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November 2018
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Collecting Council Tax and helping those in debt

CTA_Logo_Official_2014-NEWThe Stour Valley & Poole Partnership (SVPP) which collects Council Tax on behalf of four Dorset Councils has teamed up with Council Tax Advisors Community Interest Company (CTACIC) to help local people with debt problems.

The initiative coincides with a rise in media attention highlighting the increasing revenues owed to councils and the need to favour affordable repayment plans over the use of enforcement action to recover debts.

CTACIC is one of a network of approved organisations that SVPP is working with supporting people in arrears with council tax, housing benefit overpayments, business rates and other sundry debts. It is a not-for-profit provider of free debt advice and mediation services, specialising in helping those who owe money to local authorities.

The two organisations have signed an agreement to provide immediate dedicated support to SVPP customers through a direct referral telephone facility.

CTACIC has a successful history of helping vulnerable people overcome their debt problems. Managing Director, Chris Richards, explains the partnership’s objectives:

“We’re excited to be working with the Stour Valley & Poole Partnership. It’s important that people who need help get the necessary help, whatever the debt, just as it is essential to treat the long term problem and not just the immediate consequence. A well-known charity recently revealed that they’ve seen a 372% increase in people contacting them with council tax arrears from 2010 to 2014, and it’s a rise we’ve experienced as well.

“We believe that in times of austerity this innovative approach will significantly improve collection rates and separate the ‘can’t pays’ from the ‘won’t pays’.”

Importantly, no financial burden is placed on local councils as CTACIC is a community interest company and its services are free of charge.

SVPP’s approach supports the ethos of the Government’s Good Practice Guide regarding the enforcement of council tax. It offers guidance on the help and support local authorities should be giving to vulnerable people.

SVPP is a partnership of authorities: Poole Borough Council, East Dorset District Council, Christchurch Borough Council and North Dorset District Council. It collects Council Tax and administers benefits for the local authorities.

Council Tax Advisors Community Interest Company is a not-for-profit organisation offering free, independent and impartial advice, and resolution services to those in debt.

Formed in 2012 as a direct result of personal experiences with bailiffs, they specialise in providing advice and guidance on how best to deal with debt situations and offer long-term sustainable solutions including the organisation of repayment plans and professional mediation services.

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