Council outlines revised debt policy which although doing away with bailiffs has enforcement officers with as much power

19:54 21 April 2014

Fenland District Council

Fenland District Council

Archant

A revised ‘debt policy’ has been drawn up by Fenland District Council to explain how those who owe them money can seek early advice and what help is available.

Geoff Kent, head of customer services, will tell cabinet on Thursday that the new policy is a revised version of that first introduced in 2008.

One major change, he says, is the decision to notify residents when enforcement officers (formerly known as bailiffs) can act to collect monies owed to the council.

Mr Kent says those behind on council tax will, eventually, be passed to enforcement officers and the first £75 fee becomes payable. “At this stage all efforts will be made to make a payment arrangement and a number of ways to contact the customer will be made including several letters and several phone calls,” he says.

This, says Mr Kent, is called the compliance stage but does not include visiting a property to seize goods in the way that bailiffs used to.

If payment, or a payment plan, is not agreed the council goes to an enforcement stage – and the fees mount. In this instance a further £235 plus 7.5 per cent of the value of the debt that exceeds £1,500.

Mr Kent says at this stage people can expect an enforcement agent to visit and “goods to the value of the debt will be identified with a view to sale” should the debt not be paid.

If payment is still not forthcoming, next comes the sale or disposal stage which also includes a £110 fee, plus 7.5 per cent of the debt that exceeds £1,500, plus removal charges if necessary.

Mr Kent says the Government has introduced the concept of ‘vulnerable people’ and although not legally defined the council has done so.

Council tax, business rates, housing benefit overpayment, factory unit and office rents, traveller site rents, and garage rents are all part of the council’s estate and for which it collects monies.

Mr Kent also warns that as a last resort for people who refuse to pay there remains the threat of court proceedings.

“When all action has failed, we will go back to the magistrates’ court and ask for you to be sent to prison, for up to 90 days,” he says.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cambs Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cambs Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cambs Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

11:50
Joe Perry

Joe Perry has won his first major ranking title.

Wisbech rail. MP Steve Barclay with letter from Eric Pickles.

Local government minister Eric Pickles has told a fellow minister to get a move on to bring the Wisbech to March rail line back into service.

10:00
Charity cheque presentation to Facet from Cromwell college students Left: Caitlin Clark, Georgina Dale, Facet manager Jane Clifton and Shannon Buckton. Picture: Steve Williams.

Three Cromwell Community College students banded together to raise more than £165 for a charity which supports people with learning disabilities.

Yesterday, 12:00
Richmond Fellowship Health and Wellbeing Fair at March Town Hall. Isle college students working on nail bar.Picture: Steve Williams.

A national charity devoted to supporting people with mental health problems held a health and well being fair at March.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Cambs Times e-edition today E-edition