Bailiff firms across the UK have signed up to independently monitored code of practice, the Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA) has confirmed.
All the body’s members, representing more than 90 percent of firms employing enforcement agents have signed up to the code, which involves a detailed compliance audit and review by a newly-formed independent panel, the Compliance, Adjudication and Review of Enforcement (CARE) panel.
The code builds on the existing industry code and is a response to calls for better supervision of enforcement agents after an inquiry by MPs. It states:
The CARE panel comprises of experts in compliance, complaints handling, regulation and consumer affairs. The panel will receive reports from the Code assessor on CIVEA members conduct and compliance; review complaints submitted to CIVEA where a final decision has been made by a member and offer expert advice to the CIVEA executive.
CIVEA chief executive Russell Hamblin-Boone said: “Local authorities and the public expect us to collect unpaid public debt efficiently from those who won’t pay while supporting sensitively those who can’t pay.
"The code sets standards that exceed the statutory regulations and involves scrutiny by compliance advisors who will report to an independent panel of experts. The code is a commitment by the enforcement industry to continue driving up standards and setting a high bar for anyone who wants to join our profession.”