The country is waking up, dusting itself off and assessing the damage. Superficial scrapes, as well as deep cuts scar the nation from north to south, and with an unclear future, there can be few certainties. Planning therefore, is absolutely vital.
The Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA) has released its plan for the coming weeks, months and who knows, maybe even years.
Detailed in the plan, are the steps that must be taken in order for the industry to kick back into action. Following extensive discussions with the Government, the plan details how local authorities and courts will be able to safely enforce overdue council tax, parking and traffic penalties, as well as magistrates’ court fines.
Those who have missed payments will receive a reconnection letter that aims to understand how they have been affected by the pandemic, and in most cases, 30 days’ notice will be given before an enforcement agent visits a property.
Perhaps most importantly, CIVEA approved training will need to be undertaken by all agents, prior to their recommencement. The following measures will also be in place:
Public Health England advised social distancing and enhanced hygiene techniques
Appropriate work wear and PPE
No entry to premises to take control of goods
Referral of vulnerable people to debt agencies
It is important to stress that CIVEA don’t anticipate a return to enforcement as it was before the pandemic. We agree with them that this would be wholly unrealistic and unacceptable. That said, enforcement of public debt is still a crucial service that helps fund local authorities. Councils need enforcement to resume, in order to offer the type of support that prevents enforcement from becoming necessary. It’s a case of either a vicious circle, or a vital cycle, and enforcement has a role to play in either.
Here is a breakdown of the Post-Lockdown Support Plan...
30 Day Notice of Enforcement Visits – sufficient opportunity for engagement could prevent additional fees.
Compulsory CIVEA Approved Training – all about keeping everyone safe in the wake of a global pandemic.
Pre-Visit Assessment – to check for vulnerabilities and changes to circumstances.
Post Lockdown Visits – only when Government restrictions allow and with no entry to properties.
Data Collection and Recording – to trace and support the vulnerable and assess the impact of COVID-19.
PPE – social distancing, enhanced hygiene, procurement of PPE.
#TeamCES are ready to meet the new requirements. We will face the challenges head on, and support the vulnerable wherever we can.
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