Heather Jameson 27 April 2020

Debt collection needs reform, says think tank

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

Interim Head of Fostering

Tile Hill
Negotiable day rate
We are working with a local authority client in London who is looking for an Interim Head of Fostering, the local authority was last inspected as “... London (Central), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Interim Head of Children in Care and Care Leavers

Tile Hill
Negotiable day rate
We are working with a local authority client in London who is looking for an Interim Head of Children in Care and Care Leavers, the local authority... London (Central), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Head of Regeneration and Economy

City of York Council
£59,593 - £68,094
York is a wonderful place to live and work and it is quite rightly famous across the globe. York, North Yorkshire / Hybrid
Recuriter: City of York Council

Clinical Lead, North Essex

Essex County Council
Clinical Lead, North EssexPermanent, Full TimeUp to £57,869 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Assistant Director Legal,&Governance/Monitoring Officer

Rochdale BC
£70,340 - £81,589
The Assistant Director role has breadth of responsibility beyond legal services incorporating Constitutional and Democratic Services Rochdale, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Rochdale BC

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.