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Unpaid school lunches resulting in over £40,000 owed to local councils is indicating very tight family budgets according to one study. While schools wouldn't withhold lunches for students, it does pose the question of how exactly to recover the unpaid money.
 

A staple of school life, lunchtime. A chance to recharge and get ready for the afternoon’s lessons. Some schools however are seeing serious shortfalls when it comes to parents paying. A study across various areas of Scotland show schools short by tens of thousands due to parents failing to pay for school dinners.

school meal on tray

Local authorities, tied hands

The report published by local Dundee press does show children aren’t being denied lunches despite the shortfalls. It does however indicate a problem with family purse strings. The report suggests over 1,700 families owed over £40,000 to local councils.

The problem is not isolated in Scotland either. Other reports indicate schools across the country have to stomach the losses to ensure children are fed. It leaves schools in a moral dilemma regarding chasing the unpaid money. Some have gone as far as to seek legal help and debt collection.

While not an easy step, schools do require seeking the money. It is no secret education budgets are tight. Collecting money from parents already struggling however may need a particular tactic. We wrote a few days back about mental health and debt collection. Dealing with consumer debt requires a certain mindset and professionalism. It requires experience with mediation and a cool head. Aggressive tactics will not suffice.

Should schools write off the debt?

We wouldn’t suggest schools writing these debts off. They are a difficult recovery but, with the right techniques, could be collectable. Many factors affect why parents won’t or can’t pay. It is the job of a collector to find out why and create a plan of action. We specialise in finding suitable outcomes; both sides resolving amicably.

Schools, nurseries, colleges and day care centres commonly encounter this type of debt. Usually fairly low amounts and a type of debt which is awkward to talk about. In this sense, debt collectors can remove any tension. We aim to talk about the debt in a professional manner. We discuss details and simply attempt to seek payment or payment plans that work. Doing so provides a chance at recovery and takes away tension between both parties.

Professional service debts

Many debts can be seen as “awkward” to collect based on circumstances. Many professional services like a school face debt collection problems. Dentists, vets, funeral directors and others commonly face non payment. Many also feel the matter difficult to approach. For any company with these types of debts, we highly recommend seeking a collector. Collectors are not there to strong arm debtors but to find a professional resolution. Nobody or business should accept non payment; if the matter is difficult to discuss, collectors are trained to deal with sensitive debts.

For more information on debt collection including for sensitive debts, check www.areyouowedmoney.co.uk. You can also call 0800 130 3357 or email enquiries@ayom.co.uk for details. Find the experts and together, find a solution.