Hopefully this newsletter finds you all safe and well and coping with lockdown. We’ve got everything crossed for the roadmap of re-openings ahead to be on target.
We are pleased to say we haven’t seen a big drop in customer payments and we continue to make sure that customer engagement is at the forefront of our collections strategy. Our letters reference Covid and our staff are all trained to show forbearance with customers who are experiencing problems. Despite lockdown it’s likely that many people continue to be furloughed which means receiving 80% of their pay however, once this comes to an end then the picture may be very different, so if you are hesitating / delaying sending instructions, acting sooner rather than later could assist with our recoveries for you.
New “Breathing Space” Scheme
This is a Treasury initiative which seeks to assist individuals in debt by providing a pause in civil enforcement. There are two types of breathing space under the scheme, “standard” where the pause automatically ends after 60 days and “mental health crisis” breathing space if the individual is undergoing mental health crisis treatment, which does not have an automatic end date.
This is important new legislation that will effectively put a hold on actions going through the Court irrespective of the stage i.e. Claim Form / Judgment or enforcement.
The scheme is being administered by the Insolvency Service and more information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/breathing-space-to-help-millions-in-debt
Winding up Petitions and Stat Demands
The restriction on these has been extended till 31st March 2021.
County Court Bailiffs and Attachment of Earnings
We have received guidance from the County Court Business Centre regarding bailiff action on Warrants and Attachment of Earnings, as follows:
“In relation to bailiffs and AE work nothing will change, personal service will continue but with the caveat that bailiffs will need to ensure they comply with PHE guidelines for PPE and social distancing. To do this may impact on productivity for service, but we will continue to monitor with the bailiffs.”
High Court Enforcement Agents
Please see the latest update received from our High Court Enforcement Agents below.
“Following the announcement by the Prime Minster regarding the national restrictions in England. We are continuing to operate safely and within the COVID19 safe processes. This includes contactless enforcement visits which has been our operating model in Tier 4 and the last lockdown.
Our Agents will continue to wear full PPE and maintain social distancing. If when the agent attends, the debtor confirms they are shielding due to COVID19 they will leave the premises immediately. If the debtor confirms they are suffering from financial hardship our agents will either set up a manageable arrangement or they will be referred to our Welfare Team for support.
The Public Health of our Country and safety of our Agents is of the paramount importance and we will ensure this is met.
We will review any new guidance and update you accordingly should things change.”
We continue to encourage clients to send new cases as normal. We still anticipate that once everything else reverts to ‘business as usual’, there maybe a further uplift of instructions across the industry which could cause a considerable backlog at the courts. This way we can help to avoid potential lengthy delays.
Significantly, we have also been obtaining many payments in full and payment arrangements over the last few months due to our continued outbound activity of calling, messaging, emailing and lettering efforts.
We would greatly appreciate it if you get time to go through your outstanding instructions on workflow. If you need any help or advice please get in touch with the client services team.
When emailing the office, please use the team email addresses rather than (or as well as) individual ones, just to ensure that your email gets dealt with swiftly if the member of staff you are emailing is not available.
- Legal: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pre Legal: email@example.com
- Client Services: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Finance: email@example.com
- IT: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will endeavour to keep you updated with any significant changes. Please do not hesitate to contact client services with any concerns.