Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Corporate spin masquerading as news

CIVEA: A thieves guild
REVEALED!!! Says the Daily Mail.  "Council tax bills could be cut by an average £100 per household if authorities chased up debts properly."

This is according to analysis by CIVEA, the bailiff trade association.  This is the same organisation who investigates complaints against bailiffs - and is made up of those very same bailiff companies.  The self-investigating (no faults found) complaints body.

Steve Everson, director general of CIVEA said: 'These figures show that those local authorities that take a more proactive approach to the enforcement of council tax are helping to ease the financial burden on taxpayers and protecting revenue for vital public services on which vulnerable people depend.' His concern for the vulnerable is touching.

What we are looking at is another example of our Uncle Tom Media unquestioningly reporting what is essentially corporate PR spin.  CIVEA would like nothing more than for councils to be more aggressive in collecting "debts".

Presumably, with his new found concern for the vulnerable, he will be barring the likes of James Cohen from his organisation and disassociating himself from fraudsters Rundle & Co and Bristow & Sutor?  I wonder, does it ever occur to Everson, or indeed councils, that there would not be so many vulnerable people were he and his clients not raping them for every spare penny?

They conclude that council tax bills could be cut by an average of £100.  But they wouldn't be, because our councils are nothing but greedy revenue collection machines who have long since forgotten who they are supposed to serve.

This matters not to Everson and his ilk.  There's millions to be made for him and his merry band of thugs if councils take a "more proactive approach to the enforcement of council tax".  Knowing that the police are not mentally equipped to deal with the vagaries of bailiff law, and that councils are staffed by would-be child-rapist enablers, (they who turn a blind eye to the thuggery and fraud of Mr Everson's members), there's every chance he and his ilk can be millionaires by heaping misery on those vulnerable people he is so concerned for.

Not that this troubles the junior hacks at the Daily Mail, or The Guardian for that matter.  It would take a real journalist to blow the lid off this grubby little scam.  And we know what happens to those these days.

Sunday, 27 April 2014


Child rape: Probably fine with SGC
One of the very few publications who still bother with that awkward and time consuming of disciplines known as "journalism" is Private Eye.  In this latest edition they report on the culture of denial within Rochdale Council.
"After decades of denials Rochdale council began to reassess Knowl View school in 2012 after Chris Marshall alleged that he was forced to perform a sex act with Smith on school property while another “well-dressed man” looked on. More than a dozen former pupils are also identified as abuse victims of other men in internal council reports. They too have never received justice."
This is the same culture of denial that exists in the NHS.  In all areas of public service this same culture of denial exists.  That is why there are Staffordshire citizens pushing up daisies and children are being raped in Rochdale.  Whether Smith is guilty or not, we shall not know, because our councils investigate themselves and find themselves innocent, if they mount any kind of investigation at all.

Dorothy Hooper and "Mrs Williams" of South Gloucestershire Council should reflect.  They are part of that ilk that denies wrong-doing.  Were they part of Social Services, these monstrous crimes would be on their conscience. But as they are part of SGCs recovery department, the vulnerable are being raided for unlawful fees by bandit bailiffs like James Cohen - and Williams et al have nothing to say about it. Good going guys.  Hope you are proud of yourselves.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Bristow and Sutor have written to me making it known that they intend to use the new regulatory regime to charge me £235 to collect the £42.50 they allege I owe for their phantom visits.  The regulated fee of £235 only applies for the enforcement of debts ordered by a court. As no court has ordered me to pay £42.50 to the bailiffs, their case is non-starter.  If a bailiff says he has a court order for the £42.50 when he has not, then he commits fraud and will be reported as such.

Under the new regulations I owe nothing because paragraph 58(1) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 says when the debtor pays the debt in full (which I have) enforcement action must cease forthwith and no further enforcement steps can be taken.  When enforcement action ceases bailiffs cannot enforce the recovery of fees, Paragraph 31 of the National Standards for Enforcement Agents 2014. As we understand it, under the new regulations a bailiff cannot even sue you for fees let alone levy distress for them.  If Bristow and Sutor want a court case, I will give them one.

Meanwhile, I've not bothered to pay anything on this years council tax either.  The council have sent me a letter threatening a Liability Order unless I pay £112.09, incurring costs of £85.  So South Gloucestershire Council are still profiteering from unlawful fees.  It's about time someone tested this in court.  If I can put the last two cases to bed this year then I will give it some thought.  But for Bristow and Sutor... it's game on.  Bring it.

Monday, 14 April 2014

A toxic cocktail

On Friday I received a reply to my letter to South Gloucestershire Council.

In a word: bullshit.
As predicted Mrs Williams has upheld the charges for the phantom visits.  She has asked the bailiffs if they think they are wrong, and unsurprisingly, they don't think so.  This is akin with asking Mr JT Ripper if he's murdered any prostitutes lately.

It is clear they have no intention of mounting any kind of investigation. The word of their bailiffs suffices for them, and our masters have spoken.  There are some deep flaws in her assertions. Delicious though they are, I do not wish to publish my observations just yet as I may rely on them in court, and don't want to give the game away.

My message to Bristow & Sutor and SGC is that if you think this £42.50 is due, then by all means you are welcome to try collecting it. Mrs Williams has already admitted malpractice but has chosen to take no substantial corrective action. I wonder how a court will view this?

This is now entirely typical of our parasitic public sector, to such an extent that even our MP's have started to notice.  "Britain will face another scandal like Mid Staffs, in which hundreds of patients died needlessly, unless there is a cultural “revolution” (in the public sector).  These are the findings of the Public Administration select committee in a report released today, highlighting a culture of hostility, defensiveness and denial where complaints are concerned.  It is not limited to the NHS.
"As things are, most people believe there is no point in complaining. The shocking collapse of care at Mid-Staffs hospital should be a warning to the whole public sector that too many managers in public services are in denial about what their customers and their staff think about them."
MPs found that managers are often in denial about criticism of the services they are in charge of and the public believes there is little point in making complaints, which is creating a "toxic cocktail".

It is just as well that South Gloucestershire Council recovery department staff are not NHS administrators.  Were that so, their hands would now be dripping with blood.  There are people now pushing up daisies because of low ranking officials like "Mrs Williams", who in their arrogance, indifference and incompetence cannot possibly enterain the idea that they may be wrong.  Their approach to complaints is that if they stonewall for long enough, the plebs will simply go away. I won't. I will give them a taste of that "toxic cocktail". See you in court.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Feeling the love

I got mail this morning. South Gloucestershire Council has instructed Bristow & Sutor to "continue recovery action" for the sum of £42.50.  But Mrs Williams and the gang in South Glos Recovery department are bit thick. Rundle & Co went away empty handed last year, and so will Bristow & Sutor. Only a magistrate can force me to pay this money, and only after the police are involved. I wll make that whole spectacle cost them a lot more than £42.50 if I am forced to pay.  I have never paid fraudulent fees to organised crime organisations, and I am not about to start.

If South Gloucestershire Council thinks it's a good press to get the police to force a taxpayer to give into known fraudsters, then so be it.  It will cost them more than it costs me. What we see here is petty vindictiveness by SGC, knowing the police won't investigate this fraud, - and they know full well I am not going to pay without a fight, so this is essentially a council wasting taxpayers money on a vendetta - when they are in the wrong.

Bristow & Sutor: Fraudsters

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Blurred lines in local media

Propaganda rags: Uncle Toms.

Thanks to further work by Jason Bailey of dealingwithbailiffs.co.uk, I am now satisfied, after some doubt, that the reformed bailiff fee schedule is legitimate.  This time my instincts were wrong.

In the course of checking the facts, I wrote to the editor of the Echo, Colin Channon, asking for clarification as to whether he had fact-checked these claims.  His reply was simply a copy-and-paste of the new fee schedule from god knows where (presumably a council website). I don't believe he has done the same degree of research I have in order to verify these fees, and if there was an inconsistency, I very much doubt he would have found it - or been bothered enough to look. These churnalists believe what they are told.

While we were on the subject, I challenged Channon on his use of the expression "council tax dodgers".  His reply was similarly glib...
"Dictionary definition for ‘dodger’: one who persistently evades a responsibility, such as tax dodger, draft dodger. If someone doesn’t pay a council tax, which is a responsibility, doesn’t that make them a dodger?"
The word "dodger" implies deliberate, premeditated (and persistent) evasion, which in my case is entirely correct since I do not feel any obligation to pay our idle parasites hard-working public servants. But in the case of so many (in the face of recent reforms) it is simply untrue. Not everyone is on a PAYE contract and not everyone is capable of managing Direct Debits - and cannot necessarily pay when the schedule says they must.

Further to this, councils have been passing on council tax "debt" to bailiffs as early as July for a first offence. Hardly persistent evasion. Their boilerplate corporate response is that they employ bailiffs "only as a last resort", which, as we know, is a fat lie. Our council's rapacious greed knows no boundaries.

Channon has used the word "dodger" as shorthand for council tax payers in arrears, and in so doing insults a great many of his readers who are simply struggling to pay. Such language makes The Echo appear to be the mouthpiece of our greedy councils. It is an ugly practice and it is lazy, especially if you have done any investigation into council tax enforcement and the unlawful behaviour of bailiffs. For a long time now, councils have been upholding fees for phantom visits while the police turn a blind eye, calling it a "civil matter". The very reason this blog exists.

I have previously remarked on how our local media has become an "Uncle Tom" to local government.  Now it seems the relationship is becoming official.  Newsquest, the parent company of The Echo is moving to sack a number of its editorial staff. It seems they are no longer needed now that the police are posting directly to local news websites.

Amanda Brodie, chairman of the CIOJ’s Professional Practices Board, described the practice as "wholly unacceptable". In a statement she said: “It is not the job of newspapers to be a mouthpiece for the police or any other body – their job is to hold them to account, not cosy up to them in this way. Channon by his negligence doesn't seem to think so.

Sealing the deal, we learn from Press Gazette that the Crewe Chronicle (Trinity Mirror) is considering sharing offices with the local council. Cheshire East council leader Michael Jones said: "I'm very happy to offer to the Crewe Chronicle team that - if they do want to be based somewhere we can find a place for them in the municipal buildings. We have got a radio station in there - I'm sure we can find space for them in there. We need our local paper to be vibrant and strong."

I'm sure they do, but for what purpose? Since one is the mouthpiece of the other, why not cut out the middle man? There has been much debate in recent years over the future of local media. The narrative is that they are dying and struggling to compete. For me, that day cannot come soon enough - when our lazy, privileged and wilfully ignorant local media withers on the vine, so that properly independent and honest players can enter the market.

This is, oddly, why I am not all that concerned by Leveson press-regulation.  It will not stop us from getting the truth from our media, since the media don't much care for the truth anyway. For that, we have fearless bloggers, and people like you who are willing to read them. If the legacy media wishes to regulate itself into oblivion, why on earth should we care?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Something untoward

Castle Point Council: Misleading the public?
Leaving aside the offensive tone of the Echo which calls those in council tax arrears "council tax dodgers", there is something a little fishy about this report.
Bailiffs are being scrapped in place of new enforcement agents as part of major changes being bought in for the way debts are collected from April 6. Under new Government regulations, enforcement agents will charge a debtor £75 on receiving a court order from the council to chase owed tax. They will then try to contact the person to either get payment in full or set up a payment arrangement. If they are unsuccessful and agents have to visit the debtor they will incur a further £235.
Assuming this procedure is correct, this effectively incentivises phantom visits. But we have only Castle Point Council's word for it since the Echo has clearly not done any work to verify these claims. I think the councils are lying, and local media is slavishly repeating these lies without checking the facts.

I can't find anything at all that says these changes to the law apply to council tax. The measures are part of a wider package of reforms which will implement Part 3 of the Tribunals, Courts & Enforcement Act 2007. But I can see no changes to The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

Even the good people at the Bailiff Help Forum seem in the dark on this one.  There is nothing we can see that repeals the present council tax regulation.  As you can see form the thread, this is not the first such report of its type.  I believe this to be part of a concerted campaign by councils to deceive the public.  They've been caught out on their current grubby little scam and now there is no profit in it, so now they shift the goalposts.

I am happy to test this in court this year if needs be.  If what I suspect is true, they cannot be allowed to get away with it. I have written to the editor of the Echo and Castle Point Council. We shall see what they say.

UPDATE: According to Jason Bailey at DWB, The £75 is a statutory fee. There is no longer the £42.50 fee. "The £75/£235 will most probably in the long term be retained by the council as it will be doing the work and sending the statutory notices. For he most part councils want to retain the £235 fee as well and collect what can be collected in a few visits."

In other words, if there is a revenue stream from punishing the poor, the council wants it.  In some respects, this is a win in that private goon squads like Rundle & Co will take a hit, but it is now much more expensive if you can't afford your council tax.