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There is a lot of half baked and contradictory 'advice' on this compex subject on the net.


Having had recent experience I have been looking in to the matter as I had little idea of my rights until now. So, I did a search to see what I could find.


I found this site (Direct.Gov) quite succinct.


This document (Specification for Private Enforcement Provision) concerns the contracting out of certain work like collection of unpaid fines / clamping orders.... by the HMCS to private bailiffs companies... It's essential reading i.m.o. esp. Appendix D on Contract Protocols.


If you want to know what the bailiff from Drakes for example can and can't do have a read.

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If you have a visit from a private bailiff such as Drakes, in connection with an unpaid fine for example, then this document is essential reading:


Her Majesty's Court Service (HMCS): Specification for Private Enforcement Provision


It sets out the requirements of private 'contractors' when collecting debts and will put you very much in the picture of what procedures must be followed. Appendix 4: Contact Protocols are particularly interesting imo.


I feel it would be very useful for the CAG to have a prominent link for this as I defo found it helpful.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've had recent dealings with both private bailiffs ('contractors'), and fines officers who are Govt. employees. They all should operate within the same rules. But do they? I think one of the big problems is the contracting out of collections which many regions have taken up. I have seen a massive difference in the attitude and methods employed by private bailiffs to those of fines officers and county court bailiffs. A lot also depends upon what the debt is and to whom.


The BBC expose on private contractors clearly showed that there is a bad culture in some companies where they play on our fear and ignorance. I was told by a man from Drakes who called last year that if I did not pay up I would go to jail. I was on the brink at the time. Some of these people act in cold blooded fashion in my opinion. He missed out all the steps that would take and other options open.


- The emphasis of the Collection of Fines Order 2006 is to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of collections but within that to allow 'the offender' 'every opportunity' 'to cooperate'. This document by the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) sets the scene on what we can expect.


If you have had a call / letter from Drakes for example have a look at the procedures they are supposed to follow. Then compare that to what you have seen and experienced.


- OK, unpaid fines do need to be collected where possible. It is how it is done, that is the big issue I feel.


This site and others like it are vital resources. I knew next to nothing about my rights / bailiffs / debt collection until I looked here and then wider on the net. Information is power!

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Guest Herbie

That's correct.


Due to the huge number of unpaid magistrate court FINES for thing like speeding, driving while disqualified, unpaid TV licence etc, HMCS contrated out the collection of these FINES to 3 bailiff companies. Drakes were awarded part of the contract.


The fees scale allowed are high including an administratiion fee of £50.


People need to know also that these bailiff have the power to arrest you and take you straight to court etc. In addition, for collecting these FINES only, they have the right to break into your home.


They also have what are called "clamping orders".

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If you look at the admin fee of £50, does this include a letter being sent out and also to trace defendant to see if they may still reside at the address given on the warrant?


You can pay on certain sites up to £30 just to trace one person properly.


There are three companies covering the whole of the country in respect of HMCS fines.


These fees are set by HMCS and not by the companies.

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Guest Herbie

The £50 admin fee covers a letter being sent out and covers the fees up to a first visit being made. The idea of a large fee such as this is to keep more cases being dealt with within the office instead of having bailiffs sent to homes.


The fees were agreed by HMCS and therefore if there is any need to complain about the fees scale you need to contact the Magistrates Court who instruucted the bailiff.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 month later...

Marston (who I believe used to be Drakes) called at my home today to enforce an order against my son for an unpaid tv licence fee from 2004 against an address he lived at that time.


My son does not live at my address anymore nor do I know where he lives, and told the baliff this. The Baliff asked to come inside so he could assertain that my son did not in fact live with me, which I refused to allow him to do (I've dealt with Baliff's before) besides I'm Disabled and live alone. He then said that he would return with a locksmith later in the day, to break into my home, so as to ascertain if my son did live at the address and advised me to let him in. Again I refused, as he was not going to make a walking posession on my goods and that I had dealt with Baliffs before, I also pointed out that my rented flat is in my name.


I did ask if there was anyway I could help to sort this matter out on behalf of my son, (I just wanted rid him and his very big mate off my doorstep) to which he replied that the amount had to be paid. Gave me a card for my sons attention saying that payment of the full amount had to be sent to his office in 7 days, otherwise he would be back with a locksmith next Friday (it says as much on the card italso quotes Schedule 4A of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act to enable us to enter your property BY FORCE, using locksmiths where required) I said I would try and get the money together and send it through. He asked for my Debit card number, I refused to give it to him.


I believe Balliffs have 90 days to assertain that my son does not live with me, but I don't want them calling at my home again as my condition does not respond well to such intimidation. I'm willing to pay the amount, but can't do it in full by next Friday.


Any advise please



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