How does CIVEA handle complaints?
Welcome to our blog series, exploring the key topics being discussed in the enforcement industry. In Part 7, we explain how CIVEA supports and handles complaints relating to enforcement.
CIVEA members employ Certified Enforcement Agents that follow a Code of practice which promotes responsible and fair engagement with members of the public. The Code complements and strengthens the Taking Control of Goods National Standards. However, there are times when you may feel these standards are not met. We have a robust process in place to help you seek redress.
If you wish to complain about an enforcement agent or enforcement company, you must first raise your complaint directly with that company. Each CIVEA member has its own internal complaints procedure and you will need to complete this process before we can review the final decision. The enforcement company should be allowed sufficient time to investigate the complaint thoroughly, which may include obtaining and reviewing video evidence or taking statements from enforcement agents. Companies should respond in full within 10 working days.
If speaking to the company does not result in a satisfactory conclusion, CIVEA may be able to consider your complaint. We only deal with complaints which relate to CIVEA members and certain types of debt, such as cases of non-payment of Council Tax, non-Payment of Non-Domestic Rates or unpaid Penalty Charge Notices (PCN).
When no resolution can be found directly with the company, we will ask you to send us a brief outline of your situation along with any copies of evidence you may have to support your complaint. We advise that complaints should be made within 6 months of an incident occurring. We will ask you to complete and sign a complaints procedure leaflet as this provides CIVEA with the authority to access your records held with the enforcement company. If you are a third-party, we will need written authorisation to proceed from the person subject to the complaint. CIVEA is unable to discuss complaint matters over the telephone and complaints should always be sent by email or in writing. We will make reasonable adjustments for anyone who needs support in communicating with us.
Once we are satisfied that all the information we require has been received, the complaint will be considered by members of the Compliance, Adjudication and Review of Enforcement (CARE) Panel. They will write and let you know if your complaint is upheld. If the complaint is not upheld, you can appeal the decision in writing.
CIVEA cannot provide support if a debt originates from a third-party, local authority or Transport for London. In such cases, your complaint must be escalated to whoever instructed the enforcement company to act. You can then ask for your case to be referred to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) if necessary. CIVEA is also unable to consider complaints about the enforcement of a High Court Writ, or the actions of a High Court enforcement agent, county court bailiff or debt collector. These cases are handled by the High Court Enforcement Officers Association. If your complaint alleges that an enforcement agent has committed a criminal act, these are matters which can only be investigated by the Police. Court proceedings, and decisions made by the court, take precedence over our own complaints procedure. Breaches of data protection should be referred directly to the Information Commissioner.
It is important to note that raising a complaint will not put a hold on further enforcement action. Nor does CIVEA have the authority to intervene in the enforcement of a warrant, prevent the visit of an enforcement agent or prevent the seizure of goods. Compensation claims is not something CIVEA can consider and such matters should be referred to the County Court.
For more information, tips on how to make a complaint directly and useful links to free advice, please visit our dedicated complaints page here.
PO Box 745
If you wish to make a complaint against a member of CIVEA, please go to our complaints page and follow the procedure detailed there. Your email will be acknowledged within 5 working days.
CIVEA is unable to discuss complaint matters over the telephone and complaints should be sent in writing. This is to ensure that the details of your complaint are accurately recorded and understood which makes it easier in addressing your complaint thoroughly. Please advise if you have a disability, so that we can make reasonable adjustments.
You can contact us by email, letter or telephone.