March 8 2014 Latest news:
by Ramzy Alwakeel, Reporter
Friday, August 2, 2013
Havering Council sent bailiffs to addresses in the borough an average of 24 times a day last year.
And they recovered a staggering £1.95million owed.
Between April 2012 and March 2013, bailiffs knocked on 8,640 doors, demanding cash owing to Havering Council.
That’s nearly double the number of warrants issued to bailiffs the previous year, when about £330,000 was recovered on 4,654 occasions.
At the moment Havering Council only uses bailiffs to pursue council tax debts and parking fines.
Prior to 2011, bailiffs were only used to recover parking fines and penalty notices – which is why the number of warrants was lower, at 2,656, with £150,688 recovered.
But the amount that residents were ordered to pay is likely to be higher than that, as bailiffs’ own fees are recovered from the people they visit, not from the authority that sends them there.
The 2012/13 figures were revealed during last month’s Havering Council meeting, following a request by Cllr John Wood (Residents’ Association) during members’ questions.
But while the numbers were made public, finance boss Cllr Roger Ramsey told him there was no record of the number of complaints received about bailiffs’ behaviour.
“It is currently not possible to determine the exact number of complaints received about bailiffs specifically, as these will have been recorded together with a variety of other complaints relating to the relevant area – for example, council tax arrears,” he said.
“This supports the view of officers that we do not receive a large number of such complaints.”
A council spokesman said the reason for the increase in warrants last year was that an external company had been employed in 2012/13 to help the council pursue a higher number of old council tax debts.