Information on Housing/Council Tax Benefit will be included with bills and reminders for Rents and Council Tax. Other ways of reducing Council Tax bills will also be available.
Where appropriate, documentation (e.g. bills, reminders) will advise customers where to get help and advice about benefits and debt problems. This will normally include information about the Welfare Rights Service, the Council’s Advice and Information Centres, Stockport Debtline, Stockport Law Centre and Citizens Advice Bureaux.
The Council will also: -
Ensure customers are aware of where help and advice is available.
Invite and encourage customers to make contact with the Council in person or by telephone, as soon as they begin experiencing difficulties paying their accounts.
Ensure that all written communications use ‘Plain Language’ and explain complex terminology, when it is required by law to be used.
Assist people with language and sensory communication difficulty, by offering a translation service where appropriate.
Ensure that advice and information given to customers by members of staff is consistent and that customers are treated fairly and equally.
When it becomes apparent that a customer has multiple debts to the Council (these should be more than one type of debt, for example Rent and Council Tax or Council Tax and overpaid Housing Benefit) members of staff will advise customers about the Corporate Debt Officer and how to access the service.
The Council’s preferred method of payment for Council Tax is by ten monthly instalments by direct debit.
However, customers can make payments weekly, fortnightly, four weekly and monthly. Bi-monthly payments may be considered on occasions where the customer makes payments at the Post Office and the monthly instalment amount is less than the minimum payment of £2.00.
Payments may be made by direct debit (Council Tax payments only), standing order, a payment card at the Post Office or a Paypoint outlet, at Stopford House, by credit or debit card and over the Internet.
Customers will be able to make one off payments using debit or credit cards to bring accounts up to date. Generally, the use of credit card payments will be