FOI Disclosure Log

Customer Request Details

26 May 2021

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

In all questions in this request, ‘households’ are in effect council tax-paying accounts. If full-year data for 2020/21 is not yet known, please provide the most up-to-date data. Newly formed councils should use figures pertaining to their predecessor councils where appropriate.

Please note that questions 1-4 and 5-8 are very similar, but differ in one critical aspect. Questions 1-4 concern various forms of enforcement action relating to council tax debts that accrued specifically in 2020/21 rather than in previous years; questions 5-8 concern enforcement action in 2020/21 relating to council tax debts irrespective of when those debts accrued. This is because different councils appear to record this information in different ways, and is also designed to ensure there is no confusion about what information each council is actually providing.

The information each council provides for questions 1-8 will naturally depend on how it records the information. If the council provides figures for questions 1-4 it can skip questions 5-8. If the information for questions 1-4 is unavailable due to how council tax enforcement information is held, please mark the relevant questions as ‘information not held’ and provide responses to the remainder of the request.

1.      How many households have been issued with warning notices in relation to council tax arrears accrued during 2020/21? If this is not available, please provide the number of warning notices issued (as opposed to the number of households receiving them).

2.      How many households have been issued with liability orders in relation to council tax arrears accrued during 2020/21?

3.      How many households have been referred to bailiffs in relation to council tax arrears accrued during 2020/21?

4.      For how many households have the council requested an attachment to benefits in relation to council tax arrears accrued during 2020/21?

If the council has provided figures for questions 1-4, please ignore questions 5-8 and proceed to question 9. If the council has not provided figures for questions 1-4, please proceed to question 5. As stated above, questions 5-8 concern enforcement action in 2020/21 relating to council tax debts irrespective of what year those debts accrued.

5.      In 2020/21, how many households were issued with warning notices in relation to council tax arrears? If this is not available, please provide the number of warning notices issued (as opposed to the number of households receiving them) and state that this is the case.

6.      In 2020/21, how many households were issued with liability orders in relation to council tax arrears?

7.      In 2020/21, how many households were referred to bailiffs in relation to council tax arrears?

8.      In 2020/21, for how many households did the council request an attachment to benefits in relation to council tax arrears?

The following questions concern collection rates:

9.      What was the council tax collection rate in 2019/20, for 2019/20 council tax bills?

10.   What was the council tax collection rate in 2020/21, for 2020/21 council tax bills?

The following questions concern the geographic distribution of households. In these questions, ‘council-tax registered households’ include those households that do not have any tax to pay due to receiving council tax support. If possible it should include registered second homes but exclude registered empty homes, but if that cannot be achieved within the section 12 cost limit, please include or exclude both depending on how the information is held (and state that this is the case).

11.   Please state, as of March 2020, how many council tax-registered households were in each postcode area (e.g. DA1, DA2, DA3 etc in Dartford; L32, L33, L34 etc in Knowsley) in the local authority area

12.   Please state, as of now (or the most recent time available), how many council tax-registered households are in each postcode area (e.g. DA1, DA2, DA3 etc in Dartford; L32, L33, L34 etc in Knowsley) in the local authority area



East Herts Council Response

08 June 2021

We write further to your request. Please provide us with the following clarifications, to enable us to respond to your request:

 For points 1-8 what is meant by:

  • “Households” as we do not send warning notices or summons to households. We only deal with the liable person or persons.  Are you therefore asking for the number of summons issued against the liable person(s)?
  • “Warning Notices issued” as we do not send out warning notices?   Are you asking for reminder notices / final notices which are sent out instead, as per question 1.

 

“How many households have been issued with warning notices in relation to council tax arrears accrued during 2020/21? If this is not available, please provide the number of warning notices issued (as opposed to the number of households receiving them)”

  • For points 11 & 12 please clarify what is meant by “households,” as we do not record households in the area.  Do you mean the number of properties on the Council Tax Banding List in the Council’s area upon which charges Council Tax is made, or the actual liable person responsible for paying the charges?

 We await your feedback.

 

 



Customer

08 June 2021

First two bullet points - answer is "yes" to both
Third bullet point - number of properties

On Tue, 8 Jun 2021 at 16:39, [email protected] <
[email protected]> wrote:

> We write further to your request. Please provide us with the following
> clarifications, to enable us to respond to your request:
>
> For points 1-8 what is meant by:
>
> - “Households” as we do not send warning notices or summons to
> households. We only deal with the liable person or persons. Are you
> therefore asking for the number of summons issued against the liable
> person(s)?
> - “Warning Notices issued” as we do not send out warning notices?
> Are you asking for reminder notices / final notices which are sent out
> instead, as per question 1.
>
>
>
> “How many households have been issued with warning notices in relation to
> council tax arrears accrued during 2020/21? If this is not available,
> please provide the number of warning notices issued (as opposed to the
> number of households receiving them)”
>
> - For points 11 & 12 please clarify what is meant by “households,” as
> we do not record households in the area. Do you mean the number of
> properties on the Council Tax Banding List in the Council’s area upon which
> charges Council Tax is made, or the actual liable person responsible for
> paying the charges?
>
> We await your feedback.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> *Information Management Team East Herts Council www.eastherts.gov.uk
> Telephone: **+44 (0)1279 655261*
> *Wallfields, **Pegs Lane**, **Hertford**, **SG13 8EQ**.*
>
> *Please note: Information released under the Freedom of Information Act
> may also be published on our website, along with details of the initial
> request.
>



East Herts Council Response

25 June 2021

Thank you for your request for information, this has now been processed and the information that we hold is enclosed.

  1. How many households have been issued with warning notices in relation to council tax arrears accrued during 2020/21? If this is not available, please provide the number of warning notices issued (as opposed to the number of households receiving them).
    1. See below
  2. How many households have been issued with liability orders in relation to council tax arrears accrued during 2020/21?
    1. See below
  3. How many households have been referred to bailiffs in relation to council tax arrears accrued during 2020/21?
    1. Nil
  4. For how many households have the council requested an attachment to benefits in relation to council tax arrears accrued during 2020/21?
    1.  9 cases for 2020/21

 

If the council has provided figures for questions 1-4, please ignore questions 5-8 and proceed to question 9. If the council has not provided figures for questions 1-4, please proceed to question 5. As stated above, questions 5-8 concern enforcement action in 2020/21 relating to council tax debts irrespective of what year those debts accrued.

  1. In 2020/21, how many households were issued with warning notices in relation to council tax arrears? If this is not available, please provide the number of warning notices issued (as opposed to the number of households receiving them) and state that this is the case.
    1. 17,771 Notices issued during 2020/21 (excluding summonses )
  2. In 2020/21, how many households were issued with liability orders in relation to council tax arrears?
    1. 689 cases
  3. In 2020/21, how many households were referred to bailiffs in relation to council tax arrears?
    1. See 3 above
  4. In 2020/21, for how many households did the council request an attachment to benefits in relation to council tax arrears?
    1. See above

 

The following questions concern collection rates:

  1. What was the council tax collection rate in 2019/20, for 2019/20 council tax bills?
    1. 97.8%
  2. What was the council tax collection rate in 2020/21, for 2020/21 council tax bills?
    1. 97.1%

The following questions concern the geographic distribution of households. In these questions, ‘council-tax registered households’ include those households that do not have any tax to pay due to receiving council tax support. If possible it should include registered second homes but exclude registered empty homes, but if that cannot be achieved within the section 12 cost limit, please include or exclude both depending on how the information is held (and state that this is the case).

  1. Please state, as of March 2020, how many council tax-registered households were in each postcode area (e.g. DA1, DA2, DA3 etc in Dartford; L32, L33, L34 etc in Knowsley) in the local authority area
    1. Total number of Council Tax Properties on the Banding List as at last banding list from the Valuation Office Agency dated 31.03.2021 was 64,472 properties.

 

  1. Please state, as of now (or the most recent time available), how many council tax-registered households are in each postcode area (e.g. DA1, DA2, DA3 etc in Dartford; L32, L33, L34 etc in Knowsley) in the local authority area
    1. The information is not held in Postcode order and to do this manually would exceed the time limits imposed by the act

If you have any queries or complaint about the processing of your request please do not hesitate to contact me.

For re-use of information and conditions on the use of personal data  please see

https://www.eastherts.gov.uk/about-east-herts-0/information-requests/re-use-council-information

Alternatively for more information on the Freedom of Information Act contact the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioners Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone 0303 123 1113

https://ico.org.uk/

 

It is important that you include the above FOI reference number on all correspondence related to this request.

 

Thank you for your request.