STEADY AS SHE GOES - AN UPDATE
Today the claimant team met the council for the first time since April. This is a report back.
THE “JULY” OFFER PEOPLE
The councils position was that the never said “July” but “post July “. It’s amazing how so many people can have such different recollections about the same conversations.
Anyway we tried to be constructive and asked the council let us have a reasonable but realistic timetable for the release of these offers. As I’ve tried to explain before, this is not a single group of people but a collection of different problems, usually related to additional documents needed. They fall into these sub categories
a. Deceased claimants - they need a clear representative appointed. Some have done this but others haven’t yet done this. We have only recently been informed of some folk that have passed away.
b. First wave claims. These are people with very early tribunal claims that need to be matched up with council records.
c. Sheriff court cases. These are people who had left but either didn’t tell us this or gave incorrect information.
d. Acas or ET documents missing- these need to prove claims were submitted before the deadline. This mainly a Thompson’s issue. They have now uploaded the relevant info but gcc not had a chance to check.
e. Withdrawn offers.
f. Miscellaneous small groups
The council have agreed to deal with them in this order. We will let you know when we have the timetable.
This is the group that have not yet returned their offer documents. There are about 100 or so who’ve moved and not contacted us. There are about 300 zero or low offers. Many seem to think there’s no point. This is not correct. If the forms aren’t returned the debts will be reinstated along with enforcing them and they’ll be excluded from next round of settlements and will miss out on any pension recalculation.
So far 98.4 % have accepted and either have been processed or are due for processing. Well done to everyone for this monumental effort.
HOUSING AND COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT SUSPENDING
We complained about this process. The officers were honest in that they didn’t know what happened here but agreed to investigate and come back to us.
COUNCIL TAX ARREARS.
GCC accepted that this had not gone as well as hoped for a whole variety of reasons. One of these is that the debts are enormously complicated involving in some cases multiple CT accounts over multiple addresses (sometimes more than a dozen addresses) over multiple years. Not surprisingly many claimants forget how far back these debts go and why. Gcc don’t have the computer systems to cope so calculations have to be done manually.
They accept they were too slow in supplying info to the relevant departments and not appreciating how long this would take to be processed. They have speeded this up enormously.
The council will be communicating direct with each person affected and they will be sending receipts and rebates. (No point contacting a4es as we don’t have the info). They assign the debt repayments to individual years so you’ll get multiple receipts for the affected years.
REBATES will be paid direct to the account given for the settlement- they take about 3 weeks to process.
SCOTT & co. Gcc accept their external agents have not dealt with this properly- apparently they take at least 2 weeks to process internally any new information given to them by the council and have been carrying on trying to enforce debts in the meantime- and adding their fees to the debts. Gcc are as unhappy about this as we are. They have assured us that claimants will not have to pay these charges and are raising this with Scott & co as part of the contract discussions. There is a fear that Scott & co are missing out on commissions and are trying to maximise their returns. No comfort to the poor folk caught up in this bureaucratic dispute.
These are being stopped but again it takes time for these stop notices to be processed and actioned. They are sending us a timetable but most will now have been stopped but the most recently accepted offers will still be included in next weeks wages. They will send us this timetable too.
2019/20 COUNCIL TAX
Those that have not paid their 19/20 tax will now be caught up in this years enforcement cycle, which starts at the end of June. So new mandates are being sent to Scott& co and new wage arrestments start from August. Just a warning. The two processes will overlap in some cases.
Yet again there is confusion for this poor group. Our information is that the university’s lawyers had not heard from gcc. Gcc thought they had replied. They have promised to clarify and come back to us.
GCC expect to provide the pension authority with the relevant information by mid August. We will follow up then.
The council were concerned whether the unions were committed to their timetable. The unions were clear that information and training was not yet completed but they remained committed to the process but it was wrong to unnecessarily rush things.
So we await the promised timetables - hopefully the delayed offers will start going out in the not too distant future. I will up date you when I have the timetable
A generally constructive meeting. Steady as she goes. We are getting there.