Monday, 8 July 2013

I got mail!

As far as councils go, SGC are not the worst offenders when it comes to greedy profiteering from Liability Orders - but they most certainly are greedy little piggies.  Here is their rather frank admission of fraud:
Dear Mr North,

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Liability Orders granted in pursuit of Council Tax for 2012/2013 = 4,272
The actual cost of issuing = £84.79
Amount charged = £85.00
Total Revenue raised = £363,120

Please let me know if you require clarification on any of the above.

Yours sincerely ,

Mrs L Stevens
Recovery manager 
South Gloucestershire Council
Don't you find it awfully convenient that the supposed cost of running a monthly query against their existing tax database comes to £84.79  per person?  What is going so badly wrong at SGC that it costs them £362,222.88 to print off and send a batch of letters from a mail merge?  And though the law states that only reasonable costs may be charged, even by their own admission, they are rounding it upward.  By their own admission the are embezzling money from the process. I suspect if we were allowed to know the true cost, we would find the fraud is a substantially larger figure than they admit to. Perhaps I should call the police?

Though it is interesting to note that this is the same Mrs L Stevens who referred a specific complaint about a council recovery officer, to that very same council officer, which in my view is an outrageous abuse of process.
Mr North,

I have been forwarded your email as Mrs Hooper is not in the office until Monday 24th February.

The content and the tone of your email have been noted, but I do not intend to dignify it with a detailed response other than to advise you that Mrs Hooper is a very valued & experienced senior member of my Recovery team.

A full investigation of your complaint will be undertaken by Mrs Hooper next week.

I have advised Rundle & Co of your comments relating to their company.

Yours sincerely

Mrs L Stevens
Recovery Manager
South Gloucestershire Council
You will also note, that rather than investigating the alleged fraud by Rundles and referring it to the police, as they are supposed to do, this same creature actually leaks my complaint to the bailiffs themselves.  What we see in SGC's recovery office is a bunch of lazy, arrogant, dishonest crooks who will neither investigate a complaint properly or uphold the law, and leak complaints to their criminal contractors.  When the court case is over, win or lose, there is an abuse of process to address here and Dorothy Hooper and Louise Stevens must be held to account.  While I am considering suing them, an LGO complaint is most certainly in the works.  These grubby parasites really should face the sack.


  1. There are still signs the authority thought of a number and "reverse calculated", even with the 79p oddments to fake authenticity.

    Taking the liberty of assuming the 4,272 summonses issued in 2012-13 will increase to at least 5,272 in 2013-14 because of benefit reforms (apparently set to double in Peterborough), a revised calculation would reveal potential for some easy gains in the region of 90 times the current alleged £897.12

    Adding a generous £6 for Magistrates' court's fee, postage, stationary etc., would account for expenditure per summons adding a further £6k to the alleged overall costs split between defendants.

    £362.22k + £6k = £368,222.88 split 5,272 ways = £69.85 (new actual cost of issuing)

    If the standard costs remain £85, their £897.12 profit would become £79,870

    I wonder if SGC's revenues & benefits department will be reappraising their costs to make them less unlawful in the current climate?

  2. I suspect there's more than a little sleight of hand going on with that estimate.

    Is the calculation based only on Liability Orders granted?

    Typically more summonses are issued than orders granted which account for additional costs revenue. Does SGC not charge householders in this way, or have figures been presented this way in order to deceive?

  3. On its website under the business rates (NNDR) category (Problems paying your business rates), SGC has admitted breaking the law by publishing the charges it imposes on buisiness ratepayers for non or late payment. It specifies in the same way as for Council Tax that summons costs of £55 will be payable once the requisite number of threats have been sent, but before the case is heard.

    South Gloucestershire Council and the Magistrates' Court should seriously be considering their legal positions, not only for the profiteering the court is facilitating, but the breach of the law in Business Rates liability order applications.

    Laws governing recovery of Business Rates through the Magistrates' Court are not the same for Council Tax. Unlike Council Tax Regulations which provide for Summons Costs to be claimed against the defaulter, the Non-Domestic Rating (Collection and Enforcement) (Local Lists) Regulations 1989, do not, neither do any subsequent amendments. However, SGC unlawfully imposes summons costs on defaulting Business ratepayers.

    It has been admitted that no provision exists for a summons costs to be imposed this way in a Freedom of Information request made to North East Lincolnshire Council.

  4. by Arnylane,

    "...It has been admitted that no provision exists for a summons costs to be imposed this way in a Freedom of Information request made to North East Lincolnshire Council.

    I suppose this, which looks like evidence submitted for alleged Business Rates court costs Fraud has some connection with the above:

    NELC Business Rates Fraud: