Ombudsman pulls up Barnet over summons

Tim Miller reports

BARNET Borough Council has come under fire from the Local Government Ombudsman after a poll tax court summons was sent to a resident's work address.

The complainant worked in the finance department of another local authority and the summons was seen by his manager who was the Community Charge Registration Officer.

The complainant says he felt "crushed and devastated" and that the incident "left a knot" in his relationship with his employer.

Ombudsman Edward Osmotherly describes Barnet's system of checking summonses as "clearly inadequate".

But a spokeswoman for the authority says Barnet is satisfied with its current procedures for checking, issuing and serving summonses.

Barnet had been pursuing the complainant for alleged community charge arrears. The council received a note claiming that the complainant was registered with a different authority. But Barnet maintains that it was not aware that the complainant also worked for the authority.