Approximately 36,000 Cherwell council tax bills will need to be changed and replacements issued after a fault was discovered on the original bills.
The annual Council Tax Demand, which is produced by the external supplier Capita Business Services Ltd, commenced delivery this week to households in the Cherwell district, advising residents of their council tax bill for the 2014/2015 financial year.
However part way through the mailing process a data fault was identified which led to a series of errors on the bills. These include errors with names, payment and instalment figures as well as inactive barcode information. The barcode is required for bill payment at PayPoint and Post Office facilities.
Those residents who have received incorrect information will have the first bill invalidated and a replacement bill containing the correct information will be issued shortly. For those residents who have not currently received a bill only the correct bill will be issued.
However, as the fault lay with the printing by an external supplier, the information held on Cherwell District Council databases remains correct. This means people who pay by direct debit will have the correct amount debited from their bank accounts, regardless of any errors on the bills. Those who use the automated telephone service, LinkPoint, self service kiosk or who pay online at http://www.cherwell.gov.uk will also be able to pay as normal, despite any inaccuracies on their bill.
The only residents who will be unable to make an immediate payment will be those who have already received a bill and pay at PayPoint and Post Office facilities, as they will need to wait for the revised bill to be issued before payment can be processed.
Cherwell District Council apologises for any inconvenience caused to residents and would like to stress that the costs of re-issuing these bills will be met by Capita and not at the expense of the taxpayer.
Capita manages the entire process from the administration and extraction of the data through to the printing and despatch of the bills.
A statement from Capita said: “Capita can confirm that around half of the annual Council Tax bills, issued on behalf of Cherwell District Council, have been sent to customers with an invalid barcode. The barcode is used by customers who pay their bill at PayPoint and the Post Office. A percentage of those bills have also been issued with further incorrect information.
“Capita has taken immediate action and revised bills are being sent to customers. This only affects residents who have already received a bill. Customers who have received a bill and normally pay via PayPoint or at a post office, should wait for their revised version.
“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience and confusion that has been caused.”