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Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
UK News

Christian charities say rogue bailiffs crackdown isn't working

In a new report, Christians Against Poverty and the Children's Society have joined several organisations on Tuesday to warn that people affected by money issues are not always being properly protected from unfair treatment.

They're joining StepChange Debt Charity, Citizens Advice and the Money Advice Trust in also writing to Justice Secretary Liz Truss in calling for fundamental change in the industry.

Mike O'Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said: "Our research shows that the 2014 bailiff reforms are not working.

"The reforms have not delivered the improvements that are needed and they are failing some of the most vulnerable people in our society."

The government made several reforms for bailiffs in 2014 in a bid to improve standards but charities are now calling for the industry to be independently regularly and for a free and clear complaints procedure to exist.

An HM Courts and Tribunals spokeswoman said: "Protecting the rights of the public is our top priority, which is why we've introduced robust rules on what goods an enforcement agent can or cannot take, how and when they can enter premises and what fees they can charge."

The report includes a survey which found nearly a quarter people visited by a bailiff had attempted to arrange repayment via phone but a bailiff insisted on visiting anyway.

The charities concluded bailiffs' fees provide an incentive to visit people at home.

The report claims bailiff use is growing significantly in recent years.

It adds that 57,000 of the 82,000 people with issues related to bailiff action concerned the enforcement of council tax debt.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils, urged people who feel they have been badly treated by a bailiff to contact their local authority.

The Civil Enforcement Association, which represents the private sector bailiff industry, said "we are keen to ensure any continuing concerns are tackled effectively."

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