Local council writes off £230k of bad debt


Over £230,000 lost

PENDLE Council has had to write off more than £230,000 in unpaid debts.

Borough finance chiefs had to give up collecting the cash for a variety of reasons, such as death, insolvency and debtors moving abroad.

The cash relates to housing benefit overpayment, council tax and business rates.

Stephen Simm, revenues manager at Pendle Council, said: “The management of debt which is considered to be uncollectable following exhaustive recovery action is recognised as good practice by the Audit Commission, CIPFA, Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department of Works and Pensions. Debts are only considered for write-off after taking all possible steps to collect.”

The council had to give up on collection of 104 council tax debts this year, coming to just under £80,000.

Of those cases, 23 have absconded, 35 have been declared insolvent, 37 have moved abroad, four have died, four have had recovery exhausted and one has been written off because the debtor is now in care.

Mr Simm said: “In all of the above cases, all avenues available for recovery have been exhausted.

“All accounts raised are actively pursued for recovery. Reminders and final notices are issued, payments by instalment are negotiated and where necessary further action is taken.

“Various tracing methods are used for those debtors who have moved away.

“This includes access to the Experian database where we have authorisation to obtain otherwise restricted information for any person who has applied for a loan, mortgage or any form of credit.

“This has proved to be a very useful tracing tool and all debtors are put through the system prior to the recommendation for write-off.”


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