In a major reform to civil enforcement, the Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA) has announced the launch of a new an independently-monitored code of practice that sets a new standard for bailiffs. All members of the Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA), representing over 90 percent of firms employing enforcement agents (bailiffs), 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. CIVEA has taken proactive steps in line with the Justice Select Committee recommendations. These include:

  • Adoption of revised Code of Practice
  • Establishment of independent Compliance, Adjudication and Review Panel
  • Appointment of independent Code auditor
  • Mandatory use of Body Worn Video technology
  • Referral of eligible complaints to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, from 1st June

Russell Hamblin-Boone, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Civil Enforcement Association that represents firms employing more than 2000 active agents, announced the reform at the association’s conference 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.”

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 (this only applies to HMCTS and transport-related complaints); and offer expert advice to the CIVEA executive.