Ombudsman responds to CIVEA announcement

Responding to CIVEA, the Civil Enforcement Association's, announcement it will no longer review complaints on behalf of its members, Michael King Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said:

“We already provide independent redress for complaints about the recovery of local taxation and parking debts by enforcement agents. Where a firm is acting on behalf of a local authority, their actions fall within our jurisdiction.

“Clear routes of redress are all the more important for people who want to raise concerns about debt issues they are facing, so we strongly believe complaints processes should be accessible, easy to understand and simple to use.

“We expect local authorities to ensure they have a clear process for dealing with complaints when they contract services out to enforcement firms, as we would with any commissioned service. It’s important this system is not protracted, does not require people to go through multiple complaints processes and also ensures there is appropriate signposting - including to our service - if a person remains dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint.

“We support any efforts to streamline the current process to ensure complaints are responded to in a timely manner, so we welcome CIVEA’s intention to stop adjudicating complaints on behalf of its members.”

Article date: 31 May 2019