Edinburgh City Council has been reported as writing off a total of £7.26 million in debts in 2019/20
These included debts attributed to non-domestic rate payments (£3.7m), council tax (1.87m), unpaid parking fines, motorist bus lane abuse fines, and housing benefits overpayments (£428,783) that the local authority was not able to recoup. Multiple debt collection efforts were unable to recover monies owed to them.
The council say over 17,000 fixed penalty notices went unpaid, along with 3,200 fines accrued by motorists abusing the bus lane policy. A large proportion of the debtors were from overseas which made recovering payment challenging due to multiple factors, and a common reason for non-payment was that the DVLA had no record of the drivers.
According to a report issued by the council, 6,500 fines were written off due to vehicle owners having ‘gone away’ from the vehicles registered address. Any good debt recovery agency will know that returning letters marked as ‘gone away’ is a commonly recognised excuse to avoid paying a debt owed. Debt recovery in this instance can be complex and problematic and it requires expertise and people skills along with the right technology and innovation.
A report highlighted on the website edinburghlive.co.uk stated;
“The Corporate Debt Policy allows a measured response to debt recovery, while recognising that a small proportion of the council’s overall income may not be collectable due to matters outside its control. Where a debt is assessed to be irrecoverable it is subject to a write-off process that is consistent with recognised accounting best practice. The council has sought to minimise the cost of write-offs by taking all appropriate action to recover what is due, with monies only being written off as a last resort after exhausting all other avenues.”
Controlaccount works with many UK local authorities and housing associations to recover these types of payments – with a fully integrated approach which includes trace and domestic and international investigation service which improves recovery rates. Our Trace and Collect service is as an effective, proven route to reconnecting with subjects where contact has been lost or they have ‘gone-away’- whether that's a business, individual, tenant, witness or beneficiary.
Supported by our Business Support Toolkit, Controlaccount provides a range of trace and surveillance services from a basic primary trace, employment trace to secure attachment of earnings through to Pre-Litigation reporting and international trace.
Our in-house, highly skilled trace teams have an 85% success rate in delivering results. Our service is reliable, secure and discreet and conducted with integrity at all times. For more information on how we can support reducing your aged ledger balances and bad debt, please get in touch today. We work on a contingent basis where commission is only applied should collection be successful.