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Council Tax Advisors CIC, the free debt advice specialist for people facing council tax arrears and enforcement action, is now a proud affiliate of Helplines Partnership, the membership body for organisations providing helpline services in the UK and internationally.

Helplines Partnership helps members provide the best quality services. It provides training, contact solutions, a Helplines Quality Standard, tailored support and information resources. It raises the profile of the helpline sector by representing members’ interests and influencing social policy.

Council Tax Advisors CIC’s application for membership of Helplines Partnership was approved in October 2015.

The announcement comes as urgent debt continues to soar across the UK. Council Tax Advisors CIC says that on average its clients owe just over £820 in council tax arrears and the most cases have come from Birmingham City Council, Bristol City Council and Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council. This year alone, Council Tax Advisors CIC has over 35,000 people struggling with their council tax.

East Staffordshire Borough Council, meanwhile, recently reported a shortfall of almost £1 million in unpaid council tax.

To combat these figures – and many others like them – the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has launched a consultation. It is asking local authorities, relevant government departments, businesses and other interested parties for their ideas to improve efficiency in council tax collection.

Chris Richards, founder and managing director of Council Tax Advisors CIC, said: “Stories about council tax arrears and related debt are never far from the news. It’s a genuine and distressing problem for people struggling to cope. As members of Helplines Partnership, we can now give our callers extra assurance that they’ll receive the highest levels of attention and professionalism when they contact Council Tax Advisors CIC.”

Council Tax Advisors CIC gives every client dedicated support. This includes a free consultation, ongoing advice and liaison with local authorities to find solutions agreeable to all parties. The company offers a comprehensive mediation service for all situations, no matter the complexity. Council Tax Advisors CIC works quickly and seeks to suspend any enforcement action pending resolution.

Council Tax Advisors CIC also supports clients contemplating IVAs (individual voluntary agreements), DROs (debt relief orders) and bankruptcy. Its services are free of charge to the client.

As a community interest company (CIC), Council Tax Advisors CIC believes no individual should face financial difficulty alone.

Community interest companies are recognised by the government under the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004. They use their profits and assets for the public good and are regulated by the Office of the Regulator of CICs and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.