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Bailiff companies sign up to new standards

In a major reform to civil enforcement, an independently-monitored code of practice that sets a new standard for bailiffs has been announced in London today.

All members of the Civil Enforcement Association, representing over 90% of firms employing enforcement agents (bailiffs) have signed up to the code, which involves a detailed compliance audit and review by a newly-formed independent panel, the Compliance, Adjudication and Review of Enforcement (CARE) Panel.

The code builds on the existing industry code and is a response to calls for better supervision of enforcement agents after an inquiry by MPs. CIVEA, the Civil Enforcement Association that represents firms employing more than 2,000 active agents, says it has taken steps in line with the Justice Select Committee recommendations, including:

  1. Adoption of revised Code of Practice

  2. Establishment of independent Compliance, Adjudication and Review Panel

  3. Appointment of independent Code auditor

  4. Mandatory use of body-worn video technology

  5. Referral of eligible complaints to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, from 1 June

Russell Hamblin-Boone, CEO of CIVEA, announced the reform at the association’s conference: “Local authorities and the public expect us to collect unpaid public debt efficiently from those who won’t pay while supporting sensitively those who can’t pay. The code sets standards that exceed the statutory regulations and involves scrutiny by compliance advisors who will report to an independent panel of experts. The code is a commitment by the enforcement industry to continue driving up standards and setting a high bar for anyone who wants to join our profession.”

The members of the Compliance, Adjudication and Review of Enforcement Panel are:

Dr Wendy Kennett, Lecturer at Law School, Cardiff University

David Pickering, former CEO of Lending Standards Board and compliance specialist

Caroline Wells, vulnerable consumer and complaints expert

Sheila Harding, industry expert and founder of Bailiff Advice Online

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