We are pleased to announce we have been accredited to the Enforcement Conduct Board scheme that has just been launched.
What is the Enforcement Conduct Board?
The Enforcement Conduct Board is the independent oversight body for the debt enforcement sector in England and Wales.
They have an important mission – to ensure that everyone experiencing enforcement action is treated fairly and protected from poor practice.
The enforcement sector includes enforcement agents (formally known as bailiffs) and the firms in which they operate.
They were set up following The Centre for Social Justice report, ‘Taking Control for Good’ in 2021 and after a collaboration between the civil enforcement industry and leading debt advice charities.
Enforcement action is subject to regulations introduced by the Ministry of Justice in 2014. Until their creation, there had been no independent body responsible for supervising behaviour against these regulations and no independent oversight of the enforcement industry.
The Enforcement Conduct Board are independent of both government and industry and fulfil a need for a balanced and evidence-based oversight organisation which provides meaningful accountability and an independent voice on key issues. They are funded through a voluntary industry levy which enables them to deliver our mission and key functions.
What do the Enforcement Conduct Board do?
The Enforcement Conduct Board provides independent oversight to the debt enforcement sector in England and Wales. They are guided by the principles of independence, ambition, proportionality, collaboration, and transparency.
Their key functions include:
- Raising standards – setting new clear standards of behaviour and supervising performance and conduct in the industry against these standards.
- Improving accountability – holding enforcement firms and agents to account through delivering an accreditation scheme that includes supervisory activities such as audits, reviews of firms’ policies and procedures, compliance and complaints, independent research, and development of an oversight model that will disincentivise non-compliance with ECB standards.
- Complaint handling – setting up their own, independent complaints handling process for those who are concerned about how they have been treated by enforcement firms and have not been able to resolve their complaint with the firm itself.
- Protecting the vulnerable and achieving fairness – ensuring that their new standards and code of practice put fairness at the heart of this sector and address the importance of identifying and responding to vulnerability.
The accreditation scheme will provide creditors with a valuable resource with which to make considered purchasing decisions, as well as providing the public with a tool to verify a firm’s status.
Penham Excel alongside other firms included in the register have agreed to follow the following first-year accreditation criteria:
- Complying with the requirements of current Ministry of Justice National Standards (which were previously advisory)
- Providing the ECB with Quarterly Data Returns
- Providing information to the ECB on request
- Payment of the levy (which funds ECB operation) in a timely fashion
For more information on the Enforcement Conduct Board please visit their website here: https://enforcementconductboard.org