Policy and Finance Cabinet Member – Minutes – 14 March 2016

49  (49) UNCOLLECTABLE DEBT 2015/16 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which provided an annual review of debt due to the council and focussed on those debts which were proving difficult to collect.  This included debts carried over from previous years.

The report provided information on the council’s continuing high collection rates for council tax and business rates and provided assurance that all appropriate measures were taken to recover monies due to the Council.

The Cabinet Member was advised of debts written off under delegated powers and sought approval to write-off a number of debts over £5,000, which could be attributed to a range of reasons including bankruptcy, death or the debtor had gone away and could not be traced.

It was explained that there were circumstances which could make debt unavailable for collection (a person was deceased, missing, or had filed for bankruptcy; a business had gone into administration) or uneconomical to collect (the cost of collection outweighed the amount of debt). In these circumstances the debt was written-off in the council’s accounts but kept on the councils records should circumstances change. This was a prudent approach to ensure that the council did not spend income it could not reasonably expect to collect.

The full range of debt recovery processes had been undertaken in the pursuit of these debts in accordance with Council policy, but there would always be cases where payment of debt could not be secured.

Full details were outlined within appendix 1 to the report.

Resolved – (a) That the debts written-off under delegated powers listed in Appendix 1 be noted; (b) that approval be given to write-off debts over £5,000 as listed in Appendix 1; (c) that these debts remain in the Council`s records and available for payment in the future should they become available, and (d) that the continued high collection rate of North Lincolnshire Council in comparison to other local authorities be noted.