There is a fairly big gap in the relationship between The Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) and bailiffs. Whilst they don’t work against each other they do struggle to communicate. JBW Group has started a programme of talks specifically written for CAB to help them understand the purpose and work of bailiffs. Christine Eva, Legal and Compliance Manager told us about the programme:
How did this start?
It evolved as a result of handling a complaint which built a genuine rapport with a particular branch of the CAB. Thereafter, they kept in touch with requests for information etc. I was then invited to give a talk and at that point I wrote the presentation. Since then I have been invited to do several more. I have also attended at a branch to trouble-shoot where CAB caseworkers, the debtor and I have sat around the table and I have explained procedures and discussed the issues causing concern. This was very successful and we soon resolved the situation.
What does the talk involve?
The presentation takes them through the rules and regulations of what a bailiff is and isn’t allowed to do. It explains the Enforcement Process from beginning to end. The idea is to lift the profile of the Bailiffs and explain why they are necessary. One of the key objectives is to help CAB identify the vulnerable individuals who really have no ability to pay and separate from those who are trying to avoid payment.
What does the CAB think about this?
For the CAB, one of the most important issues they have with customers is that they have no real understanding of the charges, how and when they are applied and at what particular stage. They have found JBW’s transparency refreshing and really useful to have an opportunity to discuss various points with a bailiff company face to face.
How does it help debtors?
Many debtors are vulnerable people and actually unable to pay their debts. Now that CAB is more knowledgeable on the process they are able to offer a better service to their customers ideally sorting out a situation before a bailiff needs to get involved. Bailiffs are trained to spot the difference between those who can’t pay and those who won’t, the CAB needs to be able to identify this too.
Christine comments; “This has proved to be an invaluable communication exercise for all parties concerned so that everyone has a greater understanding of the system. So together, we are able to offer a better service.”