Bailiffs who aggressively pursue debts will come under fresh scrutiny through plans announced by ministers to tackle intimidating and inappropriate behaviour.
The Government is to launch a call for evidence following concerns that a minority of bailiffs are still acting aggressively when collecting money from debtors – particularly from vulnerable people.
The call for evidence, which will be launched shortly, will look to those directly involved to share their experiences to help stop this in its tracks.
Justice Minister Lucy Frazer said: “The majority of bailiffs act professionally and within the rules, but we have been told by those working on the front line that this may not always be the case. Aggressive tactics will not be tolerated, and through our call for evidence we will identify where the problems are and, if necessary, take action to ensure all bailiffs operate professionally and with proper respect and sensitivity.”
In 2014, the government brought in new laws to protect the public from aggressive enforcement agents, while at the same time making sure that debts could still be collected fairly.
The first review of those reforms is published today (2 April), demonstrating positive progress since the changes. This includes better awareness around debtor rights and how to complain, more clarity for debtors about the fees that can be charged, the processes that should be followed, and where to go for advice.
It also found the overall effectiveness of proper enforcement has improved, with a greater proportion of debts now being successfully enforced.
However, following concerns raised by the advice sector, the call for evidence which will be launched shortly seeks to address those minority of bailiffs who continue to flout the rules and aggressively pressure vulnerable people.