CIVEA response to File on 4 (Bailiffs behaving badly, Radio 4, 23 January 2024).
Russell Hamblin-Boone, chief executive of the Civil Enforcement Association, responded to the BBC radio programme:
“We are aware anecdotally that there could be a minority of enforcement agents whose actions are bringing our profession into disrepute. As acknowledged by the chair of the Enforcement Conduct Board, enforcement agents play an important role in collecting public money that goes towards delivering the crucial public services that we all rely on, and as StepChange said most try to do the right thing.
Civil enforcement is a highly sensitive and challenging job carried out by most agents with professionalism and to high standards. The cases highlighted in the programme are mostly historic going back 30 years. The complaints highlighted were investigated and disciplinary action taken at the time. We have taken the unprecedented step of establishing an independent body and invited it to supervise our activities to ensure that high standards are maintained and further reforms can be introduced quickly, such as a better complaints process.
We encourage any enforcement agents that have a grievance or concern about what they are required to do on behalf of local authorities to report to CIVEA or the Enforcement Conduct Board, so that we can conduct a investigation of the evidence. We remind all our agents that they have a duty to maintain the integrity of the enforcement agent certificate awarded by a judge.
The substantive story from the programme is the rise in council tax debt, which is the result of the backlog created by the suspension of collection activity during the pandemic. There is over £5 billion of uncollected council tax debt and enforcement agents have a critical role in recovering funds for local services and to support the most vulnerable in society.”
Who is CIVEA?
CIVEA represents approximately 40 companies that make up more than 95% of the entire enforcement industry. We are not debt collectors and only undertake visits to premises after a local authority or public body has failed to recover funds and takes an individual to court under the Taking Control of Goods regulations 2013.
Press Contact for CIVEA:
Joe Cuffaro, WSA Communications Email: email@example.com
Telephone: 01908 371177
PO Box 745
For general enquiries only, you can contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), letter or telephone.
If you have a complaint or concern about one of our members, please go to our complaints page for advice
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.