Select Committee on Public Accounts Sixty-Eighth Report


EXPLANATORY NOTES

Payment rate. The primary indicator is the amount paid into court as a percentage of new amounts owed (payment rate). A consistently high payment rate is desirable. The payment rate is calculated as the money collected during the year, divided by the penalties imposed during the year net of penalties transferred to or from other magistrates' courts committees. N.B: As money collected can relate to penalties imposed many years previously, sometimes sizeable penalties, the rate will not reflect performance in collecting penalties within a given timescale. The sum total of the payment, cancellation and write-off rates will not therefore be 100%.

Write-off rate. A continuously high write-off rate might indicate poor enforcement. Conversely, very low write-off rates might mask administrative inefficiency in reviewing outstanding cases. The write-off rate is calculated as the value of penalties written off as unenforceable, less any written back, divided by the penalties imposed during the year net of penalties transferred to or from other magistrates' courts committees.

Cancellation rate. A continuously high cancellation rate may mean that the courts' initial intentions are not being implemented. The cancellation rate is calculated as the value of penalties cancelled during the year, divided by the penalties imposed during the year net of penalties transferred to or from other magistrates' courts.

Arrears rate. The arrears rate - the percentage of the closing arrears over closing balances - gives an indication of the amount of money that was paid on time. A lower percentage arrears means that a greater proportion of money owed to the court is paid on time. A payment is deemed by the courts to be in arrears when it fails to be paid by the date specified by the courts. Some payments may be due in full within a specified period from the date of sentence (usually 14 to 28 days). In other cases payments may, with the agreement of the courts, be due in instalments.

All these figures include some non-criminal debt owed to magistrates' courts, for example, maintenance payments, because many courts' systems cannot break down the debt owed into criminal and civil.


 
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