Bailiffs to receive Diversity Training

The government has unveiled plans to protect vulnerable people who have fallen into debt from unscrupulous bailiffs thanks to proposed reforms. The reforms go as far as introducing diversity training for bailiffs hoping to obtain a trading certificate.

The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill will create a national framework to regulate all enforcement agents, including bailiffs, who are not Crown employees. In the longer term, the Government is looking at regulation by an outside body, with the preferred option of using the Security Industry Authority.

Under the Bill, enforcement agents who break the law could face a fine of up to £5,000 or damages, as well as suspension or cancellation of their certificate to prevent them continuing to operate.

The Bill had its third reading in the House of Lords and has now begun its passage through the House of Commons
Constitutional Affairs Minister Baroness Catherine Ashton said:

"Tens of thousands of people get into debt each year. Some find themselves in difficulty because their economic situation changes and others mismanage their money.

"Not only do they suffer financial and other hardship, but they can often be at the mercy of unscrupulous bailiffs who misunderstand or misrepresent their powers.

"Bailiffs will have to undergo rigorous training to get a certificate, including diversity awareness and handling vulnerable people. In addition, a judge will handle complaints and mete out punishment.

"We also plan to protect vulnerable people by listing the goods that bailiffs can't seize, including items necessary for the debtor's basic domestic needs and livelihood."

As well as clamping down on enforcement agents, the Bill also contains a package of measures that improve and extend the current range of solutions available to assist vulnerable debtors. The measures include a new personal insolvency procedure for those with very low incomes who owe relatively little but have no way to pay their creditors.

Posted by, Asif Yusuf



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