The carrying out of fair practices to achieve the right resolution has always been key to our core company beliefs. This has never been more apt than for the last 18 months since changes to the way enforcement agents (also known as bailiffs) came into effect due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In our previous statement in August 2020, we outlined the measures we have taken and put in place to protect vulnerable people, including the additional, mandatory CIVEA-approved training of enforcement personnel.
In updated COVID-19 secure guidance for enforcement agents in England published yesterday, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) have added further detail to the guidance which includes:
- Preventing transmission
- Enforcement at residential properties
- Enforcement at commercial premises
- Hygiene and use of protective equipment
- NHS Test and Trace
All Equivo enforcement agents have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) including fluid repellent surgical face masks, disposable gloves and hand sanitiser and will carry out risk assessments on a case-by-case basis.
During enforcement visits at commercial premises, agents will adhere to the measures outlined by a specific business. For residential enforcement visits, agents are aware to establish if any customers are symptomatic or self-isolating and will take the recommended course of action if so.
Likewise, if enforcement agents develop symptoms, are asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or have had close, recent contact from someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 they must stay at home and self-isolate for the recommended period of time.
Equivo enforcement agents will follow the guidance set out in the National Standards for Taking Control of Goods and ensure they act in accordance with all relevant legislation when working with vulnerable individuals. When considering if an individual should be deemed vulnerable for the purpose of the Taking Control of Goods legislation, enforcement agents will also take into consideration the impact of COVID-19; including if individual is or has been symptomatic or self-isolating. Enforcement agents will also be aware that some individuals may have a greater clinical vulnerability to severe illness from COVID-19 and take measures to reduce risk accordingly. Where necessary, Equivo will signpost individuals to free debt advice services and organisations to provide them with an adequate opportunity to gain assistance and advice.
Equivo is dedicated to providing the very best service in order to achieve better outcomes for all. We pride ourselves on fair practices and going beyond minimum industry standards. It is with this approach that we are committed to following the COVID-19 guidance outlined by the MoJ to ensure safety is the number one priority for all parties.