The public sector is failing vulnerable debtors in its debt management processes, according to The Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM).
This view is in response to the Cabinet Office’s call for evidence on the issue of government debt management and the process of recovering public sector debt.
The CICM said that best practice should be followed across all aspects of debt recovery and collections, regardless of how the debt originated.
Sue Chapple, CICM chief executive, said: “It seems wholly wrong that when the government assesses affordability, it does so in order to recover what’s owed within a specific time period and by instalments, and that cannot be in the best interests of the consumer.
“When private debt collection agencies seek to recover consumer debt, it is simply about what the customer can afford to pay, without a time restriction, and that is much fairer on the customer. The public sector is also able to take money from an individual’s earnings, without the need for court proceedings, and that seems similarly unfair.
“Individuals who are in debt should receive the same level of treatment, and fairness, regardless of who they owe money to debt collection practices need to be much more aligned.”