Debt Collection Service – Councils

Most effective Collections – more than just legal action:

We have a long and proud history of servicing the debt collection needs of local government and currently work on behalf of 40 regional councils in NSW.

We achieve faster and higher collection results than traditional solicitor services, by
providing a full-service offering:

  • In-house solicitors for a full range of traditional legal actions
  • Face-to-face field calls to the most difficult and unresponsive debtors
  • Personal Service of all key legal documents
  • Skip Tracing
  • Sale of Land outsourcing
  • New collection innovations from research and experience

The old solicitors’ approach of suing everyone on Council’s list of overdue debtors in a
standard inflexible series of actions, getting quickly to Writs, is no longer best practice nor
appropriate. It adds too much cost to Customers, is slower, the Courts are pushing back on
Councils, and it penalises Customers who want to pay but are genuinely struggling

Services and benefits at a glance – for councils

Our Debt Collection Approach

Benefits to You

Rent for Rates Notice Achieve prompt payments without having to resort to costly legal action
Documents served personally Ensures papers are delivered to the right person, overcoming potential delays and time-wasting tactics by debtor
Discounted solicitor fees (40%) Helps council with cash flow and eases cost pressure on ratepayer
Payments managed for free Free council staff to focus on core work
Debtor location (skip tracing) Find debtors effectively. Fee applies only when search successful. You can trial this service for free
Full reporting Be updated on all your debtor accounts and improve customer service
Free in-house solicitor service Gain legal advice at no cost
Free onsite training twice yearly Upgrade staff knowledge and improve debt recovery results
Local Government Procurement (LGP) Use our services without needing to tender, which saves money and time

Documents served personally

To maintain full control of the debt collection process, we serve all documents personally rather than by post. This has two clear advantages:

  1. We can be sure the ratepayer receives the document.
  2. If the ratepayer is not onsite because the address is tenanted, we can issue a Rent for Rates Notice rather than proceed with unnecessary costly legal action.

The alternative method, favoured by many other agencies, is to send documents by post. This often causes delays and uncertainties, as you can’t be sure whether the ratepayer has received the papers.

Discount of 40% on solicitor fees

The cost of our debt collection is highly competitive, but to make it even more affordable we have discounted our solicitor fees by 40% (council clients only).

A lower upfront cost will help cash flow, as well as help the ratepayer keep legal costs down: a win-win benefit for both parties.

A discount is more beneficial than a fee deferral. Some agencies will defer legal costs to assist their clients, but this does not help ratepayers already suffering financial hardship and only adds to their debt.

Use of Rent for Rates Notice to achieve fast payments

We serve documents personally, which means we can quickly ascertain if the property is tenanted and, if so, seek permission from council to serve a Rent for Rates Notice.

This legally binding document compels the tenant to pay their rent to council rather than into their usual rental account.

Once the ratepayer realises they are not receiving rental payments they soon contact council and either pay in full or enter a payment arrangement.

If the summons is served by mail, the above action cannot be readily undertaken resulting in a lengthier resolution process, which would likely lead to legal proceedings.

Location of delinquent debtors

We have a high success rate with locating debtors (skip tracing) who are not residing at the rated property. We charge a fee only when location is successful. This saves council time and expense in finding a missing debtor.

Companies that use our skip tracing service include Allianz, NRMA, SGIO, CGU, Swan Insurance and more.

Payments managed for free

We can manage council payments free of charge. This will save time and allow council staff to focus on core activities.

We use a live system so any payments received by us are uploaded and can be seen by council immediately when logged in.

Our system automatically alerts us of any matter requiring follow-up action, such as when a ratepayer operating under a special payment arrangement has missed payments. We are also prompted when 28 days have elapsed after serving a summons.

When alerted of any missed payments, we follow up by contacting the ratepayer, first by telephone and then by an automatically generated reminder letter sent on the same day. This automated approach ensures prompt payment.

Our software system allows council to log in for live status updates and request any report required.

Reports on the status of your account

Specific reports on the status of an account can be requested at any time. Reports can also be generated automatically; for example, if there are charges added to a debtor’s ledger card.

Personal management of your account

We will assign a manager to your account, and you’ll be able to contact this person during business hours.

Your account manager will meet with you regularly and whenever requested. This will ensure your debt accounts are handled to your satisfaction.

Free legal advice from our in-house solicitors

We have solicitors that work with us on a full time basis. They are available for advice or full brief when required. We can also arrange for legal representation on any court matters.

You will also be immediately advised of any changes or updates to relevant legislation.

Free training on debt recovery

We provide onsite training twice a year on legislative changes and to communicate vital technical information. Training is offered at no cost.

Training is designed to ensure council staff understand the correct approach to take in different situations and know how to make decisions that will protect council’s integrity and achieve the desired outcome.

Internet access to our systems

We offer direct access to our systems 24/7 via the Internet. This will enable you to obtain information and answer any queries promptly, which will enhance service to ratepayers and streamline interaction between council and us.

LGP approved contractor: no need for tenders

We are part of Local Government Procurement (LGP), which means you can use our services for one or all of your accounts without having to go through the tender process. This will save time and money.