Decision details

Council Tax Recovery

Decision Maker: Assistant Director Housing and Building Services

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Council Tax recovery – to undertake initial recovery action on Council Tax arrears cases where a liability order has been obtained from the court, but recovery action has not yet commenced.

Normal recovery action on Council Tax arrears has effectively been suspended since March 2020:
Payments on existing payment arrangements have continued to be collected but where payments have stopped attempts have been made to contact the customer to offer support.
Revenues and Benefits telephone lines are open and are receiving approx. 100 calls each day about Council Tax and Business Rates, again offering customers advice and support.
Where customers have indicated they are unable to keep up with payments due to the current lockdown, recovery action is suspended.
All enforcement agent (bailiff) action has ceased and no new referrals have been made.

There are 572 Council Tax arrears cases (totalling £267k), where a liability order was obtained at the Magistrate’s Court in February, where no action has yet been taken. Normally they would be set up on a new payment arrangement and write to them setting out payment instalments – this action was suspended in March 2020.

It is recommended that contact is made with these customers by letter setting out a new payment arrangement to clear the arrears, with the offer of support if they are unable to make payments. If no payments or contact from the customer is received, no further recovery action will be taken at this stage.

Financial/staffing/health & safety (incl virus transmission risks)/service delivery impacts/other risks and impacts considered:
Financial – early contact with the customer about arrears is recommended to assist the customer and maximise income for the Council.
Staffing – no impact as staff are in place to take enquiries from customers.
Health and safety – no impact.

Equality Impact:


To contact 574 residents by letter about outstanding Council Tax arrears with the offer of a payment arrangement or support if they are unable to pay at this time.

Reason: Council Tax arrears remain outstanding and due to be paid. The Council has a statutory duty to collect these amounts.

Alternative options considered:

The only alternative option is to continue to suspend any action on these cases. The debt will remain outstanding along with any continuing liability to pay Council Tax.

Publication date: 25/11/2020

Date of decision: 30/04/2020