As part of our ongoing commitment to insight and data-led solutions, Bristow & Sutor recently devised two surveys and sent these to local authorities who engage with PCN and Revenues services respectively. The objective was to determine the thoughts and feelings around re-introducing enforcement and if new requirements were being considered to reflect the current situation. We have gained significant insight from the responses acquired and can now share these findings.
Our PCN survey was supplied to predominantly Parking and Enforcement specialists, senior staff and team leaders. Half of the recipients indicated they intend to start registering debts at TEC within the next month; a quarter said they had already done this, and the remaining quarter said they would be doing so within the coming months. No local authority suggested a delay longer than 2-3months.
Our Revenues survey was supplied typically to operations managers, debt recovery supervisors and heads of revenues and benefits departments. 91% of those who responded indicated they had made changes to the way Council Tax can be paid at this time, such as providing options to spread or defer payments. Interestingly, only 19% of those surveyed felt that collection rates achieved had significantly reduced this year, despite the lockdown restrictions. 71% saw the reduction as having only a moderate impact on what they would have hoped to achieve.
When restrictions are lifted to enable enforcement visits, Bristow & Sutor will be following CIVEA protocol. We outlined this in both surveys along with our expectation that prior to recommencing any visits, we will implement a pre-visit letter as well as a vulnerability identification phase. We clarified this would involve issuing a re-connection letter 30 days prior to any enforcement visits. With this in mind, we asked each council if they expected to sanction a resumption of enforcement activity on existing cases already on file. In both surveys, at least 87% either wanted to return to visits immediately or were considering doing so in the near future.
What we have learned from these surveys is that the majority of local authorities recognise the need to re-engage with enforcement activity quickly and efficiently. The overwhelming majority are willing to begin facilitating this process now if they have not done so already. These statistics also reflect our own recent figures regarding impact, with Bristow & Sutor successfully collecting over £6million for clients since the lockdown began and no complaints received in that time. Nearly all of our clients have changed how they do things in some way, meaning we have had to remain agile and willing to adapt to bespoke methods; but the success of being flexible whilst maintaining our own sensitive business as usual approach, remains evident for all to see. We already have a significant number of clients that are instructing us to start preparing for making visits to their debtors, work through their backlogs and maximise much-needed revenue.
Bristow & Sutor will be hosting two webinars this month on the return to enforcement. Our ‘Leading the Way’ sessions are set to be held on Tuesday 14th July at 2pm and Thursday 16th July at 11am. There will be a Q&A session at the end of both webinars and those attending will have the option to send questions in advance or during the event (personally or anonymously).
For further information, and to register to attend, please click here.
Bristow & Sutor continues to support clients and customers whilst remaining committed to its ethos of Cool, Calm and Collected.