A Vision for the HCEOA | A Broad Church

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

In this blog post, our CEO, Claire Sandbrook, shares the notes of an election speech she gave to the High Court Enforcement Officers Association Meeting in 2017. She was not successful in being re-elected back on to the Board, but the sage advice she offered at that time, and its context nearly 3 years on is just as relevant and important.

She had 3 minutes to get her point of view across – so here is her shopping list of what the HCEOA could and should be achieving..

“6/7 years ago I advocated that the HCEOA should be a broad church of enforcement professionalism – not limited to just the enforcement of High Court Writs. Today I would like to suggest that that strategic aim is more relevant than ever as we continue to evolve. We should win the battle to have all judgments of whatever type enforced by enforcement agents working under our direction and standards – that’s the broad church I am talking about. "

What do we need to do to create a successful and trusted broad church?

The answers to that are:

  1. Make the HCEOA relevant to all types of enforcement agent – and the best way to do that is through education and engagement.

  2. Give all enforcement agents a career structure and education path leading to authorization.

  3. Create a sustainable communications program – junk the political mumbo jumbo and put out HCEOA approved information – leaving individual companies to continue to market themselves.

  4. Work to achieve enforcement standards – I advocated the SIA standards 8/9 years ago and they are still in my opinion the best benchmark for an enforcement business – which could be adapted and set up as a voluntary code by the HCEOA.

  5. Create an advisory board of people outside the profession – such as debtor representatives, trade bodies, and most importantly the judiciary.

  6. Create an independent complaints process

With these foundation stones in place we could strengthen the stature of our profession and standards in place the Association would continue to grow in stature which enables the Association to

  1. Influence key stakeholders in Government at local and national level – and leverage from TV exposure – to change the Jurisdiction Order 1991 so we can enforce any amount and any type of civil court judgment.

  2. Engage with agencies such as the ICO | Local Government Ombudsman | Police and use the standards as ways to engage with them in the aspects of their work and how it connects to enforcement powers and services.

  3. Influence the judiciary at all levels to recognize the value of our members and the case reports who work in their name – create a way of capturing case reports and feeding back to the Senior Master and senior judiciary.

Influencing our own membership to be interested and active in supporting the Association by protecting them from

  • unreasonable complaints

  • having an independent complaints process

  • better involvement in outcomes from cases on fees, regulations, insurable risks .

Giving members and the users and stakeholders (which includes the debtor lobby) better information about our work as HCEOs through

  • Website

  • Social Media

Developing the education program to give people flexibility in their career choice whether they be working in local government or parking services – and to develop this into a revenue which keeps subscription fees lower for members. We should follow models of success for professional associations such as the CICM.

We should have a presence on the Rules Committee, and work with the District Judges Association to influence the development of the Rules relating to enforcement – something which in my view is very piecemeal at the moment.

The board is a constant in a world of changing commercial interests – that board itself can be moving forward – creating opportunities for its members, being a voice for its members and for the public and bringing a positive voice to the enforcement industry – above all others.”

Claire found this file today and re-read it, she shared it with her TEAM and now she shares it on this platform. It makes sense to pursue these values. The only points that are missing from her vision are the need for an independent regulator, and the need for all agents to wear body worn cameras. On the last point she is working on this within the confines of her own company to find the best solution, supported by an entire process for managing the data that comes from wearing a camera.

Overall Claire’s thought process demonstrates a commitment to see High Court enforcement as more than just a commercial service. It is a way to deliver the end result of a judicial process. It should be nurtured and developed by all stakeholders to achieve a fair and balanced enforcement process. To fail to do this is a lost opportunity.


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