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5th July 2014, 20:30:PM #26
Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"
... ignore for now just seemed most relevant place for the minute xx
''People in vulnerable situations
4.8 The National Standards for Enforcement Agents gives examples of potentially
vulnerable situations. The reality is that judgements need to be made on a case by
4.9 There should be clear, agreed protocols in place between Local Authorities and their
bailiffs governing the approach that should be taken in vulnerable situations and the
kinds of cases which should be raised with, or referred back to, local authorities for
further consideration when encountered.
4.10 This might mean agreed indicators of vulnerable circumstances and ensuring there is
a clear and efficient mechanism to refer cases back to the Local Authority where
bailiff action is not the most appropriate route.''
Taking Control of Goods: National Standards
Enforcement agents should be trained to recognise vulnerable debtors, to alert creditors where they have identified such debtors and when to withdraw from such a situation.
Enforcement agents/agencies and creditors must recognise that they each have a role in ensuring that the vulnerable and socially excluded are protected and that the recovery process includes procedures agreed between the agent/agency and creditor about how such situations should be dealt with. The appropriate use of discretion is essential in every case and no amount of guidance could cover every situation. Therefore the agent has a duty to contact the creditor and report the circumstances in situations where there is evidence of a potential cause for concern.
If necessary, the enforcement agent will advise the creditor if further action is appropriate. The exercise of appropriate discretion is needed, not only to protect the debtor, but also the enforcement agent who should avoid taking action which could lead to accusations of inappropriate behaviour.
Enforcement agents must withdraw from domestic premises if the only person present is, or appears to be, under the age of 16 or is deemed to be vulnerable by the enforcement agent; they can ask when the debtor will be home - if appropriate.
Enforcement agents must withdraw without making enquiries if the only persons present are children who appear to be under the age of 12.
A debtor may be considered vulnerable if, for reasons of age, health or disability they are unable to safeguard their personal welfare or the personal welfare of other members of the household.
The enforcement agent must be sure that the debtor or the person to whom they are entering into a controlled goods agreement understands the agreement and the consequences if the agreement is not complied with.
Enforcement agents should be aware that vulnerability may not be immediately obvious.
Some groups who might be vulnerable are listed below. However, this list is not exhaustive. Care should be taken to assess each situation on a case by case basis.
people with a disability;
the seriously ill;
the recently bereaved;
single parent families;
unemployed people; and,
those who have obvious difficulty in understanding, speaking or reading English.
Wherever possible, enforcement agents should have arrangements in place for rapidly accessing interpretation services (including British Sign Language), when these are needed, and provide on request information in large print or in Braille for debtors with impaired sight
4.6 The Enforcement Agent must be mindful of vulnerable groups when collecting debt and if in any doubt must seek advice from the Councils supervising officer. The Enforcement Agent will always make a record on the account of the debtor’s (and family) personal circumstances especially where there are apparent disability, mental illness or impairment issues. The following provides an indication of such groups but is not exhaustive. Any advice provided must be noted by the Enforcement Agent.
• any person aged 70 or over and infirm.
• recent family bereavement (case to be reviewed in 2 to 3 months)
• Where a debtor is considered to have a mental disability/a severe state of confusion or sensory disability such as being deaf or blind.
• If debtor or partner in final weeks of pregnancy.
• Communication difficulties, any case where English is not spoken or read and an interpreter would be useful.
• Severe financial difficulties where total household income is equal to or below Income Support/ Jobseeker’s Allowance.
• Any exceptional circumstances which would make recovery action undesirable.
Last edited by Amethyst; 5th July 2014 at 20:44:PM.“We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower
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