Council signs landmark Council Tax protocol agreement

Hackney Council is one of the first local authorities in London to sign-up to a landmark new agreement with Citizens Advice to support people in Council Tax debt.

With Council Tax arrears now the biggest debt issue seen by Citizens Advice nationwide, and tightening Council budgets also meaning it’s crucial that councils collect tax that they’re owed, the Council Tax protocol aims to improve the experience of residents in Council Tax debt while helping Councils to collect the money they're owed.

The protocol will see the Council and Citizens Advice cement existing good practice such as regularly reviewing payment arrangements for residents, making them as flexible as possible, publishing local and national debt advice contact details, and working closely with partner advice agencies and local authorities to make sure that people are supported to pay off their debt.

Cllr Rebecca Rennison, Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing Needs
We already work extremely hard to make sure the information we give about Council Tax is clear and easy to understand, and we also provide lots of different ways for residents to pay. This landmark agreement sets in stone our existing good practice and formalises the really constructive relationships we have with local advice agencies.
Cllr Rebecca Rennison, Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing Needs

Yasmin Alam, chief executive at Citizens Advice East End, said: “Hackney Council adopting our council tax protocol is good news for people who fall behind on their council tax.

“This guidance could help the thousands of people in Hackney struggling with their finances and prevent them from facing even more serious problems such as court action.

“We’ve worked in partnership with Hackney Council to develop these principles around council tax collection which will help families who are struggling to make ends meet, and to enable the council to recoup more of the tax they are owed.”

For more information on the Council Tax protocol, visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/campaigns/current_campaigns/council-tax-protocol/