Rules relating to the appropriation of payments made by a debtor who owes a number of distinct debts to his creditor

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) made this Freedom of Information request to The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear Local Government Ombudsmen,

Lambeth Borough Council was asked to confirm that is used the 'Capita Academy' council tax software and if the statement quoted below was correct regarding how payments are appropriated to a person's Council Tax account when more than one sum is outstanding for different year's liability:

“When any payment is received by the Council it will, unless otherwise specified by the Taxpayer, reduce the balance outstanding for the current year’s outstanding Council Tax or NNDR. Once payment in full has been made for the current financial year any payments subsequently received will go towards reducing any outstanding arrears from previous financial years.”

LAMBETH'S RESPONSE

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/3...

" I can confirm that both statements are a true reflection of our allocation processes.

The council tax regulations are silent as regards payments allocations. Therefore we follow the general principles

• that a payment tendered in an amount which matches an instalment calculated under the regulations, or has been otherwise agreed with the taxpayer in advance of payment, will be allocated against that instalment,

• where the tax payer gives clear instructions at the time of, or shortly after, the payment is made the payment will be allocated in accordance with those instructions,

• in the absence of clear instructions the council will allocate payments to the current year or youngest debt first and arrears after that is clear. "

It is presumed that the 'general principles' referred to by Lambeth Borough Council are taken from established laws of appropriation of payments.

Please disclose the recorded information that the LGO must have to refer to when investigating complaints about local authorities allocating payments wrongly.

Yours faithfully,

fFaudwAtch UK

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 fFaudwAtch UK

In response to the question in the last sentence of your email below, we have staff guidance on dealing with complaints about local taxation, including allocating payments. An extract covering this issue is attached. This is all the information we have on this issue.

You have the right to appeal against the way we have dealt with your request so I enclose a copy of our internal complaints procedure. You can also ask the Information Commissioner to ensure that we have responded properly to your request. You do, however, need to go through our internal complaints process first. You will be able to obtain further details of the Information Commissioner’s role from the website on (www.ico.org.uk).

Yours sincerely

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

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fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear Foi Officer,

Thank you for the information that is provided to LGO investigating officers for dealing with problems arising from complaints about billing authorities allocating payments wrongly.

I note the date being August 2016 and wonder whether the document has been produced as a consequence of a complaint which dealt extensively with North East Lincolnshire Council allocating payments wrongly (Ref: 15 020 295).

In reference to pages 370 and 371 ( http://tinyurl.com/ju2pokj ), the Summary of the Ombudsman's Final Decision states that:

"The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint that the Council allocated council tax payments to the wrong account. The courts are better placed to deal with this matter."

I would like informing – if the information has been produced as a consequence of that complaint – why the LGO has not benefited from the extensively researched representations and produced advice which is correct and in the interest of Council Taxpayers who have been aggrieved by incurring unwarranted enforcement costs due to payments being allocated wrongly.

In any event, the information is not true guidance as it predominantly informs investigating officers how billing authorities deal with payments, according to their own policies, as opposed the established laws of appropriation.

There is just one more query I have. I am intrigued to know how the ombudsman came to the following determination:

" After a summons is issued the computer may then allocate instalment payments to any arrears – as the right to pay by instalments is been lost once a final notice has been issued. "

Yours sincerely,

fFaudwAtch UK

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

Dear fFaudwAtch UK

The full version of the guidance I sent you an extract from was reviewed, and some parts were amended, in August 2016. The extract I sent you was not changed at that time. So no, it was not produced as a consequence of complaint 15 020 295.

Yours sincerely

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

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fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear Foi Officer,

Thank you for your reply in which you state that the guidance was not produced as a consequence of complaint 15 020 295.

However, it remains a valid query as to why the LGO has not benefited from the comprehensively researched representations and produced advice which is correct and in the interest of Council Taxpayers who have been aggrieved etc. etc.

I would also appreciate knowing how the ombudsman came to the following determination:

" After a summons is issued the computer may then allocate instalment payments to any arrears – as the right to pay by instalments is been lost once a final notice has been issued. "

Yours sincerely,

fFaudwAtch UK

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

Dear fFaudwAtch UK

We hold no recorded information on these matters. The information is not held.

Yours sincerely

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

show quoted sections

Rob Down left an annotation ()

I've been asked for help by deciding whether or not the request was successful, so I said partially.

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