Changing perceptions and securing reform

In 2010 the High Court Enforcement Officers Association and the Civil Enforcement Association needed to see the overdue implementation of reforms to the industry’s regulatory framework. The legislative changes needed to achieve this were introduced in 2014.

Context 

For these reforms, promised by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, to be implemented detailed secondary legislation was required. Labour Ministers had failed to secure approval for this before the 2010 General Election, and the new Coalition Government was not keen to implement Labour legislation having also committed to ‘tackling aggressive bailiffs’.

Strategy 

Our strategy saw CIVEA and HCEOA engage with policymakers in Westminster, Whitehall and at local government level to persuade the Government that implementing the TCE Act would represent its best chance of fulfilling its pledge. We also devised a wider campaign to develop a broad coalition in support for reform.

Change 

The long-awaited changes to the TCE Act came into effect on 6 April 2014. Under the new rules, bailiffs are now known as enforcement agents and must follow a clear and transparent three-stage enforcement process with fixed transparent fees – securing better outcomes for both debtors and creditors.

Facts 
  • HCEOA and CIVEA had over 70 meetings with key stakeholders throughout the campaign, including with relevant government and opposition ministers.
  • Commenting on the reforms, former Justice Minister, Helen Grant, claimed: “these laws will help to clean up the industry and ensure bailiffs play by the rules. They will also make sure businesses and public bodies can collect their debts fairly.”