When to charge – Schedule 5 Header H fee

The request was successful.

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

With regards the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 (As amended) and more specifically Schedule 5 Header H fee of the regulations.

1) Please define your policy for the following scenario with regards North East Lincolnshire Council charging a debtor the £24.50 fee listed in the schedule.

THE SCENARIO:

North East Lincolnshire Council, or a bailiff acting for them, levies goods to enforce council tax debt but has not physically removed any items.

For reasons, such as the debtor's case being returned to the council or the debt being settled, can this Header H fee be charged to the debtor?

Can you also supply any legal documentation to support your
response?

2) Between financial years 2006 and 2011;

Please supply the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header H fee, as a result of the council or its agents levying a council tax debt, where goods had not been physically removed?

Please categorise the number into;

a) The number of residents incurring the fee, and

b) The number of residents who paid the fee

Yours faithfully,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir/Madam

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been allocated the reference number FOI/190411/12.

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of Information requests is available on our website at: http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council/the-co...

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer
North East Lincolnshire Council

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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your information request, reference number 190411/12

I wish to confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council does not hold the
information you have requested

In relation to your first question we do not have specific separate
documentation for the scenario that you describe

In relation to the second question, we do not hold this information as we
do not add these costs or record them on our system

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of North East Lincolnshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'When to charge – Schedule 5 Header H fee'.

The council do hold the information I'm requesting.

I believe the authority is refusing to release it because, depending on the outcome, it would potentially leave the council open to legal challenge.

Please provide the information I requested.

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

Yours faithfully,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your email requesting an internal review of your Freedom
of Information request regarding 'When to charge - Schedule 5 Header H
fee'. This has been passed to the appropriate service for processing and
you will receive a response from the Council in due course.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer
North East Lincolnshire Council

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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

We have conducted an internal review of your Freedom of Information
Request FOI/190411/12. Having considered the original request and the
council's response, I can confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council
does not hold the information you request. There is no documentation which
relates to the scenario you outline in your initial request. In relation
to your second question, North East Lincolnshire Council does not hold the
information you request. As you were informed in our original response,
North East Lincolnshire Council do not add these costs and nor are they
recorded on our system. The information you request may be held by
Rossendales bailiffs and they can be contacted at -

Rossendales Limited
Customer Contact Centre
Wavell House
Holcombe Road
Helmshore
Rossendale
Lancashire 
BB4 4NB

Telephone: 0844 701 3980
Fax:   0844 701 3982

We are satisfied that North East Lincolnshire Council has handled your
request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act in terms of
timeliness, confirming that the information is not held by the Council,
and providing you with your rights of appeal.

 
If you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request or
are dissatisfied with the decision of the internal review you have the
right to contact the Information Commissioner's Office for an independent
review. The contact details for the Information Commissioner's Office are:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone 08456 306060 or 01625 545745

    
Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer
North East Lincolnshire Council

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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

NELC is wholly responsible for its enforcement agents Rossendales and should have a record of all activity relating to them.

More crucially, the enforcement fees (including "Head H") outlined in Schedule 5 of the Council Tax(Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, are the authority's enforcement fees.

Part of the council's contractual arrangements with Rossendales will detail the fact that it allows them to retain the enforcement fees.

However, the council must be invoiced for these fees, as it is required to pay VAT on whatever fees are collected by Rossendales.

Considering this, it takes some believing that the council wouldn't have records of what enforcement fees have been charged.

For a number of years, the Institute of Public Finance has recommended where improvements can be made in the Council Tax Service. In its "Best Practice Model" it has identified that sharing and transferring information is a key area for councils to be focussing on. In particular it recommends that "Schedules of changes to cases are transferred daily electronically".

NELC's own policy (Corporate Debt Recovery Strategy) details that information should flow between the bailiff firm and the council in an electronic format.

See:

http://i1205.photobucket.com/albums/bb43...

Also detailed in the link is a sample of a council's formal complaint response which clearly demonstrates it does in fact have access to the information I'm being refused.

If the council are unwilling to release details to the public, it should at the very least be reconsidering its policies with regards enforcement fees if legal action is to be avoided.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to acknowledge receipt of your comments in relation to the Internal Review undertaken in relation to Freedom of Information request FOI/190411/12, which are noted by the Council.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your acknowledgement email of 18 January 2012.

I'm unsure whether you are still refusing to supply the information or if this decision is likely to be reversed because of the information I sent in my email of 12 January 2012.

Please indicate if the information will now be supplied? Your response will have a bearing on whether or not the ICO need contacting.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Further to the Council's original response and Internal Review I can
confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council does not hold the
information you have requested

If you are dissatisfied with the Council's handling of your request or
are dissatisfied with the decision of the internal review you have the
right to contact the Information Commissioner's Office for an
independent review. The contact details for the Information
Commissioner's Office are:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone 08456 306060 or 01625 545745

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

The information I supplied in my January 12 email contains evidence that you do hold the information.

By confirming that North East Lincolnshire Council does not hold information I requested, I can only conclude you are lying, or, have been misinformed by someone.

I therefore have no choice but to progress my concerns to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

I'd like to bring to your attention the 10 January 2012 email and the following statement:

"In relation to the second question, we do not hold this information as we do not add these costs or record them on our system"

And the 12 January 2012 email

"The information you request may be held by
Rossendales bailiffs and they can be contacted at -

Rossendales Limited
Customer Contact Centre...."

It seems you have made provision in the Service Level Agreement between North East Lincolnshire council and Rossendales bailiffs, for Rossendales to "assist and co-operate with the Council" in supplying requested information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/GetAsset.aspx?...

Item 3.58

"3.58 Rossendales understands and acknowledges the Council is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and agrees to assist and co-operate with the Council to enable it to comply fully with its disclosure obligations including supplying requested information within 48 hours of being asked to do so by the council."

Please supply the information I originally requested within the next 72 hours.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to acknowledge your further query in relation to request FOI/190411/12.

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving the response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of Information requests is available on our website at: http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-and-de...

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation
North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 28 June 2012 email.

I would like to add a further couple of questions to my request as these also relate to Rossendales' fees and charges.

With regards the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 (As amended) and more specifically Schedule 5 Header C fee of the regulations,

Between financial years 2006 and 2011;

Q.1 Please supply the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header C fee, as a result of the council or its agents enforcing alleged council tax debt

Please categorise this into the number;

a) of residents incurring the fee,

b) incurring the fee where no prior levy was in place

c) incurring the fee at the same time a levy was made

d) incurring the fee where the bailiff attended with insufficient transport to remove goods levied on a prior visit

e) incurring the fee where the bailiff attended with insufficient transport to remove goods which had not been identified on a prior visit/levy

For example, if a bailiff attended without bringing at least a removal van and vehicle recovery truck, this would be classed as insufficient transport.

f) incurring the fee on the same attendance where a vehicle had been levied, before confirmation of ownership.

g) incurring the fee on the same attendance where a vehicle had been levied, when ownership.had already been confirmed but where a vehicle recovery truck had not been brought.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been allocated the reference number 3024_1213.

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of Information requests is available on our website at: http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-and-de....

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Admin Assistant

North East Lincolnshire Council

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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Further to the Council's original response and Internal Review I can confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council does not hold the information you have requested

If you are dissatisfied with the Council's handling of your request or are dissatisfied with the decision of the internal review you have the right to contact the Information Commissioner's Office for an independent review. The contact details for the Information Commissioner's Office are Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation, Informatics and Research| North East Lincolnshire Council

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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your information request, reference number 3024_1213. I wish to confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council does not hold the information you have requested

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me and I will make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation, Informatics and Research| North East Lincolnshire Council

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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 17 July 2012 emails.

Firstly with regards to FOI/190411/12, can you confirm whether or not the Information Commissioner has contacted NELC?

Secondly with regards to FOI/190411/12 and 3024_1213, have you stated that North East Lincolnshire Council does not hold the information because either Rossendales does not hold it or they have refused to supply the requested information after being asked to do so by the council?

Re; Item 3.58 the Service Level Agreement between North East Lincolnshire council and Rossendales bailiffs:

"3.58 Rossendales understands and acknowledges the Council is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and agrees to assist and co-operate with the Council to enable it to comply fully with its disclosure obligations including supplying requested information within 48 hours of being asked to do so by the council."

http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/GetAsset.aspx?...

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of North East Lincolnshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'When to charge – Schedule 5 Header H fee'.

Please review you decision for 3024_1213.

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

Yours faithfully,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

The Council was asking North East Lincs residents to curb their Freedom of Information Requests in an article appearing in the Grimsby Telegraph a day or two ago because of the cost involved in dealing with them.

This FOI request is a perfect example of why so much taxpayer's money is spent. Simply answering the questions in the first place would save so much.

Anyway,

North East Lincolnshire council has turned its focus to scapegoat those who submit Freedom of Information Requests in its latest bid to lay blame for money diverted away from important services. Earlier this year in a Grimsby Telegraph report, the council stated more than £272,000 was diverted from "caring for the elderly" were the finger pointed at council tax evaders.

http://www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk/Time-toug...

However, it was brought to light by a request that the sum quoted to the Telegraph was around £268,000 higher than reality. Had it not been for an astute reader with a keen eye for these statistics it may never have come to light that the actual in year write off figure was only £4,270.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...

Some requests made to NELC can be viewed publically on the FOI strand of the "my society" group of websites which provide the public with simple, tangible ways to connect with and improve their society. It is clear from reading a sample that transparency provided for the public is matched equally with benefits for the council. The public can be much more knowlegeable and on the ball than the council in certain areas of administration, which is evident with certain requests. The council, despite an estimated £45,000 being spent dealing with these, are benefitting from a service, provided by the volunteering public. The request process often highlights where policies need to be tightened and can alert the authority to their actions which can potentially prevent reputational risk and/or legal challenge.

One of these alerted the council that its policy for council tax recovery was in need of desperate revision. Had this request not been made, hundreds of householders would still be taken to court each year for insignificant amounts owed to the authority in council tax which had been discovered to be as low as a penny in three cases.

While the bill for providing openness is relatively low, costs could be reduced further if the council resisted temptation of citing FOI Act legislation in the hope information may be exempt from release. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) who oversees Freedom of Information received 1,922 complaints in 2011-12, where 43% of the total number were about local authorities. More cooperation then with the service would mean a lot less spent overall on these requests.

The council deemed £45,000 costs of the service to be a sufficiently accurate estimate to release to the Grimsby Telegraph. Ironically, NELC was asked for the total cost, thought to be thousands, it spent dealing with complaints about its enforcement contractor 'Rossendales', but could not be established as the associated costs were not recorded.

Hollingsworth, Ian, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your information request.

Firstly with regards to FOI_19041112, we can confirm that the Information Commissioner has contacted North East Lincolnshire Council in relation to this.

Secondly with regards to FOI_19041112 and 3024_1213, I can confirm that North East Lincolnshire does not hold the requested information under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Ian Hollingsworth
Informatics and Research Team

North East Lincolnshire Council

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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

An Internal Review has taken place following your correspondence of July 17th 2012, into North East Lincolnshire Council's handling of your information request FOI3024_1213.

I have reviewed the responses provided to you and find that North East Lincolnshire Council has meet its responsibilities to you under the Freedom of Information Act, namely:

• To inform you whether or not the information is held by North East Lincolnshire Council;
• To comply with the request within the statutory time of 20 working days;
• To provide you with the information disclosable under the Act;
• To explain, if appropriate, why the information cannot be supplied to you; and
• To provide you with your rights of appeal.

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Ian Hollingsworth
Informatics and Research Team

North East Lincolnshire Council

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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 19 July 2012 emails.

With regards to FOI_19041112 and 3024_1213, you have stated that "North East Lincolnshire does not hold the requested information under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act."

Isn't it more accurate to say that you are refusing to supply the requested information – not because of any terms of the Freedom of Information Act – but because it would reveal the extent to which NELincs residents have been defrauded by NE£incs council, if released?

A recent report dated 10 July 2012 on an investigation into complaint no 11 007 684 against Blaby District Council suggests why NE£incs council might not want to supply this information.

http://www.lgo.org.uk/GetAsset.aspx?id=f...

From report (item 48)

Head H fee

48. I note the bailiffs charged a ‘redemption fee’ of £24.50 under Head H of Schedule 5 in respect of one of the vehicles on the 2005 liability order. This fee was removed when the Council established the car did not belong to Mrs Smith. I welcome this action. But the Head H fee should not have been applied on the facts of this case: the goods were not ‘made available for collection by the debtor’ as they were never removed. This was maladministration.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Further to your request 1904-1112, which asked for the financial years 2006 and 2011 the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header H fee, as a result of the council or its agents levying a council tax debt, where goods had not been physically removed? You asked that this was categorised into a) The number of residents incurring the fee, and b) The number of residents who paid the fee.

Our original response was that North East Lincolnshire Council did not hold this information. Further investigations have identified that North East Lincolnshire Council do hold the information you requested. We therefore wish to withdraw our application of a refusal notice under section 1.

To locate, retrieve and extract the information you have requested concerning Header H fees for the period 2006/07 to 2011/12, would require the manual review of over 29,000 Council Tax and 2,000 Business Rate accounts passed to the bailiffs. We estimate that based on an assessment of 10 minutes to identify and review each account it would take over 4,800 hours (£120,000) to extract the information you have requested exceeding the appropriate limit of £450 (18 hours).

We have considered our duty under section 16 to provide advice and assistance to an applicant to refine their request, so that it can be answered without exceeding the appropriate limit. Based on this consideration we have determined that due to the large number of accounts it is not possible to refine the request so that it could be responded to without exceeding the appropriate limit. The Council is not obliged to respond to a request where to do so would exceed the appropriate limit. We are therefore applying a refusal notice to your request under section 12, as to respond to your request would exceed the appropriate limit of £450 (18 hours).

If you are dissatisfied with the Council's handling of your request or are dissatisfied with the decision of the internal review you have the right to contact the Information Commissioner's Office for an independent review. The contact details for the Information Commissioner's Office are Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation, Informatics and Research
North East Lincolnshire Council

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<p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>This electronic message contains information from North East Lincolnshire Council
which may be privileged or confidential. The information is intended to be for
the use of the individual(s) or entity named above. If you are not the intended
recipient be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the
contents of this information is prohibited. If you have received this
electronic message in error, please telephone or email the number(s) or address
above immediately. Activity and use of the North East Lincolnshire email system
is monitored to secure its effective operation and for other lawful business
purposes. Communications using this system will also be monitored and may be
recorded to secure effective operation and for other lawful business purposes.
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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

Further to your request 3024-1213, which asked for the number of North
East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header C fee, as a
result of the council or its agents enforcing alleged council tax debt

 

Our original response was that North East Lincolnshire Council did not
hold this information. Further investigations have identified that North
East Lincolnshire Council do hold the information you requested. We
therefore wish to withdraw our application of a refusal notice under
section 1.

 

To locate, retrieve and extract the information you have requested
concerning Header C fees, would require the manual review of over 29,000
Council Tax and 2,000 Business Rate accounts passed to the bailiffs. We
estimate that based on an assessment of 10 minutes to identify and review
each account it would take over 4,800 hours (£120,000) to extract the
information you have requested exceeding the appropriate limit of £450 (18
hours).

 

We have considered our duty under section 16 to provide advice and
assistance to an applicant to refine their request, so that it can be
answered without exceeding the appropriate limit. Based on this
consideration we have determined that due to the large number of accounts
it is not possible to refine the request so that it could be responded to
without exceeding the appropriate limit. The Council is not obliged to
respond to a request where to do so would exceed the appropriate limit. We
are therefore applying a refusal notice to your request under section 12,
as to respond to your request would exceed the appropriate limit of £450
(18 hours).

 

If you are dissatisfied with the Council's handling of your request or are
dissatisfied with the decision of the internal review you have the right
to contact the Information Commissioner's Office for an independent
review. The contact details for the Information Commissioner's Office are
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

    

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

    

Paul Ellis

Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation,
Informatics and Research

North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of North East Lincolnshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'When to charge – Schedule 5 Header H fee'.

Thank you for making it clear without any doubt that my suspicions are correct about NELC being an untrustworthy, deceitful, lying authority.

I can see why whoever is responsible for defrauding North East Lincs residents "en masse" would want this information withheld. I suppose the desperation of those facing the possibility of doing time would resort to whatever measures they thought necessary to avoid a custodial sentence.

You may be able to fob me off and the Information commissioner with lie upon lie, but I doubt you will be able to apply a refusal notice under Section 1, 16, 12 or whatever section you feel is appropriate to pluck from the air, if the Serious Fraud Office requests this information.

North East Lincolnshire Council has stated and maintained after internal reviews of both 3024_1213 and FOI/190411/12 that it does not hold the information I requested.

What has changed for the council to decide that it does hold the information after all?

You even specifically stated in your 10 and 12 January 2012 emails that North East Lincolnshire Council do not add these costs and nor are they recorded on its system.

If the reason you suddenly do have the information is because you have contacted and obtained it from Rossendales bailiffs, then they can also bare the cost of sorting the requested data.

Further to this, there is no reason why I should believe the estimate for the time taken (based on an assessment of 10 minutes for each account) would take over 4,800 hours to extract the information, both for 1904-1112 and 3024_1213.

One, because NELC have proved themselves to be liars and,

Two because you have estimated both requests would take the same time to extract the information.

FOI 1904-1112 has clearly a fraction of the work needed to do this than the much more comprehensive request for information detailed in 3024_1213.

For the above reasons I'm requesting you reconsider your decision for both these Freedom of Information requests.

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

Yours faithfully,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Internal review FOI request 3024_1213

An Internal Review has taken place into North East Lincolnshire Council's handling of your information request 3024_1213, which relates to Schedule 5 Header C fees. I have reviewed the response provided to you and find that North East Lincolnshire Council has met its responsibilities to you under the Freedom of Information Act, namely:

• To inform you whether or not the information is held by North East Lincolnshire Council;
• To comply with the request within the statutory time of 20 working days;
• To explain, why the information cannot be supplied to you;
• To considered our duty under section 16 to provide advice and assistance; and
• To provide you with your rights of appeal.

As stated in your correspondence the Council's initial refusal notice stated that this information was not held by North East Lincolnshire Council, this notice was later withdrawn following further investigations which identified that North East Lincolnshire Council did in fact hold the information you requested . Please accept my apology on behalf of the Council for this initial mistake.

You state that 'FOI 1904-1112 has clearly a fraction of the work needed to do this than the much more comprehensive request for information detailed in 3024_1213.'

Request 3024-1213 asked between financial years 2006 and 2011, please supply the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header C fee, as a result of the council or its agents enforcing alleged council tax debt. Please categorise this into the number a) of residents incurring the fee, b) incurring the fee where no prior levy was in place, c) incurring the fee at the same time a levy was made, d) incurring the fee where the bailiff attended with insufficient transport to remove goods levied on a prior visit, e) incurring the fee where the bailiff attended with insufficient transport to remove goods which had not been identified on a prior visit/levy. For example, if a bailiff attended without bringing at least a removal van and vehicle recovery truck, this would be classed as insufficient transport. f) incurring the fee on the same attendance where a vehicle had been levied, before confirmation of ownership, g) incurring the fee on the same attendance where a vehicle had been levied, when ownership had already been confirmed but where a vehicle recovery truck had not been brought

Request 1904-1112 asked between financial years 2006 and 2011, please supply the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header H fee, as a result of the council or its agents levying a council tax debt, where goods had not been physically removed? Please categorise the number into a) The number of residents incurring the fee, and b) The number of residents who paid the fee

Whilst we acknowledge that request 3024-1213 is asking for substantially more detailed information than request 1904-1112, our estimate is based on the time required to review the appropriate Council Tax and Business Rate accounts. To locate, retrieve and extract the information you have requested concerning both Header H and C fees, would require the manual review of over 29,000 Council Tax and 2,000 Business Rate accounts passed to the bailiffs. Our estimate in relation to the appropriate limit for both requests was based on an assumption that at least 10 minutes would be required to identify and review each account. We acknowledge that additional time would be required to review and extract the requested data for many accounts, but we are satisfied that the assumption of 10 minutes per account clearly evidences the substantial time required in relation to both requests, exceeding the appropriate limit and meeting the criteria for a refusal notice under section 12.

North East Lincolnshire Council therefore upholds its decision to issue a refusal notice under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act.

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Internal review FOI request 1904-1112

An Internal Review has taken place into North East Lincolnshire Council's handling of your information request FOI1904_1112, which relates to Schedule 5 Header H fees. I have reviewed the response provided to you and find that North East Lincolnshire Council has met its responsibilities to you under the Freedom of Information Act, namely:

• To inform you whether or not the information is held by North East Lincolnshire Council;
• To comply with the request within the statutory time of 20 working days;
• To explain, why the information cannot be supplied to you;
• To considered our duty under section 16 to provide advice and assistance; and
• To provide you with your rights of appeal.

As stated in your correspondence the Council's initial refusal notice stated that this information was not held by North East Lincolnshire Council, this notice was later withdrawn following further investigations which identified that North East Lincolnshire Council did in fact hold the information you requested . Please accept my apology on behalf of the Council for this initial mistake.

You state that 'FOI 1904-1112 has clearly a fraction of the work needed to do this than the much more comprehensive request for information detailed in 3024_1213.'

Request 1904-1112 asked between financial years 2006 and 2011, please supply the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header H fee, as a result of the council or its agents levying a council tax debt, where goods had not been physically removed? Please categorise the number into a) The number of residents incurring the fee, and b) The number of residents who paid the fee

Request 3024-1213 asked between financial years 2006 and 2011, please supply the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header C fee, as a result of the council or its agents enforcing alleged council tax debt. Please categorise this into the number a) of residents incurring the fee, b) incurring the fee where no prior levy was in place, c) incurring the fee at the same time a levy was made, d) incurring the fee where the bailiff attended with insufficient transport to remove goods levied on a prior visit, e) incurring the fee where the bailiff attended with insufficient transport to remove goods which had not been identified on a prior visit/levy. For example, if a bailiff attended without bringing at least a removal van and vehicle recovery truck, this would be classed as insufficient transport. f) incurring the fee on the same attendance where a vehicle had been levied, before confirmation of ownership, g) incurring the fee on the same attendance where a vehicle had been levied, when ownership had already been confirmed but where a vehicle recovery truck had not been brought

Whilst we acknowledge that request 3024-1213 is asking for substantially more detailed information than request 1904-1112, our estimate is based on the time required to review the appropriate Council Tax and Business Rate accounts. To locate, retrieve and extract the information you have requested concerning both Header H and C fees, would require the manual review of over 29,000 Council Tax and 2,000 Business Rate accounts passed to the bailiffs. Our estimate in relation to the appropriate limit for both requests was based on an assumption that at least 10 minutes would be required to identify and review each account. We acknowledge that additional time would be required to review and extract the requested data for many accounts, but we are satisfied that the assumption of 10 minutes per account clearly evidences the substantial time required in relation to both requests, exceeding the appropriate limit and meeting the criteria for a refusal notice under section 12.

North East Lincolnshire Council therefore upholds its decision to issue a refusal notice under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act.

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis
Corporate Records and Information Manager
North East Lincolnshire Council

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which may be privileged or confidential. The information is intended to be for
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recipient be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the
contents of this information is prohibited. If you have received this
electronic message in error, please telephone or email the number(s) or address
above immediately. Activity and use of the North East Lincolnshire email system
is monitored to secure its effective operation and for other lawful business
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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 7 September 2012 emails.

I have already referred both 3024_1213 and 1904-1112
to the Information Commissioner and see no point, at this time, communicating with North East Lincolnshire Council over these requests.

However, your latest findings in both internal reviews communicated in your 7 September 2012 emails has made it necessary to submit further information.

For your records, these are the correspondence:

Freedom of Information Ref: 1904-1112

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

03/04/12

Dear Sir/Madam

Re: Independent review of FOI request to NE LINC’S Council – Ref number 190411/12

I made a freedom of information request to North East Lincolnshire Council. The details can be found on the “what do they know” website at the following address:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/wh...

North East Lincolnshire Council claimed not to hold the information I requested, both in its original response and again to the internal review.

However, I believe it does have the information, which it had previously demonstrated to be the case.

My email to the council on 12 January 2012 provides an explanation as to why it would hold the information, and a link to an extract from a letter from North East Lincolnshire council, detailing that it does in fact have a policy with regards the requested information it claimed not to hold.

My opinion is that the council considers releasing this information to be far too big a risk, as it is aware it might have systematically defrauded thousands of it residents. This of course could open the council to legal challenge, but I don’t believe this should be grounds for it to claim the information is not held.

Yours sincerely

Neil Gilliatt

--------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------

Freedom of Information Ref: 3024_1213

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

21/07/12

Dear Sir/Madam

Re: Independent review of FOI request to NE LINC’S Council – Ref number 3024–1213

I made a freedom of information request to North East Lincolnshire Council. The details can be found on the “what do they know” website at the following address:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/wh...

In relation to the above link, the request is detailed in my 28 June 2012 email.

The council claimed not to hold the information I requested, both in its original response and again to the internal review. However, I believe if the council itself does not hold the information, it should easily be obtained from its bailiff contractor Rossendales.

An important point worth noting is the Service Level agreement between NELC and Rossendales which can be found at this link:

http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/GetAsset.aspx?...

The most relevant paragraph is at item 3.58:

"Rossendales understands and acknowledges the Council is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and agrees to assist and co-operate with the Council to enable it to comply fully with its disclosure obligations including supplying requested information within 48 hours of being asked to do so by the council."

My opinion is that the council considers releasing this information to be far too big a risk, as it is aware it might have systematically defrauded thousands of it residents. This of course could open the council to legal challenge, but I don’t believe this should be grounds for it to claim the information is not held.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Ref: FOI/190411/12

I have obtained data which is relevant to my request with the above reference.

I believe in the first instance the information was submitted to CIPFA by NELC.

With the information appearing more easily accessible than the council claims, this throws new light on the request.

Can these figures please be checked by NELC.

(A) Number of cases referred to bailiffs to levy distress

(B) Number of cases referred to bailiffs where goods had been removed

2005-06

(A)
• 4,382 CT
• 327 NNDR

(B)
• 0 CT
• 0 NNDR

2006-07

(A)
• 6,200 CT
• 354 NNDR

(B)
• 4 CT
• 0 NNDR

2007-08

(A)
• 5,610 CT
• 353 NNDR

(B)
• 2 CT
• 0 NNDR

2008-09

(A)
• 5,893 CT
• 373 NNDR

(B)
• ? CT
• ? NNDR

2009-10

(A)
• 4,753 CT
• 306 NNDR

(B)
• ? CT
• ? NNDR

2010-11

(A)
• ? CT
• ? NNDR

(B)
• ? CT
• ? NNDR

2011-12

(A)
• 4,240 CT
• 686 NNDR

(B)
• 0 CT
• 0 NNDR

The total number of cases referred to bailiffs to levy distress (excluding 2010-11 where no data had been submitted) was:

31,078 CT
2,399 NNDR

All referred cases – 33,477

The total number of cases referred to bailiffs where goods had been removed (excluding 2009-10 and 2010-11 where no data had been submitted) was:

Total B

6 CT
0 NNDR

All referred cases where goods had been removed – 6

The significance here (excluding 2009-10 and 2010-11) is only a maximum of 6 accounts could have been lawfully charged the enforcement fee under header H of Schedule 5 to the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

You will appreciate the importance of this FOI request, considering these figures.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt 
 
Thank you for your further correspondence in relation to your request,
reference number 1904-1112.
 
Whilst the information to CIPFA identifies a number of accounts that may
have been subject to the application of a header H fee, it would not
identify all the accounts that have had a header H applied. As stated in
our internal review response of 16/08/2012, to locate, retrieve and
extract the information you have asked for would require the review of the
Return Reports for each account which would exceed the appropriate limit.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation,
Informatics and Research, Resources Directorate| North East Lincolnshire
Council
 
 

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 22 October 2012 email.

The point was made in my 12 September email, regarding paragraph 3.58 of the Service Level agreement between NELC and Rossendales:

"Rossendales understands and acknowledges the Council is subject to he requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and agrees to assist and co-operate with the Council to enable it to comply fully with its disclosure obligations including supplying requested information within 48 hours of being asked to do so by the council."

There is also an indication that Rossendales are contractually obliged to supply information (at their own expense) at the request of the council.

Quote/

Contract Procedure Rules

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)

It shall be a condition of any contract entered into by the Council that:

(i) Contractors acknowledge that the Council is subject to the requirements of the FOIA and the EIR which may require the release of information

(ii) Contractor shall co-operate with the Council (at contractors’ expense) to enable the Council to comply with its obligations under the FOIA and the EIR...

End quote/

I therefore can not be persuaded that to locate, retrieve and extract the information would exceed the appropriate limit.

Essentially, according to NELC's contracts the cost would be borne by Rossendales.

This matter is with the Information Commissioner. Has the council been contacted on this recently?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council were last contacted by the Information Commissioner in relation to this matter on 14/09/2012.

Yours sincerely

Paul

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation, Informatics and Research, Resources Directorate| North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

On receiving new figures today from the Information Commissioner, I wish to narrow the scope of my request by modifying my original terms as such:

In relation to the first quarter of the accounting period (2011-12), or so much of it permitting monitoring of 540 (approx.) individual's cases;

Please supply the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header H fee, as a result of the council or its agents levying a council tax debt where goods had not physically been removed?

Where data cannot by reliably obtained due to paragraph 23 of the Information Commissioner's Decision notice (22 November 2012), please obtain the data corresponding to the same period in accordance with paragraph 3.58 of its Service Level Agreement with Rossendales.

References:

Information Commissioner's Decision Notice 22 November 2012:

"23. The Council further explained that in cases where there had been a full payment of costs to the bailiffs separate Return files were not sent to the Council. In these cases the Council holds the information on the payment received from the bailiff for the debt only."

Service Level Agreement between NELC and Rossendales:

"3.58 Rossendales understands and acknowledges the Council is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and agrees to assist and co-operate with the Council to enable it to comply fully with its disclosure obligations including supplying requested information within 48 hours of being asked to do so by the council."

http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/GetAsset.aspx?...

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

On the assumption CIPFA's data is accurate for 2011-12 and the number of cases referred to bailiffs were goods are removed is in fact zero for both Council Tax and NNDR, if this makes the job any easier the main body of my revised request could be simplified as follows:

In relation to the first quarter of the accounting period (2011-12), or so much of it permitting monitoring of 540 (approx.) individual's cases;

Please supply the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header H fee, as a result of the council or its agents levying a council tax debt?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

For the purpose of minimising the processing time of this request, I offer another contingency.

For 2011-12, or so much of it permitting monitoring of as many individual's cases falling within the appropriate costs limit;

Please supply the number of North East Lincolnshire residents incurring a Header H fee, as per schedule 5 to SI 1992/613 or schedule 3 to SI 1989/1058.

Please note that none of the three modified options require the account payer to have paid the fee and in all cases the following applies:

Where data cannot by reliably obtained due to paragraph 23 of the Information Commissioner's Decision notice (22 November 2012), please obtain the data corresponding to the same period in accordance with paragraph 3.58 of its Service Level Agreement with Rossendales.

References:

Information Commissioner's Decision Notice 22 November 2012:

"23. The Council further explained that in cases where there had been a full payment of costs to the bailiffs separate Return files were not sent to the Council. In these cases the Council holds the information on the payment received from the bailiff for the debt only."

Service Level Agreement between NELC and Rossendales:

"3.58 Rossendales understands and acknowledges the Council is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and agrees to assist and co-operate with the Council to enable it to comply fully with its disclosure obligations including supplying requested information within 48 hours of being asked to do so by the council."

http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/GetAsset.aspx?...

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

I am pleased to acknowledge the 3 e-mails you sent on 23/11/12 (16:00 &
16:48) and 24/11/12 (15:37) concerning request 1904-1112. Your
e-mails identify revised criteria for your request for the number of
residents who have incurred the Header H fee in relation to Council Tax.

 

The revised criteria you have proposed, has asked for details covering
both the first quarter of 2011/12 and the whole of 2011/12, or for as many
cases as would fall within the appropriate limit.

 

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act does not oblige a public
authority to comply with a request for information if the authority
estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the
appropriate limit. The appropriate cost limit for public authorities such
as North East Lincolnshire Council is £450. When determining the cost of
complying with a request, we take into account the time taken in:

 

·         Determining whether it holds the information;

·         Locating the information, or a document which may contain the
information;

·         Retrieving the information, or a document which may contain the
information; and

·         Extracting the information from a document containing it.

 

As we have previously informed you, we estimate that the time required to
review the Return Report provided for each case and extract the
information you require would take 3 minutes per account.

 

In 2011/12, 4,257 Council Tax accounts were passed by the Council to the
bailiffs, to review each of these cases would cost £5,300

 

4,257 accounts x 3 minutes = 212 hours x £25 = £5,300

 

In quarter 1 of 2011/12, 1,332 Council Tax accounts were passed by the
Council to the bailiffs, to review each of these cases would cost £1,650

 

1,332 accounts x 3 minutes = 66 hours x £25 = £1,650

 

Section 12 applies where the time estimated for the activities of
determining, locating, retrieving and extracting would exceed the
appropriate limit. Where section 12 applies, the Council is not required
to undertake work up to and including the appropriate limit to respond to
the request.

 

Whilst to extract the information you have requested for either the whole
of 2011/12 or the first quarter would exceed the appropriate limit of
£450, we have determined that we could provide you with the details for
April 2011 (211 cases).

 

Please let me know if you wish to refine the scope of your request to the
number of residents referred to the bailiffs in April 2011 who incurred
the Header H fee in relation to Council Tax.

 

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Paul Ellis

Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation,
Informatics and Research, Resources Directorate| North East Lincolnshire
Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 29 November 2012 email.

A few points need clarifying before finalising this request.

http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/...

Some of the information contained within the decision notice (linked above), formed the basis of my modified request options in the previous emails.

A) Paragraphs 20, 22 and 24, imply 2 minutes would be required to obtain the information for each case as the scope had been narrowed to include only accounts incurring the fee. Whether the fee had been paid (an element originally required) is no longer relevant. According to paragraph 20, this was the sole reason 3 minutes per case had been added to the otherwise 2 minutes to retrieve and extract the information.

20. In its internal review the Council estimated that each account review would take 10 minutes. However, following further investigation it confirmed to the Commissioner that following a sampling exercise it had identified a quicker method to locate, retrieve and extract the requested information and was able to reduce its estimate to 3 minutes for each account.

22. The Council explained that to determine whether the Header H fee had been paid it would need to consider all the payments received on the Return as some accounts are only partly paid. The Council stated that the costs incurred by the bailiffs are paid before the liability is paid; therefore if some costs are outstanding the amount would be deducted from the amount of the Header H fee paid. The Council estimated 5 minutes to extract the full information in each of these cases.

24. The Council conducted its sampling exercise for one hour. During this time 19 individuals’ cases were checked and the time recorded to retrieve and extract the information for each case was between 2 and 5 minutes....

B) In my 24 November email (option) I requested only the number of accounts which had incurred the "Header H" fee, i.e., it was inconsequential whether a levy had been made or if the fee had been paid. I viewed this may be simpler to extract the information, however there has been nothing in your 29 November 2012 email to confirm this.

C) Where full payment of costs had been made to the bailiffs, paragraph 23 implied that the council would be unable to check if the "Header H" fee had been incurred, rendering a potential outcome inaccurate.

23. The Council further explained that in cases where there had been a full payment of costs to the bailiffs separate Return files were not sent to the Council. In these cases the Council holds the information on the payment received from the bailiff for the debt only.

D) Paragraph 3.58 of the Service Level Agreement between NELC and Rossendales, states that Rossendales agrees to supply the council with requested information for Freedom of Information purposes.

3.58 Rossendales understands and acknowledges the Council is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and agrees to assist and co-operate with the Council to enable it to comply fully with its disclosure obligations including supplying requested information within 48 hours of being asked to do so by the council.

E) North East Lincolnshire Council's Charging Policy for Information Requests states under Section 11 (Prescribed costs) that the calculation of prescribed costs will not take into account the employee time or costs for locating information due to poor records management practice.

http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/GetAsset.aspx?...

In relation to the above points A to E, please confirm (or otherwise) the following:

A) Two minutes is a realistic estimate to extract the information for each case where only the incurred costs are considered.

B) Omitting to specify that a levy must have been made would simplify the operation.

C) The figures obtained would exclude any in respect of where full payment of costs had been made to the bailiffs

D) North East Lincolnshire Council will not require Rossendales to comply with the contractual agreement at paragraph 3.58. If not, why?

E) North East Lincolnshire Council does not comply with its own charging policy for Information Requests under Section 11. If not, why?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Further to the points raised in your correspondence of November 30th, I am pleased to confirm the following:

A) Two minutes is a realistic estimate to extract the information for each case where only the incurred costs are considered.

As previously stated it is estimated that it would take between 2 and 5 minutes for each case.

B) Omitting to specify that a levy must have been made would simplify the operation.

The change to the scope of your request would not simplify the process to locate, retrieve and extract the information requested as we would still have to review each file to see if a levy took place.

C) The figures obtained would exclude any in respect of where full payment of costs had been made to the bailiffs

That is correct as we do not receive a return file for these accounts.

D) North East Lincolnshire Council will not require Rossendales to comply with the contractual agreement at paragraph 3.58. If not, why?

As stated in the Service Level Agreement Rossendales assist and co-operate with the Council to comply fully with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act. In relation to this request the Council will work with Rossendales as appropriate to respond to the request.

E) North East Lincolnshire Council does not comply with its own charging policy for Information Requests under Section 11. If not, why?

I can confirm that the Council does comply with its Charging Policy for Information Requests in the processing of requests. The application of a refusal notice under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act is based on the format the data you have requested is held within our systems.

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me and I will make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation,
North East Lincolnshire Council

<html>
<p>
<p>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<p>
<p class=MsoNormal style='mso-layout-grid-align:none;text-autospace:none'><span
style='font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Webdings;mso-bidi-font-family:Webdings;
color:green'>P </span><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif";
color:green'>Reduce your environmental footprint, please do not print this
email unless you really need to. </span><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:"Arial","sans-serif";color:blue'><o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='mso-layout-grid-align:none;text-autospace:none'><span
style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif";color:blue'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>
<p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:12.0pt;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>This electronic message contains information from North East Lincolnshire Council
which may be privileged or confidential. The information is intended to be for
the use of the individual(s) or entity named above. If you are not the intended
recipient be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the
contents of this information is prohibited. If you have received this
electronic message in error, please telephone or email the number(s) or address
above immediately. Activity and use of the North East Lincolnshire email system
is monitored to secure its effective operation and for other lawful business
purposes. Communications using this system will also be monitored and may be
recorded to secure effective operation and for other lawful business purposes.
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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 12 December 2012 email.

I refer to your 29 November 2012 email and ask if you could please supply the information you have determined you can provide, i.e;

" .....we have determined that we could provide you with the details for April 2011 (211 cases).

Please let me know if you wish to refine the scope of your request to the number of residents referred to the bailiffs in April 2011 who incurred the Header H fee in relation to Council Tax "

In the mean time however, I would appreciate a brief justification for the responses to A & B. I don't understand the logic behind them at all.

For example A:

I have eliminated the need to determine whether the Header H fee had been paid. The new scope only requires that the fee had been incurred. Item 22 of the Information Commissioner's decision notice explains categorically that the council's estimate of 5 minutes relates to those accounts in determining whether the Header H fee had been paid. This would account for the average being pushed to 3 minutes, which I can only assume has been derived from item 24 of the decision notice.

" 22. The Council explained that to determine whether the Header H fee had been paid it would need to consider all the payments received on the Return as some accounts are only partly paid. The Council stated that the costs incurred by the bailiffs are paid before the liability is paid; therefore if some costs are outstanding the amount would be deducted from the amount of the Header H fee paid. The Council estimated 5 minutes to extract the full information in each of these cases. "

" 24. The Council conducted its sampling exercise for one hour. During this time 19 individuals’ cases were checked and the time recorded to retrieve and extract the information for each case was between 2 and 5 minutes.... "

In the case of B:

The council has stated that it "would still have to review each file to see if a levy took place."

Whether or not a levy had taken place is irrelevant now the request has been reformulated. In any event, a levy would only have relevance if the fees were imposed lawfully in accordance with the Council Tax (Administration & Enforcement) Regulations 1992. According to the council they do not comply with the law as can be seen in the last two paragraphs, here:

http://i1205.photobucket.com/albums/bb43...

" The £24.50 is due to the adding of a Schedule 5 Head H fee to the account. The letter issued on the 30th March was done so upon the final debrief from the van bailiff, however, the Head H fee had not been added at this point. This fee is the final charge to be taken after all Council Tax Arrears and other bailiff fees are paid in full, however it is added to an account prior to the final payment so that the Council Tax Payer is aware of the final balance due.

I am willing to uphold part of this complaint as the £60.00 was an error made by the bailiff at the time; however I am unable to uphold the complaint regarding the £24.50 as this is a cost which the bailiff company is entitled to. "

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your further correspondence in relation to your request concerning the header H fee (1904-1112). In accordance with your revised criteria we will arrange for you to be provided with the number of North East Lincolnshire residents referred to the bailiffs in April 2011, who have incurred the header H fee.

With regards to your comments in relation to the Council's response to the following points on 12/12/12, the Council's response related to the application of section 12 (appropriate limit) of the Freedom of Information Act and was intended to clarify that to obtain the information requested in your revised request would still require the manual review of the Return Report provided for each relevant case.

A) Two minutes is a realistic estimate to extract the information for each case where only the incurred costs are considered.

As previously stated it is estimated that it would take between 2 and 5 minutes for each case.

B) Omitting to specify that a levy must have been made would simplify the operation.

The change to the scope of your request would not simplify the process to locate, retrieve and extract the information requested as we would still have to review each file to see if a levy took place.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation, Informatics and Research, Resources Directorate| North East Lincolnshire Council

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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 20 December 2012 email.

" B) Omitting to specify that a levy must have been made would simplify the operation.

The change to the scope of your request would not simplify the process to locate, retrieve and extract the information requested as we would still have to review each file to see if a levy took place. "

Checking whether a levy had taken place is not relevant to the request, it is not necessary to know this. I will never understand your logic, however, you win.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

Further to your revised request 1904-1112, I am pleased to provide you
with the information held by the Council in relation to the number of
residents referred to the bailiffs in April 2011 who incurred the Header H
fee in relation to Council Tax

 

Please Note: The Council only hold this information in relation to cases
where we have received a return file, as previously stated we do not
receive a return file for cases which are paid in full to the bailiff.

 

Cases sent                            211

Header H fee incurred        4

Header H fee paid               0

 

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Paul Ellis

Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation,
Informatics and Research, Resources Directorate| North East Lincolnshire
Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 7 January 2013 email.

Please note this is not a fresh FOI request, I'm just asking for some clarification to put the council's response into some kind of perspective.

Could you please clarify how many of the 211 cases sent to Rossendales were in relation to cases where NELC received a return file?

Secondly CIPFA's Revenue Collection Statistics (2011-12 Actuals), states the number of cases referred to bailiff to levy distress for NNDR and Council Tax is 4,926 (4,240 CT & 686 NNDR). This conflicts with the 4,583 NELC quoted to the Information Commissioner. Can the figure be verified?

The same data source (CIPFA) also states that the figure relating to the number of cases referred to bailiff where goods were actually removed, was in fact zero. Is this information correct?

Finally, CIPFA's Revenue Collection Statistics has a category: "Number of Cases Referred to Bailiff to Issue 7 and 14 Day Notices". For the same year, the number quoted here is 11,725 (10,944 CT & 781 NNDR). Can the position be clarified, i.e., what involvement does the bailiff have in respect to these cases?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of North East Lincolnshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'When to charge – Schedule 5 Header H fee'.

I meticulously looked at all the possible ways NELC could and would interpret the request to tailor it to a response it wanted to give.

I covered all angles to avoid this, and the council confirmed in its 12 December 2012 email that the request would be fully complied with, i.e.;

"As stated in the Service Level Agreement Rossendales assist and co-operate with the Council to comply fully with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act. In relation to this request the Council will work with Rossendales as appropriate to respond to the request."

It appears the council has not worked with Rossendales as appropriate to respond to the request, owing to the exclusion of cases which have been paid in full to the bailiff, assuming there have been any.

The council's correspondence leading up to the release of information suggests only Head H fees are included in the figures which have been incurred in cases where a levy had been made. If this is true then the councils return will not necessarily have covered all the fees.

Your email 20 December 2012:

"The change to the scope of your request would not simplify the process to locate, retrieve and extract the information requested as we would still have to review each file to see if a levy took place."

Please review the response and supply the number of cases where the Head H fee was incurred, regardless of cases were full payment had been made to Rossendales or a levy had been made.

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

Yours faithfully,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your further correspondence in relation to Freedom of Information request 1904-1112. I have passed your comments onto the relevant department who will respond within 20 working days.

Kind regards

Ian

Informatics and Research Team

North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your further correspondence in relation to schedule 5 Header H fees. I have passed your comments onto the relevant department who will respond within 20 working days.

Kind regards

Ian

Informatics and Research Team

North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt, 

 

Further to your queries concerning the response to 1904-1112, I am pleased
to provide the following

 

1)    Could you please clarify how many of the 211 cases sent to
Rossendales were in relation to cases where NELC received a return file?

 

·         Return Files received for 118 cases.

 

2)    Secondly CIPFA's Revenue Collection Statistics (2011-12 Actuals),
states the number of cases referred to bailiff to levy distress for NNDR
and Council Tax is 4,926 (4,240 CT & 686 NNDR). This conflicts with the
4,583 NELC quoted to the Information Commissioner. Can the figure be
verified?

 

·         We can confirm that the figures reported to CIPFA and to the
Information Commissioner by the Council were the same figures i.e. Council
Tax 4,240 and NNDR 343

 

3)    The same data source (CIPFA) also states that the figure relating to
the number of cases referred to bailiff where goods were actually removed,
was in fact zero. Is this information correct?

 

·         We can confirm that the figure is correct.

 

4)    Finally, CIPFA's Revenue Collection Statistics has a category:
"Number of Cases Referred to Bailiff to Issue 7 and 14 Day Notices". For
the same year, the number quoted here is 11,725 (10,944 CT & 781 NNDR).
Can the position be clarified, i.e., what involvement does the bailiff
have in respect to these cases?

 

·         The sum reported is the amount of pre bailiff letters North East
Lincolnshire Council sent within the financial year.

 

·         North East Lincolnshire Council is aware that some Bailiff
Companies can provide a service to send these letters however North East
Lincolnshire Council does not subscribe to such a service.

 

An Internal Review has taken place into North East Lincolnshire Council's
handling of your information request 1904-1112 concerning Header H fees.

 

I have reviewed the response provided to you and find that the Council has
met its responsibilities to you under the Freedom of Information Act,
namely:

 

• To inform you whether or not the information is held by North East
Lincolnshire Council;
• To comply with the request within the statutory time of 20 working days;
• To provide you with the information disclosable under the Act, or to
explain, why the information in part or full cannot be supplied to you;
and
• To provide you with your rights of appeal.

 

You state ‘The council's correspondence leading up to the release of
information suggests only Head H fees are included in the figures which
have been incurred in cases where a levy had been made. If this is true
then the councils return will not necessarily have covered all the fees.
Your email 20 December 2012: "The change to the scope of your request
would not simplify the process to locate, retrieve and extract the
information requested as we would still have to review each file to see if
a levy took place."’

 

The Council’s response only covered Header H fees, as these where the fees
specified in your request. The response to your request is based on the
information held by the Council in relation to Header H fees. If you are
dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or the decision
of the internal review you can request an independent review by contacting
the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis

Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation,
Informatics and Research, Resources Directorate

North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 31 January 2013 response.

North East Lincolnshire council is clearly abetting its bailiff contractor's fraudulent actions by obstructing, to the point of exhibiting complete derangement, the supply of information that Rossendales is contractually obliged to release.

Additionally NELC is defrauding the taxpayer because of the intransigent manner it deals with requests, causing the unnecessarily involvement of the Information Commissioner and Information Rights Tribunal Judges and Solicitors, adding £thousands to the cost of what should be the minimal expenditure of simply complying with the FoIA.

The points raised in my request for an internal review still have not been addressed. As stated in your 12 December 2012:

"In relation to this request the Council will work with Rossendales as appropriate to respond to the request."

You have not done this. Please include the figures which relate to the cases Rossendales hold.

A new request:

Between financial years 2007 and 2012;

To include only those cases where full costs are paid to the bailiff, i.e, where no return file is submitted by Rossendales;

Please supply the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header H fee, as a result of Rossendales levying a council tax debt?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Please find my amended request which replaces that in my previous email:

Between financial years 2007 and 2012;

To include only those cases where full costs are paid to the bailiff, i.e, where no return file is submitted to NELC by Rossendales;

Please supply the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header H fee, as a result of Rossendales enforcing council tax debt?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt,

Further to your correspondence concerning Header H fees which asked

Between financial years 2007 and 2012, to include only those cases where full costs are paid to the bailiff, i.e. where no return file is submitted to NELC by Rossendales - Please supply the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the Header H fee, as a result of Rossendales enforcing council tax debt

As previously stated in response to your request 1904-1112, North East Lincolnshire Council do not hold these details for cases where a return file has not been received.

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your requests concerning the Header H fee, you should contact the Information Commissioner who can undertake an independent review of the handling of your request. The Information Commissioner's Office can be contacted at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation

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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of North East Lincolnshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'When to charge – Schedule 5 Header H fee'.

The point was made in my 12 September and 22 October email, regarding paragraph 3.58 of the Service Level agreement between NELC and Rossendales:

"Rossendales understands and acknowledges the Council is subject to he requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and agrees to assist and co-operate with the Council to enable it to comply fully with its disclosure obligations including supplying requested information within 48 hours of being asked to do so by the council."

Rossendales are also contractually obliged to supply information (at their own expense) at the request of the council.

Quote/

Contract Procedure Rules

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)

It shall be a condition of any contract entered into by the Council that:

(i) Contractors acknowledge that the Council is subject to the requirements of the FOIA and the EIR which may require the release of information

(ii) Contractor shall co-operate with the Council (at contractors’ expense) to enable the Council to comply with its obligations under the FOIA and the EIR...

End quote/

Paragraph 54 of the Government Response to the Justice Committee’s Report (published November 2012): Post-legislative scrutiny of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 would suggest NELC were in fact obliged to supply the requested information despite Rossendales not being a public body.

http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/publ...

" 54. ........ Where public services are delivered on behalf of a public authority under contract, the Government expects that contractors will fully assist public authorities in meeting their current obligations under FOIA to consider for disclosure information held on public authorities’ behalf by a contractor. We agree with the Committee that contracts should include clear provisions in this regard, and stress that public authorities should not be reluctant in taking all necessary steps to ensure compliance. "

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 itself, under Section 3 makes provision for councils to release information in these circumstances, i.e., (1)(a)(ii) and (2)(b).

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

" 3 Public authorities.

(1) In this Act “public authority” means—

(a) subject to section 4(4), any body which, any other person who, or the holder of any office which—

(i) is listed in Schedule 1, or

(ii) is designated by order under section 5, or

(b) a publicly-owned company as defined by section 6.

(2) For the purposes of this Act, information is held by a public authority if—

(a) it is held by the authority, otherwise than on behalf of another person, or

(b) it is held by another person on behalf of the authority. "

The relevant part of Section 5, being (1)(a) and (1)(b)

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

" 5 Further power to designate public authorities.

(1) The [Secretary of State] may by order designate as a public authority for the purposes of this Act any person who is neither listed in Schedule 1 nor capable of being added to that Schedule by an order under section 4(1), but who—

(a) appears to the Secretary of State to exercise functions of a public nature, or

(b) is providing under a contract made with a public authority any service whose provision is a function of that authority.

I therefore can not be persuaded that NELC is unable to supply the requested information nor is there provision for the council to with hold it under any exemption of the FoIA 2000 due to NELC not holding details.

Essentially, according to NELC's contracts the cost would be borne by Rossendales.

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

Yours faithfully,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt,

As an internal review has already been undertaken in relation to your request for details of Header H fees, if you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your requests, you should contact the Information Commissioner who can undertake an independent review of the handling of your request. The Information Commissioner's Office can be contacted at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Your correspondence states 'Essentially, according to NELC's contracts the cost would be borne by Rossendales'.

In relation to this point, I am pleased to provide the following clarification:

The service level agreement with Rossendales includes the requirement for them to co-operate with the Council to enable us to comply fully with our obligations under the Freedom of Information Act. The Council's Contract Procedure Rules also states that it shall be a condition of any contract entered into by the Council that ... [the] contractor shall co-operate (at the contractor's expense) to enable the Council to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act. The inclusion of this condition is to enable the Council to meet its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, it does not place a requirement on either the Council or Rossendales to go beyond the obligations placed on the Council by the Act.

Under section 12 of the Act, the Council is not obliged to provide information if the appropriate limit of £450 is exceeded. The inclusion of ' at the contractor's expense' does affect the application of a refusal notice under section 12 of the Act or require a contractor to bear the cost of providing information where the appropriate limit is exceeded.

The Council's application of a refusal to your request under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act has been correctly applied

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation

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electronic message in error, please telephone or email the number(s) or address
above immediately. Activity and use of the North East Lincolnshire email system
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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

The Council's view that the application of a refusal under section 12 has been correctly applied, appears to be based on an assumption that Rossendales archive this data similarly to NELC.

If I'm understanding correctly, NELC either assume or believe that the work necessary for its contractor Rossendales to supply the information would exceed the appropriate limit in much the same way it would for the council.

However, this seems unlikely because, as the council have already divulged, it doesn’t and has no requirement to manage these records efficiently, whereas the company which must hold records for Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenue purposes is more likely to record them efficiently.

Under these circumstances then, it is unlikely that the council has correctly applied section 12 of the FOIA.

Would NELC confirm whether or not it has been contacted by the Economic Crime Section of Humberside Police in regards releasing information related to Rossendale's charges.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Graham left an annotation ()

Great work.

I am currently challenging my local Cardiff council on "enforcement" fees and will follow this thread avidly.

We, the general public have been fleeced by bailiffs or years. They and the council must be brought to account.

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

There are several complaints with the Commissioner in regards the information NELC is refusing to disclose under section 12 FOIA.

Tribunal Judges costing hundreds of thousands of pounds a year are being brought in to preside over appealed Decision Notices.

All this public money being spent (wasted in my opinion) is concerning me and would imagine in these "cash strapped" times, this money would be better spent elsewhere.

For this reason I'm suggesting NELC contacts Fylde Borough Council – who also outsource its council tax enforcement to Rossendales – and asks how they were able to supply the number of "Head H" fees imposed over a period of several years without incurring excessive costs.

By the way, its bailiff contractor provided the information.

This way the taxpayer might save the unnecessary expense of all these investigations.

In case you are reluctant to supply the information because of the potential legal challenge, I can reassure you on that score. I've checked with the fraud department of Humberside Police and they have convinced me 100% that NELC and Rossendales are given free rein to defraud the public as they feel fit.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

Thank you for your further correspondence.

 

In relation to your question:

 

     Would NELC confirm whether or not it has been contacted by the

     Economic Crime Section of Humberside Police in regards releasing

     information related to Rossendale's charges.

 

North East Lincolnshire Council can confirm it has not been contacted by
the Economic Crime Section of Humberside Police regards releasing
information related to Rossendale's charges.

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

    

Ian Hollingsworth

 

Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Max Headroom left an annotation ()

I would say on the balance of probabilities North East Lincolnshire council is lying.

Or else, why did South Ribble Borough Council not claim releasing the information would cost £40,000.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/1...

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt,

Further to your correspondence concerning Header H fees, as previously stated in response to this request 1904-1112, North East Lincolnshire Council do not hold these details for cases where a return file has not been received.

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your requests concerning the Header H fee, you should contact the Information Commissioner who can undertake an independent review of the handling of your request. The Information Commissioner's Office can be contacted at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Please refer to my 11 February 2013 email in regards NELC not holding these details.

For your information I have already contacted the Information Commissioner on two further occasions in regards NELC's intransigence.

I will copy the complaints in on future emails along with supporting evidence to the Tribunal on a related matter.

I will wait however, until NELC has supplied further information to the ICO in connection with that Tribunal.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

Your request 1904-1112 (as amended) asked for the number of residents who
have incurred the Header H fee in relation to the recovery of Council Tax
and the number of residents who paid the fee. Following further
investigation we are withdrawing our refusal notice to your request under
section 12, exceeding the appropriate limit, and are pleased to provide
the following information held by the Council and on our behalf by
Rossendales:

 

The number of cases where the Header H fee was incurred and paid for the
financial years 2007/08 to date is:

 

2007/08 – Total were fee incurred 1314  Total paid 186

2008/09 – Total were fee incurred 241    Total paid 201

2009/10 – Total were fee incurred 218    Total paid 216

2010/11 – Total were fee incurred 162    Total paid 159

2011/12 – Total were fee incurred 185    Total paid 169

2012/13 – Total were fee incurred 191    Total paid 133

2013/14 – Total were fee incurred 34       Total paid 6              
(part year figure)

 

I trust that this answers your request in full

 

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements.

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Paul Ellis

Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation

show quoted sections

Cherie De Beau left an annotation ()

It's taken 17 months to supply the information. Why has this request been classed successful?

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Local Authorities and the Information Commissioner are laws unto themselves.

See how cooperative the ICO is from the email trail following in the next annotations:

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Oooops!

Local Authorities and the Information Commissioner are laws unto themselves.

See how cooperative the ICO is from the email trail following in the next annotations:

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

19 June 2013

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am writing in relation to your request of 24 November 2012 to North East Lincolnshire Council and your request of 31 January 2013 to the same Council. Both of these requests related to Header H fees and I have been contacted by the Council who inform me that they have now provided you with information in relation to these requests.

As such I now intend to close both of these complaints.

Yours sincerely

Senior Case Officer
Complaints Resolution

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

27 Jun 2013

Dear Senior Case Officer

Thank you for your email.

As you have stated, NELC have provided the information. I have been expecting an explanation for why they have been able to supply this information since this has been in dispute for around a year and a half. The Information Rights Tribunal struck out an appeal about the ICO's decision notice. I'm therefore asking if this is the end of the matter or if I will be receiving any explanation as to why the information has been supplied despite the cost being estimated at £40,000.

Yours sincerely

N. Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

28 June 2013

Your requests to NELC

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately there is no further information I can offer; my investigation was to determine if the information was held in this case and whether the section 12 exemption had been correctly applied.

As NELC has now provided the information there is no further action we can take. A public authority can drop its reliance on an exemption at any stage and we ask them to reconsider the request when we write to them and to decide if the information can now be disclosed. In this case NELC has now provided the information to you and as such there are no further steps we can advise them to take. I therefore consider this matter to be closed.

Yours sincerely

Senior Case Officer

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

I'm querying why it is after making the request on 8 January 2012 the information has miraculously appeared a year and a half later on 13 June 2013.

An explanation is reasonable given North East Lincolnshire Council have been sufficiently convincing with its evidence to the Information Commissioner to successfully persuade him it would cost an estimated £40,000 to supply it. Better than that though, the Tribunal Judge tasked with the ICO's decision not to uphold my complaint, also fell for the elaborately concocted evidence to the extent he struck-out the appeal.

I am keen to know within NELC, who has been responsible – for what appears to be a catalogue of lies – in regards this request for information.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been
allocated the reference number 5365/1314

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and
you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will
take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you
of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of
Information requests is available on our website at:
[1]http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council/the-co....

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or
assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Feedback Officer

North East Lincolnshire Council

 

 

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

I wasn't so much making a freedom of information request but asking why somebody at North East Lincolnshire council has, what appears to be a compulsive lying disorder, and who that person is.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

I notice this request has been reported as needing administrator attention.

If any member of the "whatdotheyknow" team consider removing any correspondence from the website I first ask that they carefully consider NELC's handling of this FoI request.

Additionally I suggest reading the Information Commissioner's Decision Notice in relation to this fiasco. I add a link here to (Reference: FS50443807)

http://www.ico.org.uk/~/media/documents/...

The Information Tribunal appeal No: EA/2012/0254 which was struck out I unfortunately cannot give a link to as it has been withdrawn for some reason from the Information Rights Tribunal archives. I can however send this as a pdf if required.

Thank you.

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

I was mistaken.

The Information Tribunal appeal No: EA/2012/0254 which was struck out is available here:

http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

It appears, when compared with other years, data given for 2007/08 might not be the correct.

2007/08 – Total were fee incurred 1314 Total paid 186

2008/09 – Total were fee incurred 241 Total paid 201

2009/10 – Total were fee incurred 218 Total paid 216

2010/11 – Total were fee incurred 162 Total paid 159

2011/12 – Total were fee incurred 185 Total paid 169

2012/13 – Total were fee incurred 191 Total paid 133

2013/14 – Total were fee incurred 34 Total paid 6 (part year figure)

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

I simply asked in my 11 July 2013 email how it has been possible to supply this information. It is not a FoI request so doesn't require 20 or whatever number of days to provide a response. Just an explanation briefly outlining why.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt 

 

In response to your information request 5365-1314, concerning the response
to your request 1904-1112, I am pleased to provide the following
information

 

To ensure transparency and assist understanding of the Council’s
activities, we continue to consider and investigate the information that
can be disclosed in response to requests for information, as new
information becomes available or opportunities identified. When it was
identified that other Councils had been able to provide information in
relation to Header H fees without exceeding the appropriate limit, further
investigation was made in relation to how the information could be
collated in order to respond to your request. As soon as it was identified
that the Header H fee information could be collated without exceeding the
appropriate limit, we withdrew our refusal notice and disclosed the
requested information you asked for.

 

Further to your request you made the following statement ‘I wasn't so much
making a freedom of information request but asking why somebody at North
East Lincolnshire council has, what appears to be a compulsive lying
disorder, and who that person is’. No officer of North East Lincolnshire
Council has ‘lied’ to you in responding to your request, and we request
that you refrain from including unfounded and offensive comments in future
correspondence with the Council.

 

If you are unhappy with the response you have received, you have the right
to request an internal review by the Council. If following this you are
still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information
Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me
and I will make the necessary arrangements.

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Paul Ellis

Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation

 

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your 16 July 2013 email in which you apologies for unnecessarily withholding incriminating evidence from the public for 18+ months.

I accept your apologies, but it seems clear that the person responsible for this lived in the hope that the required pressure would not have been maintained until conclusion.

P.S. Would you confirm the total for 2007/08 in your 16 July 2013 email were it is stated the fee incurred was 1,314?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

In relation to your query concerning the figures for 2007/08 in relation to Header H fees, we have checked these figures with our bailiffs who have confirmed that the figures should be as follows for 2007/08 – Total cases were fee was incurred 387, of these 186 were paid

Please accept my apology on behalf of the Council for the incorrect figure being included in our previous response

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation

show quoted sections

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt 

 

Following further investigation we are withdrawing our refusal notice to
your request 3024-1213 under section 12, exceeding the appropriate limit,
and are pleased to provide the following information held by the Council
and on our behalf by Rossendales in relation to Header C fees:

 

Your request asked: Between financial years 2006 and 2011, please supply
the number of North East Lincolnshire residents who have incurred the
Header C fee, as a result of the council or its agents enforcing alleged
council tax debt

    

Please categorise this into the number;

    

a) of residents incurring the fee,

    

b) incurring the fee where no prior levy was in place

   

c) incurring the fee at the same time a levy was made

    

d) incurring the fee where the bailiff attended with insufficient
transport to remove goods levied on a prior visit

    

e) incurring the fee where the bailiff attended with insufficient
transport to remove goods which had not been identified on a prior
visit/levy

    

For example, if a bailiff attended without bringing at least a removal van
and vehicle recovery truck, this would be classed as insufficient
transport.

    

f) incurring the fee on the same attendance where a vehicle had been
levied, before confirmation of ownership.

    

g) incurring the fee on the same attendance where a vehicle had been
levied, when ownership had already been confirmed but where a vehicle
recovery truck had not been brought.

 

a) of residents incurring the fee,

 

2005/06 – Cannot be reported

2006/07 – Cannot be reported

2007/08 – 890

2008/09 – 920

2009/10 – 943

2010/11 – 843

2011/12 – 611

2012/13 – 436

 

b) incurring the fee where no prior levy was in place

 

2005/06 – Cannot be reported

2006/07 – Cannot be reported

2007/08 – 0

2008/09 – 0

2009/10 – 0

2010/11 – 0

2011/12 – 0

2012/13 – 0

 

c) incurring the fee at the same time a levy was made

 

2005/06 – Cannot be reported

2006/07 – Cannot be reported

2007/08 – 274

2008/09 – 568

2009/10 – 514

2010/11 – 425

2011/12 – 260

2012/13 – 191

    

d) incurring the fee where the bailiff attended with insufficient
transport to remove goods levied on a prior visit

 

All our enforcement agents use a van which is capable of effecting a
removal

 

e) incurring the fee where the bailiff attended with insufficient
transport to remove goods which had not been identified on a prior
visit/levy

    

For example, if a bailiff attended without bringing at least a removal van
and vehicle recovery truck, this would be classed as insufficient
transport.

 

All our enforcement agents use a van which is capable of effecting a
removal

 

f) incurring the fee on the same attendance where a vehicle had been
levied, before confirmation of ownership.

 

2007/08 – 0

2008/09 – 0

2009/10 – 0

2010/11 – 0

2011/12 – 0

2012/13 – 0

 

Reasonable checks are made to determine ownership, by way of checking with
the debtor, or making discreet enquiries with neighbours. Our enforcement
agents would never just take a recovery truck, we would decide on the next
course of action. We would rather the debtor made payment in full or at
least make part payment, before any removal took place,  it would cause
unnecessary charges if a removal truck was taken on every visit.

 

Reasonable steps to ascertain actual ownership:

 

·         Car parked outside or on drive way of property.

·         Ask Neighbours

·         HPI Check (Hire Purchase finance check)

·         Ask the Debtor.

·         DVLA (However cannot be done at time of levy)

 

g) incurring the fee on the same attendance where a vehicle had been
levied, when ownership had already been confirmed but where a vehicle
recovery truck had not been brought.

 

As stated in response to question f, we would rather the debtor made
payment in full or at least make part payment, before any removal took
place, as it would cause unnecessary charges if a removal truck was taken
on every visit. A recovery truck will only be brought where no other
action is possible.

 

To provide the number of cases meeting the criteria stated in question g,
would require the checking of each individual account (4,643) which we
estimate would require at least 3 minutes to review each case, taking at
least 232 hours and costing at least £5,800.

 

We have considered the potential of refining the request to a single year,
potentially to allow the request to be answered in part without exceeding
the appropriate limit. Taking the period the year 2012/13 which had the
fewest cases incurring the Header C fee, we estimate that to provide the
information even for this one year would still exceed the appropriate
limit. i.e. to review the 436 cases would take at least 21 hours, costing
at least £525.

 

Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, a public
authority is not obliged to comply with a request where the estimated cost
of doing so would exceed the appropriate amount. We will therefore not be
providing you the information requested in question g of your request by
virtue of section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act, as to do so would
exceed the appropriate limit

 

I trust that this response now answers your request, if you are unhappy
with the response you have received, you have the right to request an
internal review by the Council. If following this you are still
dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information Commissioner.
If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me and I will
make the necessary arrangements.

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Paul Ellis

Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation

Informatics and Research

Resources Directorate

North East Lincolnshire Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for supplying the requested information in your 18 July 2013 email.

I know I've asked previously but I'm very keen to find out who at NELC was the responsible person for staging the elaborate theatre production for refusing requests 190411/12 and 3024_1213.

Would I be correct in assuming the charade was played out for so long and information disclosed only after a year and a half persuasion, because the authority/Rossendales were aware it would represent fraudulent demands of at least £0.325 million and provide proof that North East Lincolnshire Council had abetted Rossendales?

I won't buy as previously stated that the council investigated further as soon as it was identified that other councils were able to supply the information.

The reality is it was informed months before that it was a possibility, but maintained the data was not held regardless. Would it not be nearer the truth to say the council disclosed it because the same evidence had been sent indirectly to NELC from the Tribunal or Information Commissioner which the council considered was the coercive action that it could not ignore so easily?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

NELC's response has provided evidence of the number of fees which have been charged unlawfully by its bailiff contractor.

Will North East Lincolnshire Council be offering refunds now this has been highlighted.

It seems a good start would be for the unlawfully charged "redemption fee", this would be at least 1,070 householders (£26,215) covering the period of the request. Then the unlawfully charged "vehicle attendance fee" to at least 2,232 householders (£290,160).

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Further to your correspondence in relation to the Council's response to request 3024/1213, I am pleased to confirm that the Header C fees have been correctly applied in accordance with legislation and the Council will not be responding further to your comments.

Your requests for information have been handled by North East Lincolnshire Council in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act. If you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis
Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation

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Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for your reply.

I interpret the response to mean North East Lincolnshire Council is admitting it has defrauded 1,070 of its residents with the redemption fees (Head H) over the period and made attempts to defraud in another 348 instances.

In regards the vehicle attendance charges (Head C), North East Lincolnshire Council is denying that in at least 2,232 cases it has attempted to defraud its residence over the same period.

Would you please confirm whether Humberside Police's Economic Crime Unit has contacted the council in regards the following:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/155399034/NELC...

http://www.scribd.com/doc/155782614/NELC...

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

North East Lincolnshire Council and those acting on our behalf in the
administration and collection of Council act in accordance with the
relevant legislation.

 

In the handling of your request 3024-1213 concerning Header C fees, we
have provided you with the information you have requested. As stated in
our response to you of March 26^th 2013, North East Lincolnshire Council
has not been contacted by the Economic Crime Section of Humberside Police
regarding Council Tax administration.

 

Based on the content of your latest correspondence, we determine that this
request is now vexatious. Your correspondence is intended to raise
unfounded allegations against the Council, with no intention to obtain the
information we hold. Section 14 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act
states that a public authority is not obliged to comply with a request for
information if that request is vexatious.

 

North East Lincolnshire Council will therefore no longer be responding
further to this request.

 

If you disagree with the Council determining your request is now vexatious
you have the right to request an internal review by the Council. If
following this you remain dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the
Information Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review,
please contact me and I will make the necessary arrangements.

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Paul Ellis

Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of North East Lincolnshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'When to charge – Schedule 5 Header H fee'.

If NELC has determined my request to be vexatious on the grounds that allegations of systematic fraud against the Council are unfounded I strongly disagree with the Council.

There is overwhelming evidence that NELC has abetted it contractor Rossendales to defraud hundreds of thousands of pounds from NEL residents through council tax enforcement.

Please take the opportunity in this review to support your allegations that the request is vexatious by convincing me that my allegations of fraud are unfounded.

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

Yours faithfully,

Neil Gilliatt

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for an internal review of the
response to request reference number 3024/1213

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and
you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will
take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you
of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of
Information requests is available on our website at:

[1]http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council/the-co....

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or
assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Feedback Officer

North East Lincolnshire Council

 

show quoted sections

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

Further to your request an Internal Review has taken place into North East
Lincolnshire Council's handling of your request for information.

I have reviewed the handling of your request, in particular the Council’s
application of a refusal under section 14 of the Freedom of Information
Act in relation to your correspondence of August 2^nd 2013.

Your correspondence of August 2^nd 2013 included two statements regarding
your unfounded allegations that North East Lincolnshire Council had
defrauded or attempted to defraud its residents with regard to Header H
and C fees. Your correspondence also asked whether Humberside Police's
Economic Crime Unit had contacted North East Lincolnshire Council in
regards to Council Tax arrears. This was a repeat of a previous question
to North East Lincolnshire Council in regard to its enforcement
activities, and was responded to on March 26^th 2013. I can again confirm
that North East Lincolnshire Council have not been contacted by Humberside
Police's Economic Crime Unit.

Following the disclosure to you of the information you asked for in
relation to Header H fees (1904-1112) and C fees (3024-1213), the
inclusion in your correspondence of the unfounded accusations against
North East Lincolnshire Council appears to serve no purpose other than to
allow you to vent your anger at the Council Tax enforcement activities of
the Council. This was further evidenced in the inclusion of similar
statements in your request for an internal review. You have previously
been asked to refrain from including statements in your requests for
information, but have continued to include these statements. Your
correspondence in relation to requests 1904-1112 and 3024-1213, now
appears to be designed solely to place a disproportionate burden on the
Council to comply with your requests and allow you to make comments
through the ‘What do they know’ website concerning the Council’s
enforcement activities, rather than to obtain information held by North
East Lincolnshire Council. On behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council I
maintain the decision that your correspondence of August 2nd 2013 was
correctly identified as vexatious and the refusal under section 14 (1)
correctly applied.

In your correspondence of August 6th 2013, you state ‘There is
overwhelming evidence that NELC has abetted its contractor Rossendales to
defraud hundreds of thousands of pounds from NEL residents through council
tax enforcement.’ We would ask that if you hold any evidence of unlawful
or fraudulent behaviour that you provide this to the Council immediately
so that it can be fully investigated, details on how you can do this can
be found on our website at
[1]http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/faqs/suspect-f...

On behalf of the Council can I again ask that if you make future requests
under the Freedom of Information Act to us, you do not include unfounded
accusations or unnecessary statements within them.

If you remain dissatisfied with the decision of the internal review you
can request an independent review by contacting the Information
Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire
SK9 5AF. North East Lincolnshire Council will not enter into any further
correspondence with you in relation to the application of a refusal notice
under section 14 (1) in relation to requests 1904-1112 and 3024-1213.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Paul Ellis

Team Manager - Information Governance, Complaints and Consultation,
Informatics and Research, Resources Directorate| North East Lincolnshire
Council

show quoted sections

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

Talking complete nonsense again, you're a waste of time.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended)

Dear PPD - FOI,

You state in your 14 August 2013 email:

" In your correspondence of August 6th 2013, you state ‘There is overwhelming evidence that NELC has abetted its contractor Rossendales to defraud hundreds of thousands of pounds from NEL residents through council tax enforcement.’ We would ask that if you hold any evidence of unlawful or fraudulent behaviour that you provide this to the Council immediately so that it can be fully investigated, details on how you can do this can be found on our website at [1]http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/faqs/suspect-f... "

I have to ask why you would think it appropriate that this should be reported to the council?

The most obvious organisation to contact would be the police which is what I've done. However, for your interest the most recent evidence which is now with Humberside Police's Economic Crime section is in the two links below. That which relates specifically to North East Lincolnshire council is held already by the authority.

Police evidence 1

http://www.scribd.com/doc/155399034/NELC...

Police evidence 2

http://www.scribd.com/doc/155782614/NELC...

Yours sincerely,

Neil Gilliatt

Ron (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Is there an update to this?

Neil Gilliatt (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Not yet.

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