£12m debt isn’t excessive amount for council of our size, says finance chief

Finance chief Paul Kent insists there is no cause for concern

Finance chief Paul Kent insists there is no cause for concern

First published in News
Last updated
by

DORSET County Council's finance chief insists the levels of debt it is carrying is perfectly normal for an organisation of its size.

The Echo revealed earlier this week that the council's debts were close to £12million, with more than £450,000 written off in the last year.

Director for corporate resources Paul Kent told a meeting of the council's audit and scrutiny committee that the debt level was nothing to be concerned about.

He said: “The reality is an organisation of this size with £112m of income every year is going to have at any one point in time at least around £8m or £9m outstanding.”

Mr Kent explained to the committee that around £8m of the debt currently owed to the council was less than 30 days old and there was nothing to suggest that the vast majority of it would not be recovered in the near future.

He said: “These are issues we have just invoiced for and people are still to pay.”

Mr Kent said it was important to send a message out to the council's debtors that the authority was still taking appropriate and proper measures to recover any outstanding payments.

He did admit that the last year had been 'exceptional' in terms of the amount of debt written off, with a total of £454,000 compared to an average of around £200,000 a year.

Mr Kent explained that around £270,000 of that related to debts to adult and community services that were dating back several years and should have been written off some time ago.

He said that the debts related to 371 different clients, so some of the individual amounts were quite small, and dated back to before 2009.

Mr Kent said: “These debts should have been written off years ago.

“We felt we had no alternative to write off what were essentially old debts.”

Councillors backed Mr Kent's views that the debts levels should not cause any alarm.

Cllr Peter Wharf said: “These debts as a proportion of our income are pretty standard across the industry.

“I don't view this as bad news.”

In relation to the debts that have already been written off, Mr Wharf added: “There are times when you just say the cost of debt collection massively exceeds the actual debt.”

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:56pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Lord Parkstone says...

12 million isnt excessive if you say it quick enough.
Must be nice to write off significant amounts of money just like that. Bet they wouldn't write off the amount if I didn't pay council tax.. How about writing off the huge gas guzzling none essential car the mayor has for a start. We are all urged to tighten our belts why not lead by example? No wonder this country is in the state its in. Bunch of crooks how much of this money have they pocketed?
12 million isnt excessive if you say it quick enough. Must be nice to write off significant amounts of money just like that. Bet they wouldn't write off the amount if I didn't pay council tax.. How about writing off the huge gas guzzling none essential car the mayor has for a start. We are all urged to tighten our belts why not lead by example? No wonder this country is in the state its in. Bunch of crooks how much of this money have they pocketed? Lord Parkstone
  • Score: 3

1:55pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Phixer says...

Lord Parkstone wrote:
12 million isnt excessive if you say it quick enough.
Must be nice to write off significant amounts of money just like that. Bet they wouldn't write off the amount if I didn't pay council tax.. How about writing off the huge gas guzzling none essential car the mayor has for a start. We are all urged to tighten our belts why not lead by example? No wonder this country is in the state its in. Bunch of crooks how much of this money have they pocketed?
Assuming the Echo report is true and accurate, can I suggest that you actually read it before making exagerated comments? The write off is nowhere near the 12 million you quote.
[quote][p][bold]Lord Parkstone[/bold] wrote: 12 million isnt excessive if you say it quick enough. Must be nice to write off significant amounts of money just like that. Bet they wouldn't write off the amount if I didn't pay council tax.. How about writing off the huge gas guzzling none essential car the mayor has for a start. We are all urged to tighten our belts why not lead by example? No wonder this country is in the state its in. Bunch of crooks how much of this money have they pocketed?[/p][/quote]Assuming the Echo report is true and accurate, can I suggest that you actually read it before making exagerated comments? The write off is nowhere near the 12 million you quote. Phixer
  • Score: 1

4:28pm Fri 25 Jul 14

burgerboy says...

Mr Kent, £12million may not be an excessive amount to be written off when you are on the type of salary your on, but it happens to be an awful lot to the man in the street.
Your attitude is very high handed and it stinks.
In any other walk of life if a company lost anywhere close that type of money for failing to do their job properly i am sure heads would be rolling,but not local government..........
Mr Kent, £12million may not be an excessive amount to be written off when you are on the type of salary your on, but it happens to be an awful lot to the man in the street. Your attitude is very high handed and it stinks. In any other walk of life if a company lost anywhere close that type of money for failing to do their job properly i am sure heads would be rolling,but not local government.......... burgerboy
  • Score: 5

4:32pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Lord Parkstone says...

Phixer? Maybe I misread the headline? Or are we to assume you are in fact a member of the squandering council? After all You are quite quick to brush such figures aside and seem quite happy the council have. Maybe you are in fact finance chief Paul Kent? Your pious and pompous enough to be.
Phixer? Maybe I misread the headline? Or are we to assume you are in fact a member of the squandering council? After all You are quite quick to brush such figures aside and seem quite happy the council have. Maybe you are in fact finance chief Paul Kent? Your pious and pompous enough to be. Lord Parkstone
  • Score: 4

6:52pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Kieran S says...

Im sure £700,000+ expenses isnt normal for a council of Bournemouths size.
Im sure £700,000+ expenses isnt normal for a council of Bournemouths size. Kieran S
  • Score: 6

12:34am Sat 26 Jul 14

HRH of Boscombe says...

Kieran S wrote:
Im sure £700,000+ expenses isnt normal for a council of Bournemouths size.
There's another £3million in sandbags near the pier.
.
I'm surprised that it's not a bigger deficit with this dodgy council
[quote][p][bold]Kieran S[/bold] wrote: Im sure £700,000+ expenses isnt normal for a council of Bournemouths size.[/p][/quote]There's another £3million in sandbags near the pier. . I'm surprised that it's not a bigger deficit with this dodgy council HRH of Boscombe
  • Score: -4

8:34am Sat 26 Jul 14

Ophilum says...

Have they managed to get the 24 million back from the Iceland bank they invested some of our money in, all quiet on that front no dought.
Have they managed to get the 24 million back from the Iceland bank they invested some of our money in, all quiet on that front no dought. Ophilum
  • Score: -1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree