Under the Telljo Pilot scheme, A Council is sending a TellJO invitation to all customers issued with a summons for non-Payment of Council Tax where the Council holds either a mobile phone number or email address.
TPA was issued with a summons in July because there had been no payment and contact from TPA had been non-existent.
A TellJo invite was sent on 22nd July 2019; it was opened and completed almost immediately.
The information received highlighted that TPA was highly vulnerable. Not only was TPA in debt with enforcement agents calling, they had utility debts, benefits had stopped and they were in severe financial hardship.
Most importantly TellJo reported that there was a safeguarding issue as TPA reported suicidal thoughts, mental health issues and adverse lifestyle choices.
TellJo also gave TPA the opportunity to give a voice to some of these issues.
The Enforcement Team Manager contacted TPA and quickly established that TPA had lost their job, had no income, had not eaten for several days and had recently been released from hospital following a suicide attempt.
TPA was referred to the benefits visiting officer who visited TPA at home. She reported back that TPA was at a very low point. It was established that TPA was not claiming the benefits that they were entitled to. As a result help was given to complete an application for Council Tax Support with backdating and vouchers were given to TPA for the local food bank.
TPA was then referred to the Homeless Prevention Officer for the local Citizens Advice who helped with a claim for Universal Credit together with an emergency payment.
Happily both benefits are now in payment and TPA is engaging with his creditors to write off some of his debts and repayments plans on remaining balances.
The Council will be looking to use its discretionary powers under Section 13A (Hardship Relief) to remove some of the debt owing in regards to council tax.