What a year it’s been in the world of enforcement, and in the world in general!
I think we can safely say (for now anyway) that 2021 has been better for most of us than 2020 was.
The first half of the year was still full of restrictions, but as soon as the summer hit, we all felt at least some sense of normality. It was amazing that we even remembered what normality was, going on holiday, going to the pub, things like that.
As a new difficult period looms, thanks to the Omicron variant, we wanted to take a look back on the highs and lows of the last 12 months, with a #TeamCES Year Review.
We kicked off 2021 by reminding everyone about one of our key values, kindness, with a reminder that whether we speak to people on the doorstep, on the phone or over the internet, our approach is always understanding and always empathetic. Given the unprecedented times we’ve all been living through, this commitment to kindness has served us well, and we maintain that approach with whoever we’re dealing with, whether that’s clients, debtors, landlords or trespassers.
You can remind yourself about out commitment to kindness here:
Kindness though, wasn’t the only thing we needed a commitment to this last 12 months.
We needed to be patient, resilient, patient again, and then to show even more resilience (and patience!) but this is something we happily lived up to, even when our industry was being accused of contributing to the spread of coronavirus.
We could’ve got angry about this slight on our industry, but we preferred to deal with the facts, and by explaining how our agents weren’t actually permitted to go inside a debtor’s property, how we were fully kitted out with PPE and how we had commissioned extra training for the safety of everyone we deal with, we hoped to show that our conscience was clear.
You can take a look at the measures we took here:
We haven’t stopped taking the extra precautions either.
Something else that never seemed to stop were the evictions moratoriums and subsequent roll overs. We know just how frustrating this was for landlords, many of whom are amongst our client base, but we tried our best to present the information from all angles of the story.
Certainly, in the early stages of 2021 at least, these roll overs provided much needed breathing space for people who had been affected by the pandemic through no fault of their own.
You can see what we had to say about it here:
wouldn’t say that we were strictly in support of the moratoriums, but we definitely understood what they were trying (and sometimes failing) to achieve.
One thing we have always been in strict support of is the Armed Forces, and earlier this year we cemented that support by pledging our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.
You can read all about that here:
In essence, we wanted to show that we understand how leaving the forces can be a difficult time for individuals and their families, and that we would be there wherever and however we can to support veterans in building a life after their time in service. Take a look through the ranks of #TeamCES and you’ll see that we back this commitment up with actions and not just words.
Thankfully, we weren’t the only ones backing up actions with words in 2021, and as problems such as addiction and homelessness are still rife within the ex-forces community, it was pleasing to report on a much needed financial boost for Military Mental Health Services.
You can remind yourself about that here:
The importance of funding and maintaining appropriate support services for ex military personnel and their wellbeing is vital, and the cash injection will have gone a long way.
Speaking of going a long way...
...as we’ve already said, we tried to go a long way to support the safe and effective return to enforcement in 2021, and regular lateral flow testing for all of our agents was just one part of this.
Their commitment to ensuring everyone’s safety was notable, and you can read all about how #TeamCES had to ‘go with the flow’ in 2021 here:
Sometimes though, having a rule like this that applies to everyone, really isn’t a good idea.
A Council or two in England found this out the hard way, when they tried to enforce so called ‘blanket bans’ on travellers. You might remember that travellers’ charities claimed a victory in
this dispute, and that the measures were deemed discriminatory and disproportionate.
You can read all about it again here:
Effectively, the Councils were told they needed to do their homework, rather than tarring every single traveller with the same brush. Dead right, as far as we’re concerned.
Dead wrong, was a landlord in Sheffield, who illegally evicted his tenant.
Here’s the story:
You might recall how, having fallen behind on rent payments, the tenant’s landlord took it upon himself to illegally evict the man in question, leaving his belongings, including his son’s toys, strewn across the pavement. This was done in conjunction with changing the locks to the property.
We told you how the landlord in question would live to regret his actions, and reaffirmed our commitment to doing things the right way.
We’re passionate about helping our clients do things 'The right way’ too, and part of that involves us keeping everyone abreast of the latest relevant information to their industry or field.
Throughout 2021, we’ve continued to remind our followers about the latest changes to enforcement and evictions.
There have been plenty to keep our eye on, including the one you’ll find here:
The long and short of it was usually, that more patience was going to be needed from landlords, especially commercial landlords, as you’ll remember from this article:
Whilst most things were changing on a weekly or even daily basis in 2021 though, some things did reach their conclusions, such as the decision on who should pay the VAT on enforcement fees.
We had campaigned hard on this, in support of the HCEOA and other organisations, and it was satisfying to be able to bring a debate to something of a close. Final guidance came from the Ministry of Justice, and we make no apologies for just how much coverage we gave to this. It was all in the interests of fairness and transparency. We’re glad it’s been cleared up, but is it once and for all?
Decide for yourself:
Finally, we ended the year by thanking the people we work for, and the people who work for us, our team, in our Christmas messages.
At #TeamCEs we’re all about singing each other’s praises, which is why it was great to end the year by shining a light on another one of our number, Reece Depledge. If you didn’t catch it at the time of publishing, take a read now, and keep your eye out for more of the same in 2022.
That’s a warp for 2021 then (almost anyway) but even as the threat of fresh restrictions hang over us, the work #TeamCES have done over the past couple of years puts us in the best position to be able to serve the people who place their trust in us.