A Best Practice plan adopted by The High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA) is to be put in action from Monday 24 August as debt recovery enforcement activity begins again across England and Wales.

The HCEOA’s post-lockdown plan, is called “A Flexible and Sympathetic Approach to Enforcement”. It sets out the principles, working practices and behaviours that all High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEO’s) and their 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.

HCEOA members and clients are already increasing early engagement via a variety of methods including SMS, letter and phone calls with judgment debtors to put in place payment arrangements remotely and minimise the need for home visits.

On 19 June 2020 the Ministry of Justice announced that the Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Amendment) (No. 2) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 will end on 23 August 2020 to allow High Court Officers (HCEOs) to recommence enforcement action, including home visits if necessary.

In addition to the Association plan, HCEO’s and representatives will abide by UK Government regulations and official public health guidance in England and Wales at all times.

Andrew Wilson, Chairman of the HCEOA, said: “Our members and their clients are very focused on health and safety of judgment debtors, staff and the wider community. This 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: “The plan has been 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 official public health guidelines across England and Wales as appropriate.

High Court enforcement activity is being undertaken in an appropriate, flexible and sensitive manner that reflects the challenges we are all facing as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Association has developed a best practice Covid-19 plan.

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