The objective of the Debt Recovery Policy is:
To ensure that money owed to the Comhairle is collected as soon as possible using efficient, effective and fair debt recovery procedures.
The aims of the Policy are to:
- take positive action to prevent arrears occurring, for example by maximising income and providing a range of payment methods
- take enforcement action against deliberate non-payers or those who delay payment
- ensure prompt billing and to remind people quickly if they do not pay
- encourage early contact to avoid the build up of debt.
This policy describes the Comhairle’s approach to both collecting outstanding debts and trying to minimise the debt that arises in the first place.
We recognise that people do not pay their debts for a variety of reasons:
- Some people may deliberately set out to delay or not make payments and all methods of enforcement will be used to secure payment in these cases.
- Some people, because of living in or on the margins of poverty, will have difficulty in paying. The Comhairle will use their best endeavours to help such people and to minimise the impact of debt on them.
- Some people may be able to pay but do not pay because of an oversight or personal difficulties and not because of a deliberate decision to avoid or delay payment. The Comhairle will seek to help such people develop a culture of payment by encouraging them to get in contact and discuss any difficulties.
This policy covers the collection of Council Tax, Non-domestic Rates, and Sundry Debts (including Housing and Council Tax Benefit overpayments). In view of the forthcoming transfer of the Comhairle’s housing stock to the Hebridean Housing Partnership, this policy does not address debt issues relating to council houses.
The policy consists mainly of a statement of principles. It will be supplemented by further advice which will be issued to Comhairle staff and other agencies to assist them in advising the public on debt recovery issues.