Decision details

Uncollectable Debts in Excess of £10,000 - MAR20/CMDN/93

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Finance

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The Cabinet Member is recommended to authorise the write off of the debt shown as outstanding in respect of non-domestic rates, council tax, housing benefit overpayments and accounts receivable (sundry debt) accounts included in the Appendices. This details the financial year and the category for the write off request.


Reasons for the decision:

In all cases included in this Cabinet Member Decision Notice the authorisation for write-off is requested due to one of the following scenarios:


·         a company being placed into administration of liquidation;

·         the ratepayer is an individual being made bankrupt;

·         the ratepayer is deceased with no further income due from the estate;

·         following extensive enquiries being made it has not been possible to trace the debtor and therefore collect payment; or

·         all recovery options/ activity have been exhausted.

·         the entity/ organisation is now defunct due to restructuring

·         the debt is Statute Barred due to time limitation


Where debt being written off is in relation to companies that have gone into administration/ individuals being made bankrupt, proof of debt has been lodged with the Administrators or Liquidators in all appropriate cases and either it has been confirmed that no dividend is payable or a final dividend payment has been received. Recovery action has therefore been exhausted and there is no further action that can be taken to obtain any further payments in relation to the debt. Table 2 in Appendix 1 summarises the rationale for the different reasons for write off decisions by year and by value.


The majority of the aged debt outlined in Appendix 1 has been fully provided for in the council’s debt provisions in accordance with the council’s debt provision policies, local accounting procedures and statutory accounting regulations. As a result, the impact on the Council’s revenue position as a result of this write off exercise is £75,116. All debt recovery actions available to the council must be exhausted before outstanding debt can be recommended for write-off.


To further strengthen its debt collection procedures, the Council has now implemented a robust end-to-end accounts receivable process, including ensuring that all future debt write off exercises take place on a quarterly basis. This report represents the final quarterly exercise for 2019-20.



Alternative options considered:

The alternative option is to not write off this debt but this would result in an uncollectable debt continuing to be shown as outstanding with a bad debt provision for this debt. Once a debt is no longer collectable it should be written off in the Council’s accounts and the debt provision adjusted accordingly.


All other alternative options available to the Council to collect the debt have already been undertaken before making a decision to recommend a debt for write off.    


Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:


Background Documents:


Publication date: 23/03/2020

Date of decision: 23/03/2020

Effective from: 27/03/2020

Accompanying Documents: