Councils told to stop ‘heavy-handed’ use of bailiffs
Councils have been warned to stop the ‘heavy-handed’ use of bailiffs to collect unpaid council tax and parking penalties, in a new best practice guide.
Communities secretary, Eric Pickles, has launched new guidelines saying councils should not collect ‘contractual kickbacks’ from bailiffs and must protect residents from excessive fees and phantom visits.
Pickles said: ‘It is unacceptable for councils to employ burly bailiffs with heavy-handed tactics like kicking down doors, making phantom visits or charging excessive fees – it is unfair and damages a council’s standing in the community.
‘Today our new guidance is crystal clear: it is time to stop the dodgy practices where town halls collect contractual kickbacks from bailiffs that will do almost anything to make money.’
Figures from Citizens Advice found there has been a 38% increases in complaints about bailiffs over the five years. The five biggest bailiff companies earn a combined revenue in excess of £60m.
The guidelines also says:
· Councils should terminate contracts if bailiffs make phantom visits to increase fees
· Councils should not receive payment from the use of bailiffs
· Councils remain responsible for the action of bailiffs they have contracted
· Councils should publish their standard scale of fees on their websites
Outsourcing without monitoring is one of the biggest problems, it's the necessary part of the cost but some leaders don't want to know captivated by savings. I see JS is up to his or her tricks. They say that 50% of advertising is wasted but know one can work out which 50%. LG isn't the whole of the Public Sector and reducing it by 50% wouldn't solve the problems especially as they still basically run education, kids on the streets? sorry what streets can't afford them.Stephen Reimer, Added: Monday, 24 June 2013 10:19 AM
This is another example of outsourcing to private contractors going wrong. Once again, the profit motive gives us a worse service, higher costs and a need for greater regulation. Just like in traffic wardens, care homes, gas, electricity, water, telecoms, pay day loans and banks.Gerry Dominey, Added: Thursday, 20 June 2013 12:09 PM
Pay your bills and no bailiff's needed. Live within your means. Only problem is about half of council expenditure is wasted. Root cause, cut Councils to a size we can afford.J Smith, Added: Tuesday, 18 June 2013 11:52 PM
Welcome to Greece. First you cut benefits, tax with Bedroom Tax (Spare Room Subsidy for councillors' extra bedrooms) and 100% loss of Council Tax benefit, and then waste money on bailiffs to gain money from the penniless, starving and frozen with no central heating on. Austerity means end of welfare state, social medicine and leaving the poor to starve as done by the New Poor Law in 19th century. 80% Austerity Cuts yet to come.Chris Williams, Added: Tuesday, 18 June 2013 07:06 PM
Yes, it was once said that consistency is the pre-occupation of the small man and Piffles is... When UC hits the unsuspecting claimants we will have our bailiff lead economic recovery!Patrick Newman, ex local government, Stevenage, Added: Tuesday, 18 June 2013 04:30 PM
Mr Tickles must have amnesia? Not so long ago it was "councils must maximise their income and collect Council Tax owing to them, there's no excuse..." etc. Which is it to be??Local Government, South, Added: Tuesday, 18 June 2013 01:26 PM
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