Why Code of Practice audits remain integral to CIVEA success

Why Code of Practice audits remain integral to CIVEA success.

The CIVEA Code of Practice. exceeds the statutory requirements and the National Standards to ensure individuals and firms undertake civil enforcement to the highest standards, whilst maintaining the integrity of the social justice system. All CIVEA members are required to comply with the standards set out comprehensively in the code, in the same way that they acted collectively to adhere to our post-lockdown support plan. With restrictions on access to offices being lifted, we have been able to reinstate the programme of code audit visits.

CIVEA has strictly enforced these standards through its independent panel, but over the past year this has been even more important as our methods have been adapted to adhere to public health advice. It has been especially important recently, that we did not become complacent in monitoring or utilising this code.

We have been very successful in ensuring the safety of enforcement agents (EAs) and the public. The national recovery effort continues, with the prospect of normality resuming soon, and EAs will apply the same high standards of protection. CIVEA recognises the value of independent scrutiny and validation, which remains essential to the success of any code or unified approach in any industry.

That is why, despite some remaining restrictions, we have maintained our commitment to a thorough auditing process that sees our members assessed for their understanding and implementation of our code. Independent assessors are tasked by CIVEA to attend offices, listen to phone conversations, review body-worn video, as well as checking internal company policies. The auditor assesses each firms’ operations against the code. The entire process is overseen by our independent panel of experts, the Compliance, Adjudication and Review of Enforcement Panel (CARE).

The code of practice states that members must ensure all staff can identify and provide appropriate support to vulnerable people. This especially significant since the pandemic has increased the number of vulnerable people and the Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space), came into effect earlier this year. CIVEA members already have robust welfare support plans in place and all members are instructed to signpost debtors to third party debt advice sector throughout the entire collection lifecycle.

The economic impact of the coronavirus has created huge shortfalls in local government budgets and at the same time, exacerbated the financial vulnerability of some people. By reinstating our code of conduct audits at the earliest opportunity we have ensured high standards and that CIVEA members recover debt on behalf of local authorities efficiently, effectively and safely.

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