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  1. Published on: 25/11/2018 10:49 AMReported by: roving-eye
    Sweeping Government reforms in 2014 significantly curtailed bailiffs’ powers, as well as improving transparency and ensuring those with outstanding debts knew their rights.

    Having listened to concerns from charities, debt advice organisations and others, the Government has today launched a Call for Evidence to seek views on what more should be done to protect the public.

    Justice Minister Lucy Frazer said:

    The majority of bailiffs work within the law, but it is clear some are making lives a misery and ruining the industry’s reputation.

    My message to those individuals is clear - there is absolutely no excuse for aggressive tactics and such behaviour will not be tolerated.

    We will not hesitate to take action, so we’re asking the public to share their experiences to help rid our society of rogue bailiffs for good.

    Vulnerable individuals, families, and other victims of unacceptable bailiff behaviour will be asked about tougher protections, including the option of an independent regulator.

    The Call for Evidence will allow all those with an interest - including charities and other stakeholders - to speak out on the impact of earlier reforms and on how best to end underhand tactics.

    In detail, the Government is seeking views on:

    Ensuring compliance with earlier curbs on bailiff powers;
    The recognition and treatment of vulnerable people when collecting debt;
    The complaints process;
    The current fee structure and how this is working to incentivise early payments; and
    Suitability of current bailiff regulation and the possibility of an independent regulator.
    The collection of debt is necessary for both the economy and the justice system, and bailiffs must be able to carry out their job safely and effectively. But Ministers are clear they must act professionally and with respect. Where poor behaviour takes place, the Government will not hesitate to take action.

    The Call for Evidence sits alongside wider government initiatives to support vulnerable debtors, for example the ‘Breathing Space’ scheme. It will run for 12 weeks, and responses will be analysed to inform next steps.


    Debts which enforcement agents (formerly known as bailiffs) enforce include council tax arrears and unpaid debts owed to individuals and businesses.

    In 2014 the government introduced reforms to strengthen protection from rogue enforcement agents, while at the same time making sure that debts could still be collected fairly.

    The reforms centred on the implementation of Part 3 and Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. The reforms provided legal protection by introducing a comprehensive code governing, amongst other things:

    when and how enforcement agents can enter somebody’s premises;
    the safeguards to prevent the use of force against debtors;
    what goods they can and cannot seize and, if necessary, sell; and
    what fees they can charge.
    The reforms also stopped enforcement agents entering homes when only children are present, and introduced mandatory training and a new certification process for enforcement agents.

    Ministers pledged to review the impact of the reforms after one, three and if necessary five years. The Ministry of Justice conducted the first review in 2015, which it published in 2018, after extensive gathering of views from key stakeholders including creditors, the advice sector, other government agencies and enforcement agents.

    The review found that, at the one-year point in 2015, the reforms were having many positive benefits. This included better awareness around debtor rights and how to complain, more clarity for debtors about the fees that can be charged, the processes that should be followed, and where to go for advice. It was also reported, however, that debt advisors and debtors still perceived some enforcement agents to be acting aggressively and in some cases not acting within the regulations.
     

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  2. Local news where you can have your say! News is also fed here from other media via RSS feeds. Please also send in your news, email press@qnews.co.uk.




    Your Comments:


  3. ausard2 says:25/11/2018 12:38 PM
    There are rogue bailiffs out there.
    Please remember that the people owing
    in many cases have just thrown the
    letters aside in the belief it will go
    away. It won't , I've been there .
    Go talk to someone , help is plentiful
    if you're wanting it.
    It's not easy but just go talk, costs
    nothing.

  4. said says:25/11/2018 01:18 PM
    My only involvement with bailiffs was when they called to my house and broke the door down to gain entry. I returned home to find it in a right mess. Still - I got a brand new door out of them - they had the wrong address.

  5. steve says:25/11/2018 05:44 PM
    Rogue bailiffs sounds a nightmare. Had bailiffs at our house as previous owner was a naughty man and loads of debts still reg to this address

  6. silver fox says:25/11/2018 11:11 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by steve View Post
    Rogue bailiffs sounds a nightmare. Had bailiffs at our house as previous owner was a naughty man and loads of debts still reg to this address

    Had similar experience previous house to our present home, to be fair only came once and reported the house had new owners with no connection to debtor, no further troubles.


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