Debtco is not available in respect of Council Tax, Business Rates or Rents as those systems have their own enforcement and recovery processes.
When any Service is attempting to recover payment of an invoice full use should be made of the IRAS system. There, Finance and Property Services will issue the appropriate reminders and warning letters. The final letter forwarded from Finance and Property Services is a Court warning letter, which advises the debtor that the matter will be referred to the Court if that demand is ignored.
If the Court warning letter does not produce a satisfactory result, then the debt will be referred back to the Service to consider whether legal action should be taken through the Debtco system. Before the Service refers the debt to Debtco it should properly re-assess the appropriateness of pursuing the debt further.
There should be a serious re-appraisal of the debt considering:-
(a)Whether the debt is of sufficient size to merit recovery.
(b)Whether the debtor is likely to be able to pay the debt with the appropriate Court Order.
(c)Whether the Service has the appropriate evidence to be able to prove that it is entitled to payment of the debt.
Considering the above points in detail:
(a)The debt process can be time consuming and expensive and it may be more cost effective to write off very low debts. It should be pointed out that there are Court issue fees to be made when a debt is put into Court which can make the costs easily outweigh the amount of the original debt.
Is the debtor likely to be able to pay the debt even if a Court Order can be obtained? There is no practical point in taking Court proceedings if it is known that the debtor has absconded and is unlikely to be found nor is there much to be gained from issuing proceedings if it is known that the debtor does not have and will not have any money. If the debt is considerable and the individual is in receipt of benefits then it may not be cost effective to pursue the debt.
(c)Is there evidence to obtain a Court Order in the first place? The Court rules have changed in recent years and speculative Court action cannot now be taken. If a debt referred to Debtco you will be asked to supply full evidence to justify the debt. That will mean copies of the invoice to identify what the debt is and who is responsible for it, the invoice should have enough narrative to make sense to any person reading it. There should be a clear order form, preferably in writing, confirming that the person to be charged did authorise the work and was aware of the financial implications. There may also be a requirement for service staff to be available to give evidence. The big