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Mar 25 2014

Harrow Council Messes Up on Council Tax Bills

Council Tax bill 2013/2014 for property dwelling band F with 25% discount for sole adult residentAn iharrow.com exclusive.

Looks like there’s been a mess up on Council Tax bills at Harrow this year, and some residents – “a small number” according to a spokesman – won’t be getting sight of their bill ahead of the April 1st due date.

It seems that the council has emailed all residents with a MyHarrow account, trumpeted as a way to make things easier for residents, telling them that their bills are available on line. Not exactly true. Only a statement is online, along with a list of dates. The bill, which is required by law (it says on on the bottom of previous bills) isn’t there.

Residents who signed up for the account probably aren’t getting paper bills either, so it all seems a bit of a cock up.

A spokesman acknowledged the mess, saying “Residents who have not received a bill will be given an extra seven to 10 days for the 1st April instalment so people shouldn’t worry that they will suddenly be in arrears. Obviously we apologise for any concern caused. The majority of residents – nearly two thirds – pay by direct debit and they will not be affected. There is also the option for residents to pay via the internet or by phone.”

 

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2 comments

  1. Linda Robinson

    Well done getting an admission and an apology from them Paul. However, I’m not sure the explanations make much sense. I was still expecting to get a bill in the post as well anyway – I got one last year despite being a MyHarrow Account holder. I think the failure of postal receipt is less to do with MyHarrow Account and more to do with the unreliable delivery method via TNT.
    I assume they must be giving everyone an extra 10 days to pay, otherwise how will they know who’s received their bill and who hasn’t? Are they going to resend the bills by mail to everyone, or only MyHarrow Account holders? Are they using TNT again? If so, what’s going to happen when they still haven’t arrived when the extra ten days are up? I can assure you that three weeks is not an unusually long delivery time for TNT.
    And in any case – how dare they think it’s OK to directly debit people’s bank accounts when they haven’t complied with the law in levying the charge in the first place? That doesn’t make everything alright as people “will not be affected”. It makes it worse! Luckily I don’t do direct debits for anything.
    This story is not about just one cock up; it’s several rolled together as far as I can tell. And that’s not to mention the appalling attitude that greets you if you have the patience to get through on the phone to query the whole mess. Or the mysterious new “12 instalments” that have popped up on some people’s accounts.
    I hope they learn some genuine lessons from this and not just think they can get away with a bland apology without really addressing the actual problems. How much extra is this combination of cock ups costing and who’s paying for that?

  2. Marcello Borgese

    Now that we’ve finally got our CTax bills we’ve also got the CTax Guide books which give some explanation as to where all the money goes. If you compare last year’s with this year’s you’ll see that overall council spending has gone up about 6%. What’s interesting though is the breakdown.

    The council are planning to spend 24% less this year on ‘Customer Services’ yet spending on ‘Legal & Governance’ will shoot up by 47%. What could this mean? One interpretation could be that they are planning to give a worse service when we contact them but they will improve their ability to cover up mistakes and protect themselves when things go wrong. Now I expect some mealy-mouthed councillor to respond by saying something like they are spending less through efficiency savings and that the higher legal bill is for elections this year.

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