To approve the approach to debt management and write off (report of the Portfolio Holder Finance and the Executive Director Commercialisation enclosed).
(Please note that Appendix B associated with this report is not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 3 (Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)) in Part 1 of Schedule 12a of the Local Government Act 1972, and is therefore attached to this agenda as item 15).
Consideration was given to the joint report of the Portfolio Holder Finance and the Executive Director Commercialisation which sought approval for the Authority’s approach to debt management and write off.
The Write Off Operational Policy was attached as item 15 within the agenda, which was not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 3 (Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)). Members did not discuss the content of the appendix within the meeting and it was not therefore necessary to consider this item in private session.
The Cabinet was not in agreement with the second recommendation regarding delegation for the CPBS Head of Service, Revenues and Benefits to write off debt for an individual debtor below £5,000, as it was of the opinion that all write-offs should be considered by the Cabinet. It was pointed out that delegation to the S151 Officer was already in place and that the report was requesting that this be transferred to CPBS. Clarification of the current delegation detailed within the Constitution was sought on this point
Members were advised that the Debt Management and Debt Write Off Operational Policies had been requested by the Cabinet at its meeting in January 2017. The Debt Management Policy only included minor amendments from the previous version. The Debt Write-Off Operational Policy was a new policy which gave clear guidance to officers on pre-recovery and possible enforcement action It was agreed that a mechanism to monitor the effectiveness of the processes detailed within the policy be devised, and that progress be reported in six months time.
a) That the Debt Management and Debt Write Off Operational Policies be agreed;
b) That the effectiveness of the new Debt Write Off Operational Policies be monitored and results fed back in six months time; and
c) That delegation for the CPBS Head of Service, Revenues and Benefits to authorise the write off of debt below £5,000 for an individual debtor not be agreed, and that clarification around the current delegation to the S151 Officer be sought.
(Other options considered:
· Do nothing
Reasons for Decision:
· Greater efficiency, consistency and assurance around debt management, and the identification of irrecoverable debt recommended for write off.
· Officer time maximised on greatest returns, at the same time as ensuring robust procedures for debt management are in place across all revenue streams.)
57 Debt Management and Write Off Operational Policy
Appendix B (enclosed)
Councillors gave consideration to this item without the need to go into closed session.