speak to one of our Advisers, as the FOI Officer cannot deal with your complaint.

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Dear Foi Officer,

Please respond to this request. By law, Local Government Ombudsmen should have responded by 5 June 2017.

Yours sincerely,

Rod Simons

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

This is to acknowledge receipt of your email. If you are making a request for information, you should get an acknowledgement from us within the next 2-3 days with a reference number and a date by which we will respond to your request. Please note, however, that this address is only for use in relation to requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act and subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act. If your email is in relation to a new complaint please follow this link to a complaint form<http://www.lgo.org.uk/forms/ShowForm.asp...> or call 0300 061 0614 to speak to one of our Advisers, as the FOI Officer cannot deal with your complaint.

NOTICE - This message contains information intended only for the use of the addressee named above. If you have received this message in error please advise us at once and do not make any use of the information.

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Simons

I attach a letter in response to this request.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Information & Records Manager | DL: 0330 403 4734 |
Local Government Ombudsman's office |
www.lgo.org.uk |

show quoted sections

Dear Foi Officer,

"You ask whether the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014, or any other legislation provide for the council to pass money to a private contractor paid by someone in respect of their outstanding council tax (against the person’s wishes).

I cannot provide any further interpretation of a published decision."

I am not asking for the interpretation in respect of the published decision. The decision was provided merely to put the request in context. The LGO must have had an understanding of the relevant law(s) to have found in favour of the council and to the detriment of the complainant.

Yours sincerely,

Rod Simons

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

This is to acknowledge receipt of your email. If you are making a request for information, you should get an acknowledgement from us within the next 2-3 days with a reference number and a date by which we will respond to your request. Please note, however, that this address is only for use in relation to requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act and subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act. If your email is in relation to a new complaint please follow this link to a complaint form<http://www.lgo.org.uk/forms/ShowForm.asp...> or call 0300 061 0614 to speak to one of our Advisers, as the FOI Officer cannot deal with your complaint.

NOTICE - This message contains information intended only for the use of the addressee named above. If you have received this message in error please advise us at once and do not make any use of the information.

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Simons

I attach a letter in response to your message below.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Information & Records Manager | DL: 0330 403 4734 |
Local Government Ombudsman's office |
www.lgo.org.uk |

show quoted sections

Dear Foi Officer,

In your 7 June 2017 reply the following has been stated:

"The law does not specifically say if the payment is received by a council the bailiff should have their costs, but it is a practical consequence of the Regulations.

So if a complainant argues the bailiff costs are not due because they paid the debt and any court costs to a council THEY ARE WRONG."

I'm unsure whether the guidance can be regarded as responsible. In fact, it seem to me to be out right reckless for an organisation funded by the taxpayer, with its objective to safeguard citizens against oppressive local authorities, to abet their shenanigans.

The applicable regulations provide for payments to be distributed to the bailiffs and council pro-rata for monies that the bailiff has collected and can obviously not apply to monies that the debtor has paid to the council voluntarily.

Yours sincerely,

Rod Simons

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

1 Attachment

This is to acknowledge receipt of your email. If you are making a request for information, you should get an acknowledgement from us within the next 2-3 days with a reference number and a date by which we will respond to your request. Please note, however, that this address is only for use in relation to requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act and subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act. If your email is in relation to a new complaint please follow this link to a complaint form<http://www.lgo.org.uk/forms/ShowForm.asp...> or call 0300 061 0614 to speak to one of our Advisers, as the FOI Officer cannot deal with your complaint.

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NOTICE - This message contains information intended only for the use of the addressee named above. If you have received this message in error please advise us at once and do not make any use of the information.

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