Councils Urged To Partner Debt Charities In Wake Of Ombudsman Criticism

Local authorities can avoid heavy-handed treatment of Council Tax arrears – criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman this week – by partnering with recognised debt advice services to help deal with the underlying problem.

UK registered charity The Debt Advice Foundation issued its advice following two announcements from the Ombudsman this week, in which Newham and Manchester councils were criticised for implementing bankruptcy in two individual cases without following appropriate procedures.

David Rodger, Managing Director of the Debt Advice Foundation comments:

“In this tough financial climate council tax arrears is a rising problem. “Rather than turning to the bankruptcy route, which can involve heavy administration for the local authority and be overly-punitive for the individual, we are urging councils to partner with specialist debt advice charities and agencies.

“Council tax arrears are often indicative of an underlying debt problem. By referring someone who is struggling to make their payments to a charity like ourselves, councils actually increase the chances of recovering their debt as we always advise that Council Tax is treated as a priority payment.” Click here to see full story.