Council Agrees New Debt Collection Policy

town hall 4 copyCouncillors have approved a new debt collection policy following a warning that the amount of money owed by islanders is rising.

Senior Finance Manager Ben Barrett told members of last week’s Finance Committee that problems with the way the authority collects debts has been highlighted by their auditors.

He said the policy was needed because the Council hadn’t previously had one in place.

The new process will see legal action being started 28 days after a bill was due to be paid, although several warnings will be provided before this happens.

Ben told councillors that they needed to be “firm but fair” with people who owed money and an “element of care” was also needed when chasing debts, so that extra costs didn’t fall onto areas such as housing.

But Council Chairman Amanda Martin took issue with Ben’s report, which referred only to Isles of Scilly businesses.

She said there had been mainland companies who had owed money too and Cllr Gaz O’Neill agreed, saying some of the biggest debts they’d had to deal with had been from outside of the islands.

Cllr Gordon Bilsborough felt the Council needed to be vigilant and deal with debts before they got out of hand. He also wanted to know whether they could send in the bailiffs.

Mr Barrett said that had happened in the past.

But Cllr Christine Savill felt that islanders who were having problems should be directed towards the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, who make monthly trips to the islands.

She said that was one of their areas of expertise.

CAB advisors will be at Carn Gwavel today.

One Response to Council Agrees New Debt Collection Policy

  1. Jeff Eastick December 10, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Has the total debt amount outstanding been published ?
    Seem to remember statement some time ago that outstanding Council Tax had been ‘written off’ , but not certain on this point.