Water Charges - Communications Reviewed

During the course of the research into Water Charges over the last few years, some key people have been identified, and it has proved possible to get them to communicate. Some of these communications might be described as endless and without fruition, but others appear to have led to some surprising changes of mind - or possibly changes in interpretation of the law.

Also indentified were some misleading statements made by SWBS as part of their instructions to Debt Collectors.

The following is a record of of an ongoing email exchange between the following parties:

  • The occupier of a premises without either a Water or a Sewerage Connection running a small business.
  • The Constituency Assistant to the MSP for the area, Nicola Surgeon.
  • Scottish Water Business Stream

Comments are in red. Emails are in REVERSE date order, i.e. the newest are first.

Noted that responses just seem to stop when Scottish Water Business Stream do not gain acceptance of their [erroneous] point of view.

This is just for the record.

It demonstrates that Scottish Water Business Stream appear to leave their debt collectors in ignorance of the facts. It further demonstrates that certain [in fact most] debt collectors do NOT validate that a debt is due before wasting their time, that of the person or organisation being pursued, and finally of the courts.

Reference should be made to the Sheriff Principal Mhairi M Stephen QC's Note No 9 in the Chataroo case which reads "As a preface to his submissions the Dean of Faculty pointed out that this was but one of a not insignificant number of debt recovery cases raised by the pursuers in this court."

Scottish Water Business Steam LOST.

This article relates to the unreasonable behaviour of Scottish Water [SW], its subsidiary Scottish Water Business Stream [SWBS], and debt collection agencies and the like appointed by SWBS.

Whether the charges raised are actually raised in accordance with the provisions of the Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 is covered in the article "Water Charges - The Law Explained" is immaterial - in the case of charges for properties which are NOT eligible properties in terms iof Section 27, there are a number of points to be made - especially when Scotland is in recession or hovering on the brink of it - and these include:

This is simply a list of people from one of the following:

  • Scottish State Companies:
    • Scottish Water, and
    • Scottish Water Business Stream, and 
      • Subcontractors such as Debt Collectors et al.
      • Other Revenue Collectors,
  • The Scottish Government [Administration],
  • The Scottish Parliament [MSP's],
  • Water Industry Commission for Scotland

some of whom have been asked the following simple question, and have failed to give a simple straight forward and honest reply.

This is just for the record.

It demonstrates the problem of getting a simple answer to a simple question. It is what most Whistleblowers complain of - that their complaint, or whatever, is not treated with the respect with which it is raised, and "evasion" appears to be the game which is played by the civil [is that currently the right word] servant when dealing with the general public.

These emails date back a while. They illustrate the fact that Scottish Water want to be seen to be listening, but in fact this just a "PR" extercise, and in real life they could not care a damn about the laws of Scotland, and will proceed with the consent and or assistance of the Water Commissioner for Scotland, the Scottish Administration, and indeed the responsible Minister.

Overview

During the research which included communicating with the Scottish Government Water Industry Team, we received two letters:

  • One from Jon Rathjen, Team Leader Water Industry Team, Ref: 2016/0023048, Dated: 21 July 2016
  • The other from Bob Irvine, Deputy Director Water Industry Division, Ref: 2016/0028722, Dated: 29 September 2016

Both are reviewed below, and not only conflict with each other, but also with the remits of the SPSO and the Water Industry Commission for Scotland.

Introduction

The Information Commissioner's document Decision014-2017 which is published at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/ApplicationsandDecisions/Decisions/2017/201601954.aspx, and has been copied, Inserted comments are shown in red. The actual HTML code was copied on 8th February 2017.

Our conclusion is simple. The Commissioner relied upon The Ministers' assertion that the information requested was publicly available when in fact it was NOT.

Introduction

The SPSO has made at least one decision in favour of the Water Industry demonstrating a lack of knowledge of the Law. It is Case: 201300100, Business Stream which is published at: http://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files/decision_summaries/201300100.pdf and has been copied. Inserted comments are shown in red. The actual HTML code was copied on 24th February 2017.

In our view: firstly the decision is wrong because it fails to adhere to the law, namely Section 27 of the 2005 Water Act, and secondly, the SPSO erred in making a decision which required interpretation of the Law which is beyond his remit.