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Council Tax Arrears

Requested on
Fri 16th November, 2012
Reference
FOI 2481
Resolution
Information provided

Question

I am requesting the following information under the Freedom of Information Act:

Does the council pursue council tax arrears (i.e. enforcement action against non-payment, over and above initial warning letters) via in-house staff, or is it outsourced to an external provider/contractor (e.g. debt collection agency)?

If the council has outsourced this function, please only complete Part A of this request. If the council has kept this function in-house, please only complete Part B of this request.

Part A:
Please provide the name of the contractor(s)
Please provide the start and end date of the contract(s)
Please outline whether each contract is specifically and solely for pursuit and collection of council tax arrears
The payments made to each contractor, each financial year since 2010/11, for pursuit and collection of council tax arrears. If the council does not hold this information, it is asked to seek this information from the contractor(s) under the terms of the FOI Act
Please provide details of the contractual payment mechanism for pursuit and collection of council tax arrears under each contract – essentially, does the council pay the contractor a guaranteed/fixed lump sum, or is the contractor paid per case pursued, or paid per case pursued resulting in payment or prosecution, or another model/hybrid? What are the standard payment amounts under the payment mechanism?
Does each contractor pay its debt collection staff and/or bailiffs a commission based on successful pursuit and collection of council tax arrears? If the council does not hold this information, it is asked to seek this information from the contractor(s) under the terms of the FOI Act
Is the council currently either (a) tendering or planning to tender for a new provider to pursue council tax arrears; or (b) discussing variations to the existing contracts in advance of financial year 2013/14 (if so, what variations are under consideration)?
Please list any performance targets relating to pursuit and collection of council tax arrears, contained within each contract
Whether each contractor sub-contracts part of its work to pursue and collect council tax arrears, and if so, the names of those sub-contractors. If the council does not hold this information, it is asked to seek this information from the contractor(s) under the terms of the FOI Act
How many households in council tax arrears did the council refer to each contractor in each financial year since 2010/11? If possible, please provide the number of referrals, thereby including where the same household was referred more than once in a year
Either through its own records and monitoring, or via arrangements in place with contractors, does the council have figures (estimated or average figures will suffice) for the cost of pursuing a council tax arrears case to (a) a liability order; (b) repossession; and (c) prosecution? If the council cannot access such specific figures, more general figures will suffice. If possible, please provide gross cost figures, disregarding the value of any arrears pursued.


Part B:
The total cost to the council, each financial year since 2010/11, for the pursuit and collection of council tax arrears. Please provide confirmed part-year (please give a date the figure is correct to) and forecast full-year figures for 2012/13
Does the council pay debt collectors and/or bailiffs a guaranteed fixed sum for pursuit and collection of council tax arrears, or are they paid commission per case pursued, or paid per case pursued resulting in payment or prosecution, or another model/hybrid? What are the payment amounts under the payment mechanism?
Please list any performance targets for in-house debt collectors and/or bailiffs
Is the council currently discussing variations to the existing payment arrangements with in-house debt collectors and/or bailiffs in advance of financial year 2013/14 (if so, what variations are under consideration)?
How many households in council tax arrears did the council pursue enforcement action (defined, at minimum, as obtaining a liability order) in each financial year since 2010/11? If possible, please provide the number of liability orders, thereby including where the same household was subject to more than one such order in a year.
Does the council have figures (estimated or average figures will suffice) for the cost of pursuing a council tax arrears case to (a) a liability order; (b) repossession; and (c) prosecution? If the council cannot access such specific figures, more general figures will suffice. If possible, please provide gross cost figures, disregarding the value of any arrears pursued.

Answer

Charnwood Borough Council's Revenues and Benefits Service is contracted to Capita, this contract includes the pursuit of Council Tax Arrears.

Please provide the name of the contractor(s) - Capita
Please provide the start and end date of the contract(s) -  February 2010 - April 2020 

Please outline whether each contract is specifically and solely for pursuit and collection of council tax arrears - No

The payments made to each contractor, each financial year since 2010/11, for pursuit and collection of council tax arrears. If the council does not hold this information, it is asked to seek this information from the contractor(s) under the terms of the FOI Act  2010/11 £9,000  2011/12 £11,000

Please provide details of the contractual payment mechanism for pursuit and collection of council tax arrears under each contract – essentially, does the council pay the contractor a guaranteed/fixed lump sum, or is the contractor paid per case pursued, or paid per case pursued resulting in payment or prosecution, or another model/hybrid? What are the standard payment amounts under the payment mechanism? - Part of overall contract with Capita, no breakdown available

Does each contractor pay its debt collection staff and/or bailiffs a commission based on successful pursuit and collection of council tax arrears? If the council does not hold this information, it is asked to seek this information from the contractor(s) under the terms of the FOI Act -  Capita LGS employ Equita as its bailiff who are also part of the Capita Group   

Is the council currently either (a) tendering or planning to tender for a new provider to pursue council tax arrears; or (b) discussing variations to the existing contracts in advance of financial year 2013/14 (if so, what variations are under consideration)? - No

Please list any performance targets relating to pursuit and collection of council tax arrears, contained within each contract –  There is a performance target for the overall level of council tax collected in each financial year. 

Whether each contractor sub-contracts part of its work to pursue and collect council tax arrears, and if so, the names of those sub-contractors. If the council does not hold this information, it is asked to seek this information from the contractor(s) under the terms of the FOI Act  Capita LGS employ Equita as its bailiff who are also part of the Capita Group      

How many households in council tax arrears did the council refer to each contractor in each financial year since 2010/11? If possible, please provide the number of referrals, thereby including where the same household was referred more than once in a year -  The council does not refer  households to Capita, Capita manage the whole process.  However approximately 2000 households a year  are in arrears

Either through its own records and monitoring, or via arrangements in place with contractors, does the council have figures (estimated or average figures will suffice) for the cost of pursuing a council tax arrears case to (a) a liability order; (b) repossession; and (c) prosecution? If the council cannot access such specific figures, more general figures will suffice. If possible, please provide gross cost figures, disregarding the value of any arrears pursued.  The cost of obtaining a liability order can be equated to the summons costs added to each summonsed account. This is currently £65.50.

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