Interestingly this local authority has been quizzed on this deceitful penalty hike in a freedom of information request.
Can justification be given to why, in a Council document listing proposed savings, i.e. "Increase summons cost" - projected savings of £188,000 for each of the following 4 years is forecasted when such fees are to cover Council Tax recovery, not constitute savings by way of income generation?
Their initial response completely failed to address the "proposed savings document
", and, their attempt to justify "costs raised
", could be described as lame at best.
The costs raised are to cover the cost of Council Tax collection and recovery. This includes the technological systems in place and employment of staff. Costs collected also cover monies paid to Her Majesty's Court Service for the use of their facilities. The monies raised from costs are not greater than the cost of the service. The increase in summons costs does not represent `income generation' but a saving that can be made in the cost of the delivery of the service, that would otherwise ultimately be passed on to the Council Tax payers of North East Lincolnshire.
The authority is quizzed further as their response is clearly not acceptable. It seems they obnoxiously dumped raw data from a system in their feeble attempt to justify the costs – 2011/12 Revenues budget (debt recovery). I've taken the liberty to arrange this data into some legible form.
FOI Further Response:
1. We refer you to the Council Tax Administration and Enforcement regulations 1992, which state that the Council may add costs reasonably incurred by the authority in connection with the application.
2. The Council Tax Administration & Enforcement regulations do not require the Council to justify the amount charged to each individual, only that the costs have been reasonably incurred by the authority in connection with the application up to the time of payment or tender. The annual budget for all activity associated with recovery of Council Tax and Business rates amounts to approximately £1.1 million.
2011/12 Revenues budget (debt recovery)
A0184 Control & Monitoring
Total revenue expenditure budget – £507,000
£ recharged income – £0
Percentage recovery work – 20%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £101,400
A0187 Debt Collection
Total revenue expenditure budget – £738,500
£ recharged income – (£121,800)*
Percentage recovery work – 100%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £616,700
A0191 Council Tax
Total revenue expenditure budget – £826,900
£ recharged income – £0
Percentage recovery work – 50%
Cost attributable CT recovery – £413,450
*cost of sundry debt collection recharged to other directorates
The freedom of information request went on and on, never seeming to be answered satisfactorily.