The Enforcement Conduct Board, the new independent regulator for the enforcement industry (bailiffs) across England and Wales due to launch in autumn 2022, is appointing four non-executive directors effective from 1 July.
The new appointees are; Alan Cavill, Ged Curran, Althea Efunshile, CBE and Jenny Watson, CBE. They will join Catherine Brown, the inaugural Chair of the Enforcement Conduct Board, whose role was announced in March. The purpose of the Enforcement Conduct Board is to ensure that all those who are subject to enforcement action are fairly treated.
The four new Board members were selected following an open recruitment process:
- Alan Cavill is Director of Communications and Regeneration at Blackpool Council, supporting a town that has 8 of the ten most deprived neighbourhoods in England and is at the forefront of the Government’s levelling-up agenda.
- Ged Curran was Chief Executive at the London Borough of Merton for twenty-one years with direct experience of the complexities involved in enforcing debt recovery including the establishment of an in-house enforcement agent team. He is also a non-executive director on Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Integrated Care Board.
- Althea Efunshile, CBE, is Chair of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, and Chair of Ballet Black. Althea previously served as Executive Director, Education and Culture, at the London Borough of Lewisham and has worked at the Department for Education and Skills.
- Jenny Watson, CBE, is Chair of the House of St Barnabas and GAMSTOP and is a trustee of the Norfolk Community Foundation. Jenny is also a former Chair of the Fawcett Society, the UK Electoral Commission, and the Equal Opportunities Commission (before the creation of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights), and Vice-Chair of the Money Advice Trust.
Commenting on the appointment of the new Board members, Catherine Brown, Chair of the Enforcement Conduct Board, said: “I am delighted to welcome Alan, Ged, Althea, and Jenny to their new positions. Their extensive experience across a range of sectors relevant to the Enforcement Conduct Board’s work will be invaluable as we develop our forward plans and prepare to launch later in the year. Until now, there has been no independent regulatory oversight of the enforcement industry and although minimum standards, published by the Ministry of Justice, expect enforcement agents to treat those in debt fairly, these are not legally binding.
"The FCA has identified that more than a quarter (27%) of the population having low financial resilience, a figure set to increase as the cost-of-living crisis unfolds in the months ahead.1 Set against this, the National Audit Office reports that the likely combined cost and non-tax income pressures following the pandemic may be as high as £9.7bn, increasing the importance of local authorities being able to collect debt effectively.2 The future role for the Enforcement Conduct Board is a vital one."
Commenting on his new role Ged Curran said: "I am pleased the enforcement industry is committed to regulation. Through my own experience in local government, including setting up an in-house enforcement agent team in Merton, I know that there are real improvements that can be made in this industry. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Enforcement Conduct Board to shape our future priorities as we head to our launch in the autumn."
Funded by a voluntary industry levy, the Enforcement Conduct Board will be wholly independent and committed to working openly and transparently to secure widespread confidence in its ability to serve the public interest. Both the enforcement industry and debt advice charities have welcomed the establishment of the Enforcement Conduct Board and agree that the new regulatory body ought to be given statutory powers. The Government has committed to review the emerging arrangements by 2024.
Responding to the appointments to the Enforcement Conduct Board, Russell Hamblin-Boone, chief executive of the Civil Enforcement Association, said: "This is the next exciting stage in creating independent, oversight of our sector, which demonstrates that there is a momentum to the industry reforms we have put in place over the last four years. The board members have a mix of skills and experience that will enable them to work with CIVEA as we navigate the incredibly challenging task of assisting local authorities and central government with revenue collection while protecting people hit hard by the cost of living crisis."