The Council’s constitution as set out in Part 7, Section 2, paragraph 1.1.9 requires the Group Head of Finance to submit a report to the Corporate Support Committee about the sundry debts written off in accordance with their delegated powers.
The Group Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer advised members that the retrospective report asked them to note that £39,521.56 of sundry debt had been written off in respect of 81 cases as shown in appendix 1. He explained that members were now also being asked to approve this write in line with Part 7, Management Structure, Delegations and Authorisations, Section 2, Officer Scheme of Management, Group Heads, paragraph 1.1.9. In summing up he confirmed for members that, all debts were reviewed and challenged thoroughly.
The Chair then invited questions from members, where clarification was sought on what specifically made up the debts classed as ‘miscellaneous’ and ‘uneconomic’, it was confirmed that the detail of each of these would be provided in writing to memberd. The Group Head of Finance did confirm that for those that sit in the ‘uneconomic’ column these were debts that had exhausted the recovery process and further work to attempt to recover these debts would prove most costly than the level of debt itself. Further questions on the recovery process were asked where it was confirmed that the process varied from case to case in terms of length of time pursued and that additional detail would be provided outside of the meeting. Members where keen to understand if the council’s level of write offs for sundry debt was in line with other local authorities. Final comments made were to ask the Group Head of Finance if he was seeing the levels of debt increase given the current economic situation. He confirmed that the area he expected to see collection rates fall was in council tax and business rate collection, however these were seen to be currently holding well, overall, the councils’ collections rates have remained steady.
The recommendations were then proposed by Councillor Nash and seconded by Councillor Brooks.
1. That the Committee note that £39,521.38 of sundry debt has been written off in respect of 81 debts under delegated authority during 2022/23 shown in appendix 1.