Covid-19 post-lockdown plan - a flexible and sympathetic approach to enforcement
By David Asker on
The Sheriffs Office fully supports and will be adhering to the post-lockdown plan issued by the High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA) on 28th May 2020.
New streamlined procedures that make it easier for landlords to use a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) to evict residential tenants came into force on 23rd August 2020.
Read the full details here
The plan covers the working practices and behaviours that The Sheriffs Office will be following during the phased lifting of the lockdown period. It is based on current conditions and will be updated as changes are made to Government guidelines. You can view the full plan here, the highlights of which are as follows:
All our enforcement agents will be trained on the use of protective equipment, hygiene supplies, social distancing, supporting the vulnerable and recognising mental health issues, as well as the details of this plan.
Data collection and recording
We will collect and record details of customer vulnerabilities, in line with data protection requirements and develop support plans that reflect best practice on dealing with vulnerabilities as it impacts on households of COVID-19.
Where enforcement activity began pre-lockdown, we will attempt to make contact in advance of any further residential enforcement visits to identify any vulnerabilities or changes in circumstances.
Notices of Enforcement
We continue to issue Notices of Enforcement throughout all phases of lockdown and will take debtors who state that they are vulnerable through our vulnerability process before moving to the next stage of enforcement.
We will at all times observe appropriate social distancing measures and supply our enforcement agents with appropriate protective equipment to use during any visits, in accordance with Government guidance.
Enforcement visits will only take place at residential addresses once they are permitted under the Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020.
We will not enter premises or take control of goods where we are notified that any individual living at that address has Coronavirus or is isolating. Where appropriate, we will refer vulnerable people or those severely impacted financially by the pandemic, of job or receiving Statutory Sick Pay, will be referred to debt advice agencies for additional support.
Where payment is not made in full, we will enter controlled goods agreements and/or make arrangements to pay at Enforcement Stage 1 to reduce the burden of increased fees.
Enforcement visits will continue to be made to commercial premises unless Government guidance instructs otherwise. Where payment is not made in full, we will enter controlled goods agreements and/or make arrangements to pay at Enforcement Stage 1 to reduce the burden of increased fees.
Where neither payment nor an arrangement is made, we will proceed to taking control of goods.
View the full plan
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance