Transforming Bailiff Action consultation paper

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Justice

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.

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear Ministry of Justice,

I would like the Ministry of Justice to supply any details (correspondence – emails, memos etc.) in connection with Rossendale's involvement in the Transforming Bailiff Action consultation paper, in particular the MoJ's proposals for the new fee structure for enforcement firms.

I'm requesting the release of this information quite simply because of my disbelief a government department would want to associate itself with – and take advice – from a firm that systematically defrauds the public through its enforcement contracts with numerous local authorities.

Something else equally baffling is how the government department responsible for awarding the Government Standard accreditation, "Customer Service Excellence (CSE)" justified awarding this to Rossendales.

Despite Rossendales becoming notorious for malpractice – featuring in the press, on TV, and frequently on consumer help websites – major contracts have been awarded by Central Government, adding to their already established local authority client base. Examples being the Legal Services Commission, Student Loans Company and CSA. Particularly damning is a report in the Law Society Gazette in regards Rossendales and the LSC contract: http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/lsc-deb...

Promoting a favourable image of Rossendales to the public must be considered a number one priority and well worth the effort. A chain of news papers have on their online editions, pre-set their automatic censoring devices to blank-out any entries of the word "Rossendales" which are included in comments submitted on their sites. Some work must also have gone into rigging the Google News search engine because despite the numerous news articles involving Rossendale's malpractice existing, searches using appropriate terms which would ordinarily turn up results, miraculously yields nothing.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Gilliatt

Fowler, Rebecca, Ministry of Justice

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Gilliatt,
 
Further to your email of 17 December 2012, please see attached
acknowledgment of your Freedom of Information request.
 
Regards,
 
Rebecca Fowler
Civil Costs & Private Funding
Access to Justice, Justice Policy Group
Ministry of Justice
4.22, 4th Floor 102 Petty France
London. SW1H 9AJ
DX 152380 Westminster 8
 
Tel: 020 3334 3180
Fax: 020 3334 6457
 
 

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Fowler, Rebecca, Ministry of Justice

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Gilliatt,
 
Further to your Freedom of Information request of 17 December, please see
attached letter.
Regards,
 
Rebecca Fowler
Civil Litigation Funding & Costs
Access to Justice, Justice Policy Group
Ministry of Justice
4.37, 4th Floor 102 Petty France
London. SW1H 9AJ
DX 152380 Westminster 8
 
Tel: 020 3334 3180
Fax: 020 3334 3147
 
 

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could be intercepted and read by someone else. Please bear that in
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Fowler, Rebecca, Ministry of Justice

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Gilliatt,
 
Further to your Freedom of Information request of 17 December, please see
attached letter.
 
 
Regards,
 
Rebecca Fowler
Civil Litigation Funding & Costs
Access to Justice, Justice Policy Group
Ministry of Justice
4.37, 4th Floor 102 Petty France
London. SW1H 9AJ
DX 152380 Westminster 8
 
Tel: 020 3334 3180
Fax: 020 3334 3147
 
 

This e-mail (and any attachment) is intended only for the attention of
the addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying
is not permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy
all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail.

Internet e-mail is not a secure medium. Any reply to this message
could be intercepted and read by someone else. Please bear that in
mind when deciding whether to send material in response to this message
by e-mail.

This e-mail (whether you are the sender or the recipient) may be
monitored, recorded and retained by the Ministry of Justice. E-mail
monitoring / blocking software may be used, and e-mail content may be
read at any time. You have a responsibility to ensure laws are not
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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
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Fowler, Rebecca, Ministry of Justice

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Gilliatt,
 
Further to your recent Freedom of Information request, with apologies for
the delay, please see attached response.
 
Regards,
 
Rebecca
 
 
Rebecca Fowler
Civil Costs & Private Funding
Access to Justice, Justice Policy Group
Ministry of Justice
4.22, 4th Floor 102 Petty France
London. SW1H 9AJ
DX 152380 Westminster 8
 
Tel: 020 3334 3180
Fax: 020 3334 6457
 
 

This e-mail (and any attachment) is intended only for the attention of
the addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying
is not permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy
all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail.

Internet e-mail is not a secure medium. Any reply to this message
could be intercepted and read by someone else. Please bear that in
mind when deciding whether to send material in response to this message
by e-mail.

This e-mail (whether you are the sender or the recipient) may be
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read at any time. You have a responsibility to ensure laws are not
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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear Ministry of Justice,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Ministry of Justice's handling of my FOI request 'Transforming Bailiff Action consultation paper'.

"We have withheld one letter requested because it relates to formulation of government policy and is exempt from disclosure under section 35(1)(a) of the Act. We will not be able to provide this to you."

It is simply unacceptable that information considered exempt from disclosure under section 35(1)(a) of the FoIA is shared with a known criminal firm of bailiffs.

The public interest considerations favouring withholding the information amount to evidence that the Ministry of Justice is a wholly unaccountable government department.

Re; the document withheld because it was provided in confidence.

The MoJ understands it is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and should, in the interest of accountability, have taken steps to prevent the potential conflict by removing the condition of secrecy. In any event, this doesn't look good for how government business is carried out. What is there to hide?

Finally, information exempt from disclosure under section 43(2) of the Act as it is commercially sensitive.

There cannot logically be any commercially sensitive issues surrounding a proposed business which requires unification of policy and pricing structure.

Please reconsider disclosing the withheld information.

I don't think the opportunity should be missed here of expressing an opinion about the most relevant and overlooked issues surrounding the Transforming Bailiff Action consultation and the proposals for the new fee structure.

Council Tax enforcement and the associated fees were never intended for profiting as they were originally in-house operations. All fees and charges are the council's fees in law. Part of the authority's contractual arrangements with the bailiff company will detail the fact that the council will allow the bailiff firm to retain the enforcement fees themselves. External bailiff fees do not exist in the collection of council tax debt, they are always the council's enforcement fees.

The question must therefore be, not only why the government is agreeable to offering a business opportunity for private bailiff firms to legitimately make millions annually, but why currently they have allowed them to profit from statutory prescribed fees intended only to cover council's costs?

Irresponsible councils have worsened this situation by exploiting these firms in their contracts which oblige them to take on additional administration for free – Attachment of Earnings for example, not to mention those which demand a percentage of fees. It hardly needs mentioning the added pressure put on these firms makes them cut corners to turn round a profit. Outsourcing these operations has failed, but nobody seems to be admitting it.

Outsourcing enforcement to private companies, means there are overheads such as in the case of Rossendales, a millionaire chairwoman's lifestyle. However, creating millionaires on the back of struggling householders is not what the fees and charges connected with distress were intended. The government can not expect householders to meet the additional costs of sustaining private companies purely because it is convenient for the MoJ to have this arrangement.

The new fee structure helped along by the likes of Rossendales, will be implemented with private enforcement firms in mind to achieve easier profits. This decision should be reversed immediately and enforcement put back in the hands of local authorities – that is of course if a fairer way of collecting local taxes can't be found which doesn't involve the currently used automated factory like methods.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/tr...

Yours faithfully,

Neil Gilliatt

Sawyers, Joanna, MOJ HQ, Ministry of Justice

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Gilliat

Please find attached an acknowledgement to your request for an internal review of your Freedom Of Information Request.

Kind regards

Jo Sawyers
Ministry of Justice
Policy Adviser
Regulations and Redress Branch
Justice Policy Group
102 Petty France, 4th Floor (4.19)
London, SW1H 9AJ
DX 152380 Westminster 8
Email: [email address]

This e-mail (and any attachment) is intended only for the attention of
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is not permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
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Internet e-mail is not a secure medium. Any reply to this message
could be intercepted and read by someone else. Please bear that in
mind when deciding whether to send material in response to this message
by e-mail.

This e-mail (whether you are the sender or the recipient) may be
monitored, recorded and retained by the Ministry of Justice. E-mail
monitoring / blocking software may be used, and e-mail content may be
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Sawyers, Joanna, MOJ HQ, Ministry of Justice

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Gilliatt
 
Please find attached a response to your recent request for an Internal
Review of your Freedom of Information Request response.
 
Kind regards
 
 
 
 
 
Jo Sawyers
Ministry of Justice
Policy Adviser
Regulations and Redress Branch
Justice Policy Group
102 Petty France, 4th Floor (4.19)
London, SW1H 9AJ
DX 152380 Westminster 8
Email: [email address]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This e-mail (and any attachment) is intended only for the attention of
the addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying
is not permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy
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Internet e-mail is not a secure medium. Any reply to this message
could be intercepted and read by someone else. Please bear that in
mind when deciding whether to send material in response to this message
by e-mail.

This e-mail (whether you are the sender or the recipient) may be
monitored, recorded and retained by the Ministry of Justice. E-mail
monitoring / blocking software may be used, and e-mail content may be
read at any time. You have a responsibility to ensure laws are not
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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
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