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New Bailiff regulations. CIVEA are not happy. A warning to councils and BAILIFF companies !!!


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What an interesting few days !!!

 

As somebody said to me yesterday local authorities have a great deal in common with hibernating animals in that they become inactive or go into a deep sleep until the spring when their brain cells start working again.

 

This is very well demonstrated by a letter that Paul Caddy; President of CIVEA sent to all bailiff companies on Friday and published on their website last night (see link below).

 

CIVEA; are the governing body for the vast majority of bailiff companies and as can be seen from this news article all is not well with their local authority clients. I am also hearing that CIVEA are unhappy with some bailiff companies.

 

 

http://www.civea.co.uk/news.htm

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I have received so many questions since posting the CIVEA letter. I will try to outline what is happening.

 

In a 'nutshell' what is happening is that despite the Consultation on Bailiff Reform ending two years ago (March 2012) it would seem that many local authorities are finally waking up to the realisation that the new fees scale could cause dreadful problems and increase the debt to the debtor to such an extent that vulnerable debtors (subject to a personal visit) could find themselves without any money for food, electricity etc. Complaints will NOT be made to bailiffs and instead, the level of complaints to the councils is likely to increase significantly.

 

Crucially, at the Consultation stage, nobody had a clue that in 2013 the government would make so many changes to the benefits system and introduce the 'bedroom tax'. Since the changes were imposed, it is now clear that the impact (of the benefit changes) has led to an unprecedented level of arrears of rent and council tax and consequently, Liability Orders are being issued at a rate never seen before.

 

The local authorities (many of whom have ignored the Guidance from DCLG and have INCREASED council tax) and quickly waking up to the realisation that if a debtor has arrears of council tax of £100 and this goes to a Liability Order the debtor will be liable to pay £505 if a bailiff makes a personal visit.

 

The sum of £505 is calculated as follows:

 

Debt to the council: £100

 

'Summons cost' (approx) £100

 

Initial correspondence/admin fee: £75

 

Enforcement visit: £230

 

Total: £505.

 

If the position can be any worse; there is also the increased likelihood that under the new regs, bailiffs will be more inclined to REMOVE the debtors goods (car) at the enforcement stage.

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As outlined above, a £100 debt to the council will quickly turn to £505 if a visit is made.

 

All local authorities are under a legal obligation to ensure that they have Contracts in place and what is apparently now happening is that quite a few LA's are in discussions with their bailiff companies for new contracts and they are seeking to impose CONDITIONS in those contracts.

 

For example, we are hearing that a lot of local authorities are unhappy at the level of fees charged by their bailiffs and are seeking agreements for 'kick backs'. In other words, the council will PROFIT from instructing bailiffs!!! CIVEA are urging bailiff companies to REFUSE to agree such contracts and that instead all bailiff companies should have a 'level playing field'.

 

Also, some local authorities are seeking conditions that their bailiff providers should DISCOUNT the fees charged to debtors (in order to make the fees more affordable).

 

A common complaint is that the local authorities are seeking to make the bailiff company work hard for their fees. One example is where a few local authorities are insisting that their bailiff provider should send 3 letters to the debtor before making an 'enforcement visit' and that the 3rd letter must be 'hand delivered' !!!

 

Lastly, there are also some bailiff companies eager for new contracts who are willing to enforce a Liability Order for a greatly discounted rate.

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I wholeheartedly agree with the CIVEA update.

 

The regulations were set to allow a sustainable enforcement system without the need for the controversial application of 'van fees' that has gone on for years in CT work.

 

If some of the bigger players and/or councils want to circumvent the regulations then it makes a mockery of the whole process.

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And just to reiterate that the Notice of Enforcement does state that it "must be sent by the Enforcement Agent or the Enforcement Agents office".

 

I do not see how this can be misunderstood or circumvented.

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As outlined above, a £100 debt to the council will quickly turn to £505 if a visit is made.

 

All local authorities are under a legal obligation to ensure that they have Contracts in place and what is apparently now happening is that quite a few LA's are in discussions with their bailiff companies for new contracts and they are seeking to impose CONDITIONS in those contracts.

 

For example, we are hearing that a lot of local authorities are unhappy at the level of fees charged by their bailiffs and are seeking agreements for 'kick backs'. In other words, the council will PROFIT from instructing bailiffs!!! CIVEA are urging bailiff companies to REFUSE to agree such contracts and that instead all bailiff companies should have a 'level playing field'.

 

Also, some local authorities are seeking conditions that their bailiff providers should DISCOUNT the fees charged to debtors (in order to make the fees more affordable).

 

A common complaint is that the local authorities are seeking to make the bailiff company work hard for their fees. One example is where a few local authorities are insisting that their bailiff provider should send 3 letters to the debtor before making an 'enforcement visit' and that the 3rd letter must be 'hand delivered' !!!

 

Lastly, there are also some bailiff companies eager for new contracts who are willing to enforce a Liability Order for a greatly discounted rate.

 

Excellent post TT.....it shows what a commitment you have to protecting people from the forthcoming legislation . It is very clear even to a layman, the MoJ were indeed badly advised when this was drawn up, yet nevertheless, they appear to want to rush in where even the devil would fear to tread!!

 

Where would we all be without you ?........I dread to think!!

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Excellent post TT.....it shows what a commitment you have to protecting people from the forthcoming legislation . It is very clear even to a layman, the MoJ were indeed badly advised when this was drawn up, yet nevertheless, they appear to want to rush in where even the devil would fear to tread!!

 

Where would we all be without you ?........I dread to think!!

 

 

I will 2nd this :)

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There will no doubt be complaints made to the LOCAL AUTHORITIES and these will be on the basis that sending a 'nominal debt' (under £100) could be argued as being disproportional.

 

I am sure that either the IRRV or the LGO will be issuing 'Guidance' on this very soon.

 

On point is obvious and this is that if local authorities are to complain (at the level of fees ) then they need to REMEMBER that they have a CHOICE as to whether or not to forward such small accounts to bailiffs.

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Do you think it could be useful to encourage folks to complain about the potential disproportionality of the fees for relatively small debts? I think it's a very useful idea.

 

I would agree with that one Sequenci, especially as some councils will still seek Liability Orders for debts below the threshold, such as Outlawla's pet hate NELC who seem to like to seek them for a single penny or a pound as revealed in FOI.

 

I think in that case where a LO is sought and obtained for a debt of a pound or £25 one could argue the fees are wholly disproportionate, but MOJ would doubtless beg to differ..

 

Excellent work on exposing the ludicrous implications of this travesty of a Bill TT.

We could do with some help from you.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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Small amounts should obviously roll over to the next years CT bill.

No juicy bailiff fees or LO 'costs' that way of course but that can't be the reason it isn't done can it ?

 

They will let these small amounts slip through the net and go for the enforcement as the "Profit" they make on the court fees for obtaining the Liability order on the £1 debt is worth having in their opinion.

We could do with some help from you.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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I should be in a position by the end of the week to update the other thread regarding the new bailiff regulations due to take effect on 6th April. In the meantime since posting a link to the CIVEA letter I have received a lot of enquiries regarding Paul Caddy's following comment:

 

'The enforcement industry broadly welcomes the reforms, although we have concerns regarding certain measures that we believe will have unintended consequences, such as the geographical restriction placed upon enforcement action'

 

At the CIVEA conference 3 weeks ago the Ministry of Justice attended to explain the new regulations. There was a question and answer session and it was during this session that the enforcement industry were to discover that there would be geographical restrictions in the new regs regarding WHERE a debtor can seize goods. It is fair to say that following the Q&A there have been some unhappy enforcement companies !!!

 

Naturally bailiffs may seize goods from the debtors home. However, the most common item that the bailiff prefers to seize is a motor vehicle and under the new regulations it is thought that cars will be taken at a rate never seen before ( debtors need to BEWARE).

 

The 'geographical restriction' will mean that from 6th April bailiffs will continue to be able to seize a motor vehicle from the debtors driveway or garden (despite the nonsense being given out by various internet sites) and they will also be able to remove a vehicle from the public highway. HOWEVER, if on a rare occasion a debtor were to park his car on his neighbour's driveway or garden then the bailiff cannot seize it.

 

The main difference with the 'geographical restriction' (and one that I welcome) is that the dreadful practice of ANPR operators cruising around large supermarket car parks, large shopping outlets (such as "Bluewater" in Kent) and others will be prohibited given that the land that the car is parked on is PRIVATE property.

 

It will also be illegal for bailiffs to seize a car by ANPR from a railway station car park (as the land is owned by the railway company).

 

Seizing cars from large shopping outlets has been a very lucrative business for some bailiff companies that commonly use ANPR. This will cease from 6th April

Edited by Conniff
Correct typo
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I can see why they are unhappy TT, however the dubious practice of police pulling up a car because a bailiffs ANPR makes a sound like a cash register will still be OK then?

We could do with some help from you.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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I imagine the new book that is coming out in support of the new Regulations will have various chapters devoted to circumvent the "geographical restrictions". To this end I have purchased some equipment that may help Bailiffs in their time of need. I will give these away free of charge on a first come first served basis but they will have to pay a small P&P charge - say £25 per item.

 

Incidentally the book is Aesops Revised Guide to Bailiff Regulations published by The Brothers Grimm

and here is a picture of the equipment I will give away images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRvwfQkEN03Zs46ovQo-1mipwwCegAmSs7FYfKQr8YNRb_CE6v2

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[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

 

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I can see why they are unhappy TT, however the dubious practice of police pulling up a car because a bailiffs ANPR makes a sound like a cash register will still be OK then?

 

 

I think that you will find that I have addressed the matter of these police and bailiff 'roadside operations' in the recent response to the Consulatation paper regarding the future of CCTV.

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I think that you will find that I have addressed the matter of these police and bailiff 'roadside operations' in the recent response to the Consulatation paper regarding the future of CCTV.

We must hope they will take this on board then and squish these roadside civil ANPR operations. They are a breach of due process and even a breach of the Articles of the ECHR, regarding deprivation of property where they take the car from the new owner for a previous owners PCN, the interpleaders may also constitute breach of the ECHR and Human Rights Act, due to the financial impact on an innocent having to stump up the value of seized goods to contest the seizure.

 

Having seen ploddertom's post, perhaps we could find a solution with a greater profit margin, and market these to the poor unfortunate bailiff caught short, say a bog roll.

 

9k= Obviously the Brothers Grimm will be working on their new guide Fairytale Fees and Their Practical Application

We could do with some help from you.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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PS: I have also addressed the awful subject of ANPR in last weeks Consultation Paper.

 

It cannot be right for a bailiff to seek to find the car that was driven by the debtor on the day of contravention. In London in particular, motorists change their car very frequently and ANPR ensures that the new owner's car will be seized to pay the PREVIOUS owners debt !!!

 

Madness...there can be no other word for it.

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PS: I have also addressed the awful subject of ANPR in last weeks Consultation Paper.

 

It cannot be right for a bailiff to seek to find the car that was driven by the debtor on the day of contravention. In London in particular, motorists change their car very frequently and ANPR ensures that the new owner's car will be seized to pay the PREVIOUS owners debt !!!

 

Madness...there can be no other word for it.

The bailiffs would probably beg to differ, and will squeal like a stuck pig if and when ANPR is outlawed.

We could do with some help from you.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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