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Debt Collectors

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether (a) his Department and (b) its (i) executive agencies and (ii) non-departmental public bodies use the services of private debt collectors. (71061)

The Department does not make use of private debt collectors. Of the executive agencies, Companies House uses the services of a debt collector in connection with the administration of the penalties raised on companies for late filing of accounts. The Insolvency Service uses agents for the collection of book debts (moneys owed by creditors to bankrupts and companies in liquidation) where the Official Receiver is trustee or liquidator and to collect costs from directors who are disqualified as a result of a court hearing.

Among the Department’s non-departmental public bodies, the use of private debt collectors is limited to a number of the research councils and regional development agencies as follows:

The Arts and Humanities Research Council has made limited use of an agency to help recover outstanding debts;

The Medical Research Council has used an agent to trace debtors, conduct correspondence, manage recovery schedules and where necessary prepare cases for County Court recovery;

Advantage West Midlands has used a firm of solicitors for collecting sales ledger debts over £500;

The London Development Agency has not had the occasion to employ any debt collectors, but has used firms of certified bailiffs with regard to repossessions, and these firms also provide this form of service. In addition the LDA outsources some of its estate management service to managing agents, and they have used certified bailiffs to recover bad debts;

The North West Development Agency uses certified bailiffs to recover unpaid rent via management agents.

The South West Regional Development Agency uses an agency to collect debts from tenants who owe the Agency rent;

Yorkshire Forward has used agents to collect debts such as non-payment of rent and to pursue small claims.