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Burnley Council bailiff services under review

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Council bailiffs could soon be a thing of the past.

Burnley Council is looking at using private contractors from April – a move which could save the authority £40,000 a year.

A report to the council’s Executive, which meets on Tuesday, sets out changes to the law around how the bailiff system must now operate and options for how the council will collect debts in future.

Burnley is the only authority in Lancashire to still use a mixture of in-house and private bailiffs to enforce a range of debts. All other councils use private contractors alone to carry out bailiff work.

The report by Caroline Lee, head of revenues and benefits, recommends councillors note the legislation changes and approve the option to use private enforcement agents to collect council tax and business rate debts.

Coun. Mark Townsend, Executive member for resources and performance management, said: “The changes in national legislation means we’ve had to review our bailiff service. Specialist debt recovery companies have more resources and are able to provide a service that better meets the requirements of the new rules.

“We will work with our new partners to make sure they operate in a way that’s acceptable to the council so that debts are collected but people are treated fairly, professionally and appropriately.

“I accept that people are finding finances tough in these difficult times but the council is also under a duty to those that do pay their bills to recover money owed from those that don’t.”

 

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