Debt recovery is tightly regulated

CIVEA responds to Citizens Advice views on civil enforcement

Russell Hamblin-Boone
14 April 2023
Russell Hamblin-Boone
Russell Hamblin-Boone


Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA), the debt recovery sector’s representative body, has asked to see the data on which Citizens Advice has based its recent criticisms of the behaviour of bailiffs.

CIVEA is disappointed to read the statement from Citizens Advice and will be interested to understand how this data was gathered and interpreted. We will study the evidence and would expect that this will also be shared with the Enforcement Conduct Board.

Enforcement agents are closely monitored and use body-worn video cameras, so we can respond to all complaints when they are identified. Taking the facts alone there is no evidence from the case provided that the enforcement action was not conducted according to The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013.

Anyone who does not pay their Council Tax and does not respond to numerous letters, calls and texts from the council and enforcement firm, should expect an enforcement visit to their home.

We will review the video evidence to ensure that the agent’s attitude was appropriate and that the member of the public was given all the information required to pay their debt.

Given that the case study inaccurately states that an enforcement action is confirmed to have broken Ministry of Justice rules, we would need to review all the evidence to ensure that Citizens Advice has correctly interpreted its anecdotal surveys. We appreciate that enforcement action can be distressing, but it is the ultimate sanction available to councils to recover £5bn in unpaid debt that funds essential services, such as adult care, fire and police services and even pothole repairs and street lighting.

CIVEA has worked closely to establish independent oversight of our industry and is pleased to see that a business plan for the Enforcement Conduct Board has been published.

Russell Hamblin-Boone is chief executive of CIVEA

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