The High Court Enforcement Officers Association has adopted a new Best Practice plan for post-lockdown enforcement activity across England and Wales over the coming weeks and months.
The post-lockdown plan, entitled “A Flexible and Sympathetic Approach to Enforcement”, sets out the principles, working practices and behaviours that all High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEO’s) and representatives will follow throughout the phased lifting of the lockdown period.
In line with the latest Government guidance, the plan details:
- Additional training requirements for all enforcement agents prior to any home visits
- The need to follow appropriate social distancing guidance where possible
- The provision of protective equipment and hygiene supplies to ensure the visiting member of staff protect themselves, debtors and members of the public whilst at work
- The criteria under which enforcement visits to residential addresses will take place this will only happen once they are permitted under the Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020.
In addition to the Association plan, HCEO’s and representatives will abide by UK Government regulations and Public Health England and Wales’ guidance at all times.
The Association is now working closely with the Ministry of Justice to confirm at what stage, and ultimately what date as the lockdown is lifted, it will be appropriate for visits to residential properties to begin.
The Association believes this should be in line with the commencement of Step 3 of the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy as bars, restaurants and cinemas re-open, currently earmarked for early July.
Andrew Wilson, Chairman of the HCEOA, said: “Our members recognise that some judgment debtors will be experiencing significant effects as a result of the COVID-19 situation. The plan is designed to consider the case-by-case circumstances of judgment debtors and ensure they are treated fairly whilst allowing creditors to recover the money they are owed.”
Andrew added: “We are pleased this plan has now been adopted as Best Practice by the Association and shared with the Ministry of Justice to assure them of our commitment to operating in a flexible and sympathetic manner.”
The HCEOA’s post lockdown plan is based on current conditions, and the Association will update it in line with changes to UK Government and Public Health England and Wales guidelines.