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Hi all

After doing a lot of research, the general opinion, from enforcers from the police to bailiffs,

Seems to be if we have done wrong you can get remedy through the court process, so pay up and correct afterwards.

 

examples

arrest for possible breach of the peace, mainly when EA's are involved.

 

social services

we will take your children for possible future harm.

 

When was this changed from the accuser has to prove, to the accused has to prove.

 

3rd party has to prove property is theirs,They should not have to prove anything,

just to make it easy for the enforcer whether an EA or police.

 

In this country of ours you are meant to be innocent until proven guilty.

 

Just want caggers views

 

Leakie

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Has the law really changed in reality i.e how it works practically ? Yes legislation has been updated, but in terms of on the ground affect on people, i just wonder whether it is now more in favour of enforcement than in was say 5 years ago ?

 

Hasn't there always been an issue with who owns goods that bailiffs look at to seize ?

 

I think that there is more of an issue of Enforcement Agents using underhand tactics telling untruths to people they visit in order to make a recovery. I was watching a bit of Can't pay won't pay or whatever the Ch5 programme is called and the amount of porkie pies that are told to gain entry to private homes is just wrong. In one case they went to a private home regarding a CCJ telling a lady they could force entry, not making it clear this was not to the actual house, but to separate garages or sheds.

 

I think if Government made enforcement companies send out with NOE a Government note on enforcement law explaining clearly what EA's can and cannot do, then it might stop some of the bad behaviour. And the NOE should be sent by recorded delivery, as it is an important document.


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And the NOE should be sent by recorded delivery, as it is an important document.

 

This is a topic that comes up frequently on the main part of the forum and featured heavily in the many conversations and meetings that I attended when the bailiff regulations were at the Consultation period. It will never be the case that a Notice of Enforcement is sent by recorded delivery.

 

It is a postal service that is fraught with difficulties.

 

Firstly:There is the huge cost of postage which would have to be born by the enforcement companies.

 

Secondly, is the matter of service of the document. With such varying times of delivery (for instance my post arrives around 9.45am) a large percentage of recorded delivery items would be delivered long after the members of the household have left for work. If an item cannot be delivered, a notice would be left at the household advising that the postal item can be picked up from the local sorting office within 7 days. With working couples, they would be restricted to collecting the postal item on the Saturday morning. With the 'Compliance period' being very short, it would likely be the case that the debt has escalated to the enforcement stage.

 

Using Registered post would also impose additional administrative responsibility on the enforcement company and this would have to come at a cost.....pressure on the government to increase the Compliance fee for instance.

 

I can remember debating with the Ministry of Justice the subject of postal times and I urged MOJ to consider imposing a condition in the regs that all notices must be sent using 1st class Royal Mail as opposed to TNT and other delivery organisations. I was told that using Royal Mail was more expensive and that postal costs need to be kept as low as possible.

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Re recorded delivery of NOE. If there are issues, then allow say 21 days between compliance and enforcement. The 7 days is not enough anyway. The £75 fee is more than enough to cover recorded delivery.

 

The enforcement process can be made to work a lot better. But EC's might not want it to become more efficient allowing debtors to arrange payment earlier, because then they might miss out on enforcement fees.

 

This can't be about the profitability of enforcement, ignoring the people who are subject to enforcement. And if more people are allowed time before enforcement visits in which to make repayments, then arguably it is better for creditors.

 

Problem with the enforcement industry is vested interests who don't want to see change that might reduce or cut off income streams.


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In this country of ours you are meant to be innocent until proven guilty.

 

That principle of English law, also enshrined in the UN Convention on Human Rights, has only ever applied to CRIMINAL LAW prosecutions. None of your examples are criminal law cases.

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Re recorded delivery of NOE. If there are issues, then allow say 21 days between compliance and enforcement. The 7 days is not enough anyway. The £75 fee is more than enough to cover recorded delivery.

 

The 'compliance period' by an large does work well with most companies tending to abide by CIVEA guidance and allow a 14 day period. Unfortunately, there are one or two enforcement companies that are really pushing their luck barely allowing even the 7 'clear days' and I fully intend to raise this subject later this month (I am attending two very large industry conferences).

 

The local authorities must take a large proportion for the blame as they are the ones who should be imposing conditions in their contracts with the enforcement companies.

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The enforcement process can be made to work a lot better. But EC's might not want it to become more efficient allowing debtors to arrange payment earlier, because then they might miss out on enforcement fees.

 

But we also have to take on board the fact the when an account gets to the very late stage of bailiff enforcement, there should have been many opportunities to pay at a much earlier stage. Take for example for position with the 1.6 million road traffic penalties passed to bailiffs. The motorist would have been sent a Notice to Owner. He could appeal the ticket at this stage. Next would be the Charge Certificate followed by the Order for Recovery advising that the debt has been registered with the Traffic Enforcement Centre. Even at the OfR stage, an 'in time' witness statement or statutory declaration can be submitted and the penalty would be 'rewound' back to the initial stage.

 

With Magistrate Court fines, there would be a Summons issued. If ignored, a Notice of Fines/Collection Order sent outlining the sentence imposed and payment required. If ignored, there will be a further document entitled: Further Steps Notice warning that a period of 10 working days will be given before a warrant (or other enforcement step) is actions.

 

Now with council tax I do have an serious issue. There should be a statutory notice advising that a Liability Order has been obtained and that unless paid, the debt will be passed to an enforcement agent. As many will know, the regulations were amended in 2014 to remove this '14 day' letter from the regulations. This notice should not have been removed and I wrote a very detailed press article on the subject in 2013 outlining the reasons why.

 

As I have mentioned on here before, some local authorities are looking at registering their Liability Orders with credit references agencies (there have been recent trials which apparently have proved very successful). I raised opposition to these proposals at a conference a short while ago and will continue to do so at ones later this month. My argument is that such a step cannot be taken unless the council tax payer had previously been served notification that a Liability Order had been obtained.......in other words, the '14 day' letter would need to be re-introuced back into the regulations.

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Some good points raised

 

Yes possible breach of the peace, can if used correctly will stop volatile people, causing a Breach.

But you can see this being abused quite often, when someone is just trying,

to stand up for their rights.

 

I have no problem if the enforcers whether EA's Police Utility enforcers, follow the procedure, to the letter of the law.

but what we are seeing alot of, is this is being abused, due to the debtor's lack of knowledge,

and those that do have a bit of knowledge, being detained for standing up for their rights.

I understand this is not always the case.

 

Third party seizures, again there can be people who abuse this, But how many of you keep all your receipts.

Yes the problem is Some EA's do abuse this,

I have said this before if an EA or any enforcer abuses their power there should be some way of bringing them to book.

there are things in place but IMHO there are not working and the enforcers know this,

if take to a court it is cost prohibited for someone who is already in debt for whatever reason.and again the enforcers know this.

 

Another issue is the warrant/LO why would any person accept a warrant/LO on a screen.

I have never seen a copy of an LO that has been granted in my name.

 

I think the biggest problem is there has been and is abuse of the system on both sides.

 

I wish I knew the answer for a balanced way,

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With regards to proof of the NOE

The law states once posted it is deemed to be delivered.

we all know this is not always the case.

Just because it is recorded on a computer somewhere, that it has been sent, is not proof it has been delivered.

personally I believe the time allowed should be at least 14 days,from the date received.

if someone is working away they will not have time to try and come to an agreement.

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Despite claims to the contrary, a council cannot simply jump to using bailiffs without first contacting the debtor. It would be difficult for a council to justify a period of less than 14 days for receipt of further information.

 

I do believe that this is your own opinion. If not, could you please provide a link to the relevant legislation.

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Sorry missed some posts

 

I agree with BA the 14 day letter from the council should never have been taken out,

 

With regards to credit agencies, it would possibly work if those with a good rating,

who are more likely to be the debtor who do not want to pay.

 

But most of the LO's would be from debtors who can not pay, and are just trying to survive,

I doubt there rating woulds be that good anyway,

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It is not an opinion - it has been explained clearly for you in black and white.

 

Despite silly claims that councils do not have to notify debtors before engaging EAs, they actually do have to.

 

As you now know if a council fail to act upon guidance, it will be deemed maladministration.

 

Guidance from the Government regarding how to implement the Council Tax (Administration & Enforcement) Regulations 1992 states that a council should request further information from a debtor before determining what course of recovery action should be taken.

 

The National Standards state that a debtor should be notified that action will be taken if payment is not received by a certain date.

 

If a council jump straight to bailiffs without first contacting the debtor, it would be deemed maladministration.

 

I have not seen anything in law or standards which apply as you say here, perhaps if you would link to it or copy it on the thread as others do.


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Please do not flaming each other,

let's have an adult discussion

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I do believe that this is your own opinion. If not, could you please provide a link to the relevant legislation.

 

I too would be interested - simply because there is no direct provision in legislation for this.

 

As it stands the only notification a person is required to receive that an order has been granted is that the any form of enforcement agent must make reference to the granting of the order - so it is there is an roundabout way if the council use an enforcement option.

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CRA reference is a step too far, Council Tax is now unaffordable to many if not most on low income, the only beneficiary is the bailiff. Time to kill Enforcement dead.


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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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Who said there needed to be legislation?

 

LGO complaints deal with non legal matters where an injustice has occurred due to maladministration.

 

The LGO has stated that if a council do not follow recognised guidance, she will likely deem it maladministration.

 

If a council fail to give notice that bailiffs are going to be engaged unless the debt is paid, rest assured that the LGO will intervene.

 

Furthermore, a council is required to seek further information to determine the best way to proceed - It is there for a purpose and although not (ahem) "legally binding" to be used first, it is not much use AFTER enforcement is it.

 

Is it so much to ask, to expect a council to operate in accordance with Government guidance as the LGO expects?

 

Like most recovery officers, you have had it drilled into you that things aren't legally binding. This is irrelevant as far as LGO investigations are concerned.

 

The law works for all parties you cannot ignore it when it does not say what you want it to.

 

In addition, there is no breach of guidance in any case. The section is none specific, it does not say there must be a warning notice that bailiff action is imminent once a liability order is issued, it would be easy enough for it to do so if that is what it meant.

 

you refer to the law as if it were not relevant, when in fact it is the only thing that is relevant.


DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES TO COLD CALLERS PROMISING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS

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With regards to my local council Braintree

all you get is a notice of missed payment, My last one was by text not letter, due to the council not allocating payments properly,

 

Notice that they are applying for a LO with an I & E form.

If you do not contact them they will go for the LO regardless

 

Even if you do contact them in my case as I was Self Employed they stated, that they had to get the LO before any

re payment plan could be agreed, ( an extra £95.00 for them)

 

then they make it very difficult to make an agreement, so straight to enforcement. no notice

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With regards to my local council Braintree, all you get is a notice of missed payment.

 

Notice that they are applying for a LO with an I & E form.

 

If you do not contact them they will go for the LO regardless

 

Even if you do contact them in my case as I was Self Employed they stated, that they had to get the LO before any re payment plan could be agreed, ( an extra £95.00 for them)

 

 

Excellent post Leakie.

 

As you have rightly confirmed, before requesting a Liability Order, your council have requested financial information from you (in the form of an Income & Expenditure) !!!

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Reading your Councils article about what happens if you don't pay it is very sketchy at best, maybe you shoild contact them or your Councillors to have a fuller article loaded - they state the application of costs is a 2 pronged stage, are you saying it is not.

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You never mentioned your Council, it was directed at Braintree.

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A request for financial information PRIOR to obtaining a LO is entirely different to one requested by way of Regulation 36.

 

For example, a request for financial information AFTER a LO has been granted will include a request to provide employment details. It is an offence not to provide this information.

 

Gosh, you really are confusing viewers aren't you.

 

Once a Liability Order has been obtained, it gives a local authority the power to order the debtor to provide information about their financial circumstances. The information includes the following:

 

The name and address of the debtors employer

 

Their earnings

 

Deductions from salary

 

Details of existing attachment of earnings

 

Details of other sources of income (pensions etc)

 

Whether another person is jointly liable for the debt.

 

If the council do use this step, then it is a criminal offence not to to provide the information).

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For the avoidance of doubt, once a Liability Order has been obtained, it provides the council with power to do any of the folllowing:

 

Obtain financial information as outlined in my above post

 

Make an Attachment of Earnings Order

 

Make a deduction from benefits

 

Use bailiffs to take control of the debtor's goods

 

Apply for a Charging Order

 

Apply to bankrupt the debtor.

 

Finally, the local authority can decide which method of recovery it wishes to use in each case.

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Not sure if this is directed at me?

 

If it was, my "councils article" was not about not paying tax, it was a comment regarding the now repealed 14 day letter. I probably know more about this than all of my councillors put together so I would be wasting my time contacting them.

 

If you are unsure of anything or find the post sketchy, please feel free to ask, I will happily explain anything to you in greater detail.

 

So why was it repealed?


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The authority is under no compulsion to send a request at all, not as incorrectly stated earlier. Nor is it compelled to send a request before enforcement.

It can be sent at any time. even when an enforcement has failed and the warrant has gone back to the authority.


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Thanks BA

They asked for I & E before going for a LO

 

In my case they were not, prepared to even talk about an arrangement , as I was Self Employed .

to be honest I did feel it was just to gain the extra fees, which could have been avoided, if they were prepared to listen.

But as Self Employed there was no discussion, straight for the LO

 

Doggone it

 

This is my personal experience with the council

 

I have had discussions with the local councilors, and to be honest they were not interested.

 

I have also found that, the council tax department were helpful,

But Recovery department just plainly do not care what ever the circumstances.

Recovery hide behind policy

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