Brentwood Borough Council

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Brentwood Borough Council

FOI 6310

Debt collection / enforcement

Request

Citizens Advice is currently undertaking national research into council debt collection and enforcement practices. The aims of the project are

* to build a national evidence base in this area and identify trends
* to identify and promote good practice across the country
* to inform any future amendments to the 'good practice protocol on the collection of council tax arrears'

Please provide me with the following information:

1. Does the council have a corporate debt strategy? If so, please provide a copy.

2. What is the council's complaints procedure for residents who have a grievance over a bailiff's actions, other than referring them to the bailiff company?

3. Does your equality strategy cover debt collection?

4. If no payment arrangement is made how long after sending the final reminder do you usually issue a liability order?

5. How much do you usually charge for a liability order?

6. If no payment arrangement is made how long do you usually leave after issuing a liability order before passing the case to the bailiff?

7. Which bailiff firms do you use, and when were their contracts awarded?

8. Could you also please provide for the financial years 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13 the following information:

a. Number of accounts issued with final late payment reminders for

i. unpaid council tax

ii. unpaid parking penalties

iii. any other debts

b. Number of liability orders issued for unpaid council tax

c. Number of cases passed to bailiffs for:

i. unpaid council tax

ii. unpaid parking penalties

iii. any other debts

d. Amount of unpaid council tax revenue collected by bailiffs

e. Average council tax collection rate

f. Amount of unpaid parking penalties collected by bailiffs

g. Number of complaints received about the bailiffs used



Response

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - FOI request 6310 – Debt Collection/enforcement

I refer to your E Mail received 29 May 2013. This is acknowledged as a request for information held by this authority under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Please see below for replies to the questions raised.

You will see that the situation concerning parking charges and penalties has changed and I am therefore providing the information required first:-

In respect of parking services please see the following responses to the questions asked:

Number of accounts issued with final payment reminders for parking penalty charge notices
2010 /2011 = 246 letters were issued just prior to the transfer of On street parking enforcement back to Essex County Council Highways, all recovery actions that would have followed for non payment would have been undertaken by The South Essex Parking Partnership under the lead Authority of Chelmsford City Council. Contact details if required for SEPP: parking@chelmsford.gov.uk

2011 /2012 = 2 letters sent

2012/2013 = nil return

Number of cases passed to Bailiff for unpaid Penalty charge notices:

2010/2011 see response above re: SEPP.

2011/2012 = Nil return

2012/2013 = Nil return

Amount of unpaid parking penalties collected by Bailiffs:

2010/2012 See above Re SEPP

2011/2012 Nil return

2012/2013 Nil return

Information concerning Council Tax is now given below:-

1. The Council’s debt strategy is undergoing revision and a copy will be forwarded when it is authorised
2. The Councils own complaints procedure, this can be found on the Council’s website
3. Equality issues are being incorporated into the debt strategy
4. Approximately one month
5. £30
6. At least 14 days
7. Council uses “JBW” April 2010 to February 2013 (no longer sent new cases) “Reventus”, appointed April 2011 and “Rundles” appointed August 2012
8a. i. Unpaid Council Tax Reminders:- 2010/11 -12332 : 2011/12 – 12256: 2012/13 – 10732:
Ii – see information re parking
Iii – information to follow
b. i. Unpaid Council Tax Liability Orders:- 2010/11 -2088 : 2011/12 – 2178: 2012/13 – 1615:
ii. – see parking information
iii. – nil return
c. i. Unpaid Council Tax cases passed to Bailiff: 2010/11 -1136 : 2011/12 –1102: 2012/13 – 1185:
ii. – see parking information
iii. – nil return
d. Amount of unpaid Council Tax revenues collected by Bailiffs:
2010/11 – Awaiting response from Bailiffs
2011/12 - £192138
, 2012/13 - £307151

e. Average Council Tax collection rate: 2010/11 – 97.86 2011/12 – 97.9 2012/13 – 98.38 = 294.14/3 = Average: 98.05
f. See separate information re parking issues
g. Number of complaints received about the bailiffs used: 4