Seven councils are planning to launch a revenues enforcement service, allowing them to bypass commercial bailiff firms.
The move is under consideration by the Anglia Revenues Partnership, which provides the councils with a shared revenues and benefits service.
It believes a council-owned revenues enforcement agency could earn money for members while also treating the public more fairly than would be expected from commercial bailiffs.
The partnership’s original members – St Edmundsbury BC, and Forest Heath, Fenland, Breckland and East Cambridgeshire DCs – were joined this autumn by Suffolk Coastal and Waveney DCs.
A report to Fenland’s cabinet from head of customer services Geoff Kent said changes made in April to the law on enforcement fees – previously known as bailiff fees – meant debtors faced far higher charges if their debts were passed by councils to commercial enforcement agencies.
They would rise from £42.50 after two visits under previous legislation, to £310 for a first visit.
The report said: “It has been agreed in principle that the seven partners would like to create an enforcement agency with the potential to make sure that residents are treated fairly where enforcement is necessary, keeping fees as low as possible, while retaining the income generated by enforcement actions for the council taxpayers of the partner authorities.”
Similar reports are going to the cabinets of other partner councils.