Enforcement Fees and Enforcement Conduct Authority
Posted on 26th July 2021 at 08:39
Supreme Court Ruling
The Association has been working in close conjunction with several agencies involved in the enforcement process. By uniting together provides us with a joined-up approach when lobbying Government and the Ministry of Justice putting forward a stronger argument.
To that end an approach was made to the Ministry of Justice regarding a review of Enforcement Fees which of course is long overdue. With all the extra demands that are being put on agents since the introduction of the Regulations in 2014 such as Body Worn Cameras and extra processes within the compliance stage it is felt that the increase in fees which should be reviewed annually is essential for Enforcement Agents to continue to provide a service which is not only efficient but considers the customer care aspect that is expected from our clients in these unprecedented times.
The industry as a whole has responded to the consultation for an inflation-based increase to court fees (the second in less than 6 years). It was felt that it was perfect timing to approach the MOJ with the concerns that the court fee structure also effects Enforcement costs and highlighting the fact that operating costs have increased considerably since 2014, especially given the impact of the COVID Pandemic.
The fees related to enforcement should be increased annually using the Consumer Price Index, if we take this into account over the last 7 years it is considered that the Compliance fee should now be increased to £85, £260 for the Enforcement Stage and £120 for the Sale Stage. Without these increases to cover the rise in costs may lead to poor practise and poor customer service.
It was also pointed out the extra cost that has been placed on the industry due to the pandemic and the return to work under difficult circumstances since August 2020. The opportunity was also taken to announce the proposal for an independent authority to oversee Enforcement Agents the Enforcement Conduct Authority (ECA).
The Association recently had a meeting with Russell Hamblin Boone (CIVEA) to discuss how the ECA will operate. Whilst the finer details are yet to be decided the CEAA agreed in principle to back the idea of an independent body to oversee conduct of Enforcement Agents and provide an independent resolution service for complaints. The creation of the ECA will be totally independent of the industry and has the backing of the Centre for Social Justice, the advice sector, CIVEA and the HCEOA. It is proposed that the ECA will review the National Standards, provide guidance on vulnerability and ensure fair and affordable repayment plans. It must be highlighted however that the finer detail is unlikely to be available until the members of the ECA have been appointed.
To this end the CEAA is proposing to provide training and briefing session that will be added on to the AGM in September (details to follow). It is expected that a press release on this subject will be made on or around the 26th July. Should there be any updates prior to this date they will be released as we become aware.
A response was received from the Ministry for Justice welcoming the proposal for an oversight body for Enforcement Agents and was encouraged that the industry and the advice sector had worked together on these proposals. The Ministry of Justice has responded to the increase in fees stating that this matter is under consideration, and we will receive a further update in September.
We appreciate that the detail of the ECA will be required by members but if you have any questions on this matter or any other matter concerning you now, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions where we can.
Please follow the link below to The Centre of Social Justice website to read their report Taking Control for Good: Introducing The Enforcement Conduct Authority.
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