The Local Tax and Accounts Receivable team deals with administration, billing and debt collection for a wide range of the council’s charges. These include council tax, business rates, adult social care charges, housing benefit overpayments and other sundry debts such as garden waste. The team is responsible for the collection of approximately £500 million of debt per annum. There are 134,000 domestic dwellings in the borough paying council tax with a further 10,000 business properties paying non domestic rates. The team is also responsible for the design of policy and procedures and the introduction of new government legislation.
The team works very closely with services responsible for raising the sundry charges and also strategically with the Finance teams looking at the strategic planning and feeding into the Medium Term Financial Strategy. The team carries out work from initial billing and then in cases of non-payment through reminders and then subsequent legal action where appropriate. Much of the work is done within the team but external partners with specialist skills are used in certain cases.
In 2016/17 the Local Tax and Accounts Receivable team:
- Achieved the highest collection rate for council tax in 5 years contributing to the Collection Fund surplus helping to fund the council’s services;
- Carried out NNDR revaluation and communicated to businesses ahead of the statutory deadline which included mailshots to over 10,000+ businesses;
- Introduced bill text SMS reminders and bar coded bills allowing customers to pay in over 150 local shops to promote improved collection rates and reduced printing costs;
- Improved collections rates for all debt types;
- Significantly achieved tax base growth for council tax and business rates.