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mid sussex council + baliffs my FOI request - possible help lorreta


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ok here we go

 

the service level agreement

 

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/146196/response/360396/attach/3/SLA%20CenSus%20redacted.pdf

 

the request in full

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/baliff_information#comment-35657

 

break down

 

total number of complaints to the council about rossindales - 20

upheld complaints - 0

 

if anyone can help with this "public intrest test" then i would be grateful

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  • I am employed in the IT sector of a high street retail chain but am not posting in any official capacity,so therefore any comments,suggestions or opinions are expressly personal ones and should not be viewed as an endorsement or with agreement of any company.
  • i am not legal trained in any form.
  • I have many experiences in life and do often use these in my posts

if ive been helpful kick my scales, if ive been unhelpful kick the scales of the person more helpful :eek:

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personal thought is to ask for the minuites of the meeting minus pricing

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  • I am employed in the IT sector of a high street retail chain but am not posting in any official capacity,so therefore any comments,suggestions or opinions are expressly personal ones and should not be viewed as an endorsement or with agreement of any company.
  • i am not legal trained in any form.
  • I have many experiences in life and do often use these in my posts

if ive been helpful kick my scales, if ive been unhelpful kick the scales of the person more helpful :eek:

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The redacted bit at paragraph 3.17 of the Service Level Agreement might not be all that different to NELC's SLA (11.6MB).

 

3.17 Rossendales will aim to fully resolve 80% of cases within 6 months of instruction and 100% within 9 months. Exceptional individual cases may be retained by Rossendales in excess of 9 months.

 

In this case 'fully resolve' means either obtain full payment or return the case to COUNCIL as No Trace, No Effects or similar.

Edited by outlawla
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Thank you for the released information

 

However i dispute that the minutes of the meetings are not in the

public's interest and are commercially sensitive

 

discussion of items such as success rates are common no matter what

company is being dealt with, and knowing another company's rates is

not commercially sensitive but mearly an advertising point

 

the only commercially sensitive data is items such as pricing and

costs which can easy be redacted from minutes in the way that they

have been from the contract

 

the other details of the minutes such as operating practices,

methods of dealing with complaints is clearly within the public

interest and has attracted much interest from the general public

and consumer groups alike

 

therefore i require the release of these minutes and failing this

will follow up this complaint to the information commissioner

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  • I am employed in the IT sector of a high street retail chain but am not posting in any official capacity,so therefore any comments,suggestions or opinions are expressly personal ones and should not be viewed as an endorsement or with agreement of any company.
  • i am not legal trained in any form.
  • I have many experiences in life and do often use these in my posts

if ive been helpful kick my scales, if ive been unhelpful kick the scales of the person more helpful :eek:

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Most interesting

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3.19 rossendales will make avaliable to debtors a variety of payment methods to make payments as easy and low cost as possible - doesnt happen, they will recover all reasonable charges providing these have been agreed with census - so councils apparently agree with extra charges

 

 

3.26 Census will generally avoid withdrawing cases from rossendales - is this tact admission that they refuse to retreave cases?

 

3.27 Generally payments will only be accepted by census where full payment including fees is offered again admitting that they refuses to accept reasonable payments

 

3.37 rossindales will keep full and acurate records of all actions takena written report will always be done in cases of violence if the council has this can it be requested

 

3.45 where a debtor has moved descreat enquires will be made of new ocupiers and neighbours

 

3.48 Complaints receaved by Census will be generally passed to rossindale to resolve free reign then

 

3.51 both census and rossindale recognises that debtors may wish to seek advice from solicitors or the CAB both parties will co-operate and provide all relivant information

 

thats from a quick scan

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  • I am employed in the IT sector of a high street retail chain but am not posting in any official capacity,so therefore any comments,suggestions or opinions are expressly personal ones and should not be viewed as an endorsement or with agreement of any company.
  • i am not legal trained in any form.
  • I have many experiences in life and do often use these in my posts

if ive been helpful kick my scales, if ive been unhelpful kick the scales of the person more helpful :eek:

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one other item it does actually say in the code of conduct that the council will not refuse payments near the bottom

 

as this looks like a fairly generic contract is it worth people trying to make a payment taking a printed copy of this with them theres at least 4 councils logos on there

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  • I am employed in the IT sector of a high street retail chain but am not posting in any official capacity,so therefore any comments,suggestions or opinions are expressly personal ones and should not be viewed as an endorsement or with agreement of any company.
  • i am not legal trained in any form.
  • I have many experiences in life and do often use these in my posts

if ive been helpful kick my scales, if ive been unhelpful kick the scales of the person more helpful :eek:

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one other item it does actually say in the code of conduct that the council will not refuse payments near the bottom

 

as this looks like a fairly generic contract is it worth people trying to make a payment taking a printed copy of this with them theres at least 4 councils logos on there

 

Well spotted, but the SLA kind of contradicts the Code of Practice where it states:

 

Service Level Agreement

 

3.27 Debtors will usually be advised to make all payments direct to Rossendales. CenSus will exercise a discretion to accept payments direct from debtors and, in such cases, will liaise with Rossendales to ensure that fees and charges are collected. Generally, direct payments will only be accepted by CenSus where full payment, including fees, is offered.

 

 

Code of Conduct and Practice

 

Payments made direct to the Authority will not be refused however we must as soon as we are aware update the bailiff website with the amount paid and amended balance.

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"Generally, direct payments will only be accepted by CenSus where full payment, including fees, is offered."

 

So they still may refuse payment, if they do you get the apparatchik refusing then ask them to sign a refusal you have prepared or one they write, then use it in any Formal Complaint later.

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i will update once i get the minuites of the meetings, i think they would have to push it a little to call it not in the publics intrest

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  • I am employed in the IT sector of a high street retail chain but am not posting in any official capacity,so therefore any comments,suggestions or opinions are expressly personal ones and should not be viewed as an endorsement or with agreement of any company.
  • i am not legal trained in any form.
  • I have many experiences in life and do often use these in my posts

if ive been helpful kick my scales, if ive been unhelpful kick the scales of the person more helpful :eek:

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From reading the info released it would seem to me that the SLA has been drafted by Rossendales and NOT the local authority. There is to much reference to ensuring that Rossendale;s fees are paid etc.

 

The "Minutes" will not be as easy to get. The "key" to getting info released under FOI has a lot to do with the wording of your FOI request.

 

Around 2 years ago I made approx 140 FOI requests to Local Authorities seeking copies of the Bailiff Contract and details of the number of Liability Ordesr/warrants of executions passed to bailiffs etc. I only received rejections in 2 cases. The wording that I use to make a Freedom of Information requests is as follows:

 

 

Dear Sirs

 

Re: Freedom of Information Request.

 

I would like to make a request under the above act for all of the information to which I am entitled by law, concerning any contracts

that exist between your council and any company of Bailiffs that are under contract with you for the collection of Council Tax and Business

Rate arrears, Parking Charge Notices and any others debts.

 

I would like to stress that the information that I require is not subject to either absolute or qualified exemption and additionally it is most certainly of public interest. In this respect, I would be grateful to receive from you the following:

 

A Copy of the signed Contract or Service Level Agreement between your council, and any firm of Bailiffs etc etc

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  • 1 month later...
i will update once i get the minuites of the meetings, i think they would have to push it a little to call it not in the publics intrest

 

They're in today, 10 of them heavily redacted.

 

 

Census 040211CL redacted.pdf

 

Item 6: PW asked what our company approach was regarding bailiffs putting their foot in the door? I explained that we don’t condone such an approach, although we suspect that some enforcement bailiffs do it, to stop the door being shut in their faces, they definitely would never assert that this was a means of obtaining peaceable entry, and if any examples of this came to light we would take an extremely serious view.

 

 

Census 110118CL redacted.pdf

 

Item 3: We discussed the TV exposure programme, and again it was confirmed that there had been no adverse reaction at all. I advised that we were trialling Body Worn Video units for several of our bailiffs and we believe the technology will help address complaints and bad practice as demonstrated in the programme.

 

Item 11: I advised PW that it was Rossendales 40 Birthday this year and that we planned to host a free client seminar and golf/spa day both in Lancs and possibly somewhere near Milton Keynes. PW agreed a very good idea and he would attend the Southern event.

Edited by outlawla
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well that is one of the worst meeting minutes I've ever seen.

What is

the difference between returns nulla bona and No Contact? The

answer is, that No Contacts are currently where we have been unable

to visit the property. The validity of this was questioned, and it was

agreed that it would be more meaningful to report ‘No contact’ cases as

those where after repeated visits, we had been unable to make contact.

So no explanation of nulla bonna ??

Illegitimi non carborundum

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I think that basically Mid Sussex have no idea whatsoever about what their bailiffs are supposed to do and Rossendales are just taking the p*ss out of them or MS couldn't care less about their rate payers.

Illegitimi non carborundum

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And they're having a 40th birthday party for tossers?

 

Oh and 12 months down the line they're still trialling the body cameras, ( perhaps the camera doesn't work when the bailiffs are in the wrong?)

 

I despair at the simplicity of the minds of people elected to their local council,

is it really the gravy train it used to be years ago or are they just blinded by the corporate image projected by the likes of tossendales?

 

It even mentions that tossers are recruiting bailiffs in the area, will Ms never learn?

Illegitimi non carborundum

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well that is one of the worst meeting minutes I've ever seen.

So no explanation of nulla bonna ??

 

They will avoid that one, as it means there are insufficient goods to levy to cover the debt, so it has to be returned to the council, and the bailiff gets nothing, not even the cost of fuel.

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  • 3 weeks later...

i noticed they were redacted heavly and infact ran it through several peices of software to de-protect the pdf and attempt removal of the redactions with no luck

Please note:

 

  • I am employed in the IT sector of a high street retail chain but am not posting in any official capacity,so therefore any comments,suggestions or opinions are expressly personal ones and should not be viewed as an endorsement or with agreement of any company.
  • i am not legal trained in any form.
  • I have many experiences in life and do often use these in my posts

if ive been helpful kick my scales, if ive been unhelpful kick the scales of the person more helpful :eek:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mid Sussex District Council has been allowing its bailiffs to charge £130 van/attendance fees, willy nilly.

 

A FoI response reveals that on average, 60% of fees for attending with a view to remove goods were imposed on the same visit as the levy.

 

So, from the 1,103 total figure over the specified period, at the very least, 667 of these had not been charged in accordance with the law. In money terms, this means at the very least, £86,710 has been demanded from probably the most hard-up householders for this one element of Council Tax enforcement alone.

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b) where no prior levy was in place

 

 

 

2009 - 2010 0

 

2010 - 2011 0

 

2011 - 2012 0

 

2012 - 2013 0

 

These figures are not correct, the 2 bailiffs who arrived at my house in July 2011 did not have a prior levy and they charged for a levy and a van fee of 130.00 on that day. I wonder if all the other figures provided by Mid Sussex Council are correct.

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b) where no prior levy was in place

 

 

 

2009 - 2010 0

 

2010 - 2011 0

 

2011 - 2012 0

 

2012 - 2013 0

 

These figures are not correct, the 2 bailiffs who arrived at my house in July 2011 did not have a prior levy and they charged for a levy and a van fee of 130.00 on that day. I wonder if all the other figures provided by Mid Sussex Council are correct.

 

The answer is ambiguous. I think what the zeros mean is they never technically charged an attendance fee without first seizing goods, albeit levying immediately before the extortion.

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