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Debt Collection

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his policy is on the means by which bailiffs identify themselves on the doorstep; and if he will make a statement. (289253)

Bailiff powers and their conduct is a sensitive and complex issue and has been the subject of considerable assessment, debate and consultation over the last 10 years.

The National Standards for Enforcement Agents published in 2002 by the then Lord Chancellor’s Department states,

“Enforcement agents should always produce relevant identification on request, such as a badge or ID card, together with a written authorisation to act on behalf of the creditor.”

The guidance is not a legally binding document and does not replace local agreements, existing agency codes of practice or legislation; rather it sets out what the Ministry, those in the industry and some major users regard as minimum standards.

The Government announced, on 17 March 2009, measures to strengthen regulation of the enforcement industry that will raise standards of professionalism within the industry and give the public greater confidence in it. The regulatory framework will include a mandatory code of conduct that will address the means by which enforcement agents identify themselves on the doorstep.

A forthcoming consultation paper will set out the Government’s intentions for a package of measures which will address concerns that have been raised about the behaviour of bailiffs and proposals for the regulation of the bailiff industry. The intention is to commence this consultation exercise in January 2010 with a view to implementing the changes in April 2012.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many bailiffs were on the online bailiff register on the latest date for which figures are available. (289257)

As at 1 October 2009, there were 1,679 certificated bailiffs on the HMCS online certificated bailiff register.