Heather Jameson 27 April 2020

Debt collection needs reform, says think tank

Debt collection needs reform, says think tank image

Local government should follow the lead of the private sector when it comes to debt collection, the latest report from the Centre for Social Justice think tank has claimed.

The report cites Citizen’s Advice Bureau records which state 42% of debt in 2018-19 is owed to government or public bodies, up from 21% in 2010-11. In the same period, consumer debt dropped from 57% to 32% in the same period.

As the economic pressures caused by the coronavirus start to put pressure on family budgets, the problem of debt is set to be exacerbated.

According to the Centre for Social Justice, consumer debt collection has changed significantly over the past decade. It said: ‘Regrettably, these advances have not been mirrored by debt collectors in the public sector.

‘Councils are the nation’s largest commissioner of bailiffs, even though they recovered 27p of every £1 referred last year.

The Think tank has called for

Local government debt collection to be transformed and updated so it does not make debt problems worse

Transform debt collection in the justice system, removing prison terms for council tax debt and introducing an independent bailiff regulator.

A set of binding fairness principles to be put in law

Change debt collection in the welfare system, so historical debts around issues in the tax credit system are deducted affordably

The CSJ said: ‘With the lockdown not going anywhere soon, and the number of people in problem debt sadly set to rise, it is more urgent than ever to carve a new path forward for government debt collection.’

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Assistant Director Practice Improvement and Development

Birmingham Children's Trust
Up to £92,681 plus market supplement and relocation allowance (subject to terms and conditions)
We have developed an environment where learning, development and practice improvement are underpinning principles service wide. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham Children's Trust

Social Worker (Safeguarding Adults Team)

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
The safeguarding team have an excellent opportunity for an experienced qualified Social Worker who... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Occupational Therapist (Short Breaks- Residential and Community)

City of York Council
£30,500 to £34,797 per annum
Looking to recruit an Occupational Therapist who is able to meet the needs of children and young people with... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Social Worker - SGO & Connected Person Assessment Team

Essex County Council
Special Guardianship Order (SGO) & Connected Person Assessment Team The SGO and Connected Person's Assessment Team first started in April 2019 and due England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Programme Support Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£29.766 - £30.711
This role is a programme support officer which will assist the delivery of vital monitoring, control and governance work to... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue