Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Council tax email

I got an email from Sheffield Council Tax Team today (see below). I'm not massively happy...
  • I wasn't aware my email address was being collected for this purpose (see green highlighted paragraph)
  • They recorded this information about me some time ago so it may no longer be accurate
  • This is not an appropriate email account to use for billing
  • If this had gone to an unmonitored account, I wouldn't be aware and would not get a bill
  • I've never expressed any interest in ebilling - why would they automatically opt me in rather than email me inviting me to sign up?
  • There is one week's notice so anyone on holiday cannot opt out of this
  • The email looks unprofessional and like spam so there is a risk that people will disregard it and delete it.

Whilst I am a fan of ebilling and get most of my other bills via email, I'm not confident that - following this email - I can trust these people to handle my personal details properly.

Another thing that irritates me are the noble selfless reasons they are offering me this service, rather than admitting that the main reason is saving money. Which is fine. It's a good reason. Just stop pretending that you're doing this because you care about me or the environment!

For more information about Data Protection law around collecting and using your personal information, please see the Information Commissioner's Office website.

If you've had this email and want to complain to Sheffield City Council, you can do on the website or email complaint@sheffield.gov.uk.

From: CouncilTax.Sheffield@capita.co.uk [mailto:CouncilTax.Sheffield@capita.co.uk]
Sent: 21 February 2012 09:37
To: Victoria
Subject: Introducing Sheffield City Council’s e-billing service
Dear Sir/Madam
COUNCIL TAX 2012/13 

As part of Sheffield City Council’s aim to reduce its carbon footprint and to provide you with efficient access to council services we are pleased to introduce an e-billing service which is available to all council tax customers who make payments by Direct Debit.

The new e-billing facility will enable customers with an email address to receive their council tax bills, securely via email instead of the bills being posted to your registered address.

E-billing provides significant benefits to you, including:

  • Improved security of information – all of the e-bills are sent using 128-bit encryption a secure method that meets government requirements 
  • Your bills are always received on time as they are less likely to get lost in the post or misplaced 
  • You can save copies of your e-bill on your computer
Introducing e-billing reduces the amount of paper bills that are sent, supporting the Council’s ambition of reducing its carbon footprint.

Our records show that you have previously contacted us by email, therefore we would like to use this email address as the preferred method of communication with you, for example to receive your council tax e-bills and notifications from the council tax service.

If you are happy to be contacted by email as part of the new e-billing service then you do not need to do anything and you will receive your council tax bill electronically in March 2012.

However if you would prefer not to receive your 2012/13 bill via e-billing then please email: counciltax.liability@sheffield.gov.uk by Tuesday 28th February 2012 and we will send you a paper bill.

In order to view and print your e-bill, you will require Adobe Reader version 5 or higher.

Click www.get.adobe.com/uk/reader to download the latest version of Adobe Reader.

For more information on e-billing please visit the Sheffield City Council’s website at

Thank you for your assistance.

Yours faithfully,

Sheffield Council Tax Team
Sent by Capita on behalf of Sheffield City Council provider of Council Tax services.


  1. Capita are doing something similar in Tamworth, apparently. Except that in Tamworth it's opt in, and you might win a telly.


    We should demand a telly each.

    1. And that's how it SHOULD be done! Well done Tamworth :)