Latest Public Sector News

06.07.18

Council accidentally sues itself blaming ‘change in payment process’

 An east coast council has admitted a “slightly embarrassing” mistake of accidentally sending a court summons to itself.

Waveney District Council sent the summons to the authority’s own finance department over the non-payment of non-domestic rates connected with the Nicholas Everitt Park Trust from October 2010 to April 2017.

The error came about due to the trust being transferred over to Oulton Broad Parish Council, established last year as a branch of Waveney Council.

A Waveney District Council spokesperson said: “Payments for the Nicholas Everitt Park Trust were previously managed by Waveney District Council. Due to a change in the process, business rates relating to the trust were not processed which triggered an automated summons to be issued to the trust c/o the council. 

“For security reasons, summons documents are produced and packed by machine, resulting in the summons to the council being issued in error. The council’s officers acted promptly and withdrew the summons as soon as they became aware of this error.”

The spokesperson added that the process was corrected immediately and the trust’s business rate account was adjusted accordingly.

“Of course, this makes a really good headline and we’d be lying if we said it wasn't slightly embarrassing,” they added.

“However, in reality, this hiccup has cost us nothing more than a letter and the price of a stamp and Waveney District Council can now rest easy in the knowledge that it won't be financially compromised by the legal might of Waveney District Council.”

The dispute was over the non-payment of £718.20 of non-domestic rates.

In May the new East Suffolk Council combining Suffolk Coast District Council and Waveney District Council was made official in Parliament, abolishing the two existing authorities.

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Image credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery

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