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A friend just called to tell me she paid a Bailiff some £200 some weeks ago to prevent goods being removed,and made some arrangement to pay weekly. She has just had a card through her door informing her that he will be returning tomorrow before noon with a locksmith. From what I can glean from her she has missed the last two weekly payments.

What advice if any can I pass on to her at this stage? She is quite distressed at the moment and being 7 months pregnant is not good. I believe its for council tax and she has asked them to take the debt back but they will not.

thanks for any advice.

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The bailiff should at all times use his professional judgement to refer back to the Council if he considers that, due to the personal circumstances of the debtor, it would be inappropriate to proceed to levy distress. In particular, cases such as:

  1. appears to be over 70 years of age and it appears may be easily confused
  2. appears to be severely physically or mentally ill, severely disabled or suffering mental confusion
  3. has young children and severe social deprivation is evident
  4. is disputing liability or claims to have paid, applied for rebate, discount or any other relief not yet granted, recommend, levy distress and then report to the Council
  5. is heavily pregnant
  6. is in mourning due to recent bereavement (within three months)
  7. is having difficulty communicating due to profound deafness, blindness or language difficulties
  8. is unemployed and provides proof that they are in receipt of Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based), payments from the Department of Works and Pension (DWP) and details are obtained of the debtors National Insurance number
  9. is consulting his or her local councillor or Member of Parliament
  10. long term sickness or serious illness including the terminally ill

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Thanks for the advice, she has been in touch with the revenues dept and made it very clear that she is a vulnerable case. Apart from being very pregnant she has a Social worker from the mental health team. The council seem very hard not to take this case back.

I don't know how much is owing and as she was really distressed/hysterical even,I didn't want to ask.

I have printed off the info you posted and will get it to her Social worker tomorrow and hopefully she/he can help further.

many thanks

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This local authority are actually disgracefully.


I would suggested writing to the Head of Revenues AND the Chief Executive to complain that a case such as this SHOULD NOT be assigned to the bailiffs. They need to refer to the National Standards for Enforcement Agents concerning "vulnerable" groups AND the the IRRV's own Code of Practice for the Management of Bailiffs employed by Local Authorities.


I would also suggest that the letter should say that this case should be returned back to the council immediately failig which you will be considering a formal complaint about the council to the LGO (Local Governement Ombudsman).

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Hi Bats

I will be at my friends house when her Social Worker comes tomorrow. I should have a few more details about the situation. As you say, the bailiffs ought to now back off. They must have seen her condition for themselves,not too sure she told them she suffers with depression though.


Thank you for your input.

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Hi tomtubby

I totally agree and hopefully will be able to find out a little more tomorrow. I didn't even know she had these bailiff problems till today. Not sure how much is owing and from when/where.

I do know that she spoke to revenues today giving her situation and was told they wouldn't take the debt back and she must deal with Bearstow and Suiter? direct.

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