The Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council Corporate Recovery Code of Practice has been written in response to the aims of the Council’s Anti-Poverty Strategy. It currently includes the collection of Council Tax, National Non Domestic Rates, Overpaid Housing Benefit, Council Rents and Sundry Debt Accounts. The Services involved in this have been the Revenues section within Finance and Property Services and the Housing Department within Community Services, which has responsibility for the collection of Council Rents.
The need for a Code of Practice to cover many of the debts collected by the Council was then identified. This attempts to: -
Provide consistency in the way that people with debts are dealt with.
Take into account customers’ circumstances and ability to pay, attempting to ensure that financial hardship is not inflicted.
Ensure that customers are given the best advice possible and that different sections of the Council are not competing against each other for payments from customers who are in financial difficulties.
This document is intended to be a guide to all staff with responsibility for collecting debts to the Council. They should not slow down recovery procedures. All staff should be aware of the Code of Practice and new staff should be acquainted with it as part of their training.
In order to ensure customer care the Council will: -
Ensure that debts are collected in an efficient and sympathetic way.
Consider the financial circumstances of the customer when recovering debts.
Make available the Revenues Customer Care leaflet and advise customers how to complain if they are unhappy with the service they have received.
Encourage constructive comments from customers about how we can improve our services.
Make services physically accessible to people with disabilities.
Ensure that services are delivered in line with the Council’s equal opportunities policy and anti-poverty strategy.