Fair Collection Charter implemented in South Ribble
South Ribble Borough Council has implemented a new policy - the Fair Collection Charter - which will see enforcement action ceased on individuals and businesses who have no means to pay their council based bills*.
This Charter will enable the Council to take a fair and sensitive approach whilst also ensuring that they meet their responsibilities to collect money due to help pay for vital services.
The Charter is based on the following principles:
- Early intervention - The council will try to identify as early as possible where people may be financially vulnerable and will do what they can to help
- Advice and education - The council will help those struggling to manage their finances and will signpost to budgeting and other advice
- Clear and timely communication - The council will contact individuals or businesses as soon as possible about upcoming payments and will make sure they are aware of how to contact if they are struggling
- Easy and flexible payment - The council will offer a range of times and ways to for individuals or businesses to pay their bills
- Collection and recovery - The council will consider individual circumstances where possible and will only take legal action where necessary
Councillor Aniela Bylinski Gelder, Cabinet Member for Communities, Social Justice and Wealth Building said, "We want to do everything we can to support our residents and businesses in paying their bills. We understand that sometimes people find themselves in financial hardship or are vulnerable and will need support and advice and we are here to help.
"We're amid a cost-of-living crisis and we know how so many people are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Pursuing enforcement action on those individuals or businesses when they have no means to pay a council bill could impact upon mental health, well-being, and self-confidence. Doing so also places additional demand on public services.
"The Charter is a fair and sensitive way we can help support our communities - not push them further into despair."
The Charter seeks to support residents and small and micro businesses, with fewer than 250 employees or sole traders, registered and trading in the borough.
Councillor Bylinski Gelder continued, "Our goal is to create a community where everyone can thrive, be happy and healthy and so this Charter is a two-way street; we want to work with individuals or businesses who are struggling, not against them. We'd ask if you are struggling financially to be honest about your circumstances and contact us as soon as possible if you think you may struggle to pay an up-coming bill.
"Please actively engage with the help and support offered, make use the different options available to you to make sure payments are made on time and contact us quickly if you need more time."
If you are struggling financially and want to talk with someone in the team, please contact 01772 625 625 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Council based bills are categorised as
- Council Tax
- Business rates
- Housing Benefit overpayments
- Miscellaneous invoices such as rents and fines
- Fixed penalty notices for parking and environmental crime