If the Council was unaware of the fact that the debtor was in receipt of one of these benefits and the information has come to light because of the involvement of a bailiff then any costs or fees incurred will be required to be paid by the debtor. These can be waived in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of a Senior Officer.
If the Council was aware of the fact that the debtor was in receipt of Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based) and the debt was passed to a bailiff in error then the authority will pay any costs and fees incurred. This means that the information about the debtor being in receipt of Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based) was either: -
available in the form of a LIVE Council Tax benefit claim on the IBS system or
The debtor had informed the Local Taxation section that they were receiving Income Support and had made a claim for Council Tax Benefit, which was waiting to be processed.
The Council/Bailiff firm will ensure that all bailiffs, employees, contractors and agents have an appropriate knowledge and understanding of all relevant legislation, case law and powers, and at all times act in accordance with them.
2. The bailiff firm must at all times carry professional indemnity insurance, ensuring the fullest indemnity against legal proceedings resulting in compensation awards due to illegal or irregular distress. Details of such insurance should be made available to the Council on request. The bailiff firm must also maintain a separate client bank account for monies received from debtors, evidence of which must be supplied to the Council on demand.
The bailiff must at all times carry and provide photographic proof of their identity (County Court general certificate issued under Section 7 of the Law of Distress amendments Act 1888) when visiting a property to distrain. The bailiff must at all times make clear to the debtor the purpose of his visit and the fact that he is acting on behalf/as agent of the Council. Visits to be after 8am and before 7pm, no visits on Sundays or Bank holidays.
4. The bailiff must at all times carry the written authorisation of the Council, to be shown on request and must hand to the debtor or leave on the premises the relevant documentation including details of costs incurred and procedure, legislation (Reg. 45) relating to distress & any additional guidance notes. The debtor will be invited/required to sign any walking possession agreement (which lists all goods distrained upon) at the time that the distress is levied, in