As the UK’s largest judicial services Group, we help over 250 local authorities in the UK to improve customer service, reduce costs and raise collection rates.
Every local authority is different. After 75 years’ experience of working with District and City Councils, Metropolitan and Unitary Authorities, London Boroughs and Consortia we have gained a unique perspective of the most effective policies and techniques to maximise local tax recovery.
What can we do?
As our client you can expect to receive the most professional full service offering available anywhere in the UK, active in every area of debt recovery from the earliest stages of compliance and debt repair to authorised High Court Enforcement, all under one roof.
Acting on your behalf to collect unpaid council tax, housing benefit overpayments and sundry debts, no other provider has made the level of investment in the scale, quality, range and accuracy of the services which we can provide.
With our uniquely integrated approach and substantial investment in nationwide service excellence we have proven that we can significantly raise collection rates and reduce costs by being able to accurately profile and segment cases and deploy the right services and skills in each situation according to the type of debt or customer.
How can we help you?
We will be delighted to work with you to design an approach that precisely meets your requirements and produces the best results. Our nationwide services cover the complete range of collections and enforcement activities. Here are the most common types of service we provide:
Amicable recovery (pre-enforcement)
We can save you money and time by conducting a significant proportion of recoveries before the enforcement process begins.
We send out the 14-day Liability Order letter on your behalf to clearly explain the consequences of non-payment and provide the opportunity to arrange payment, query liability or inform us of any vulnerability issues. We also make background checks to assist contact centre enquiries and negotiations, and direct follow-up visits to encourage non-responding customers to re-engage. Our respectful, courteous and skilled approach results in higher collections, lower complaints and provides the earliest opportunity to identify vulnerable customers – guiding them to appropriate help and support through our own Welfare Support Unit.
Our certificated enforcement agents visit the customer to enforce a Liability Order.
Where contact has been established and the customer refuses to make payment, the case is then passed to a certificated enforcement agent who will visit the customer to enforce a Liability Order. All our professional agents receive the highest standard of City & Guilds accredited training to make sure they are properly equipped to read people, situations and behaviour, identify genuinely vulnerable cases and understand compliance. They apply standard fees, combine multiple debts into single visits and act respectfully to assist customers in arranging affordable payment plans. By attending at different dates and times they optimise the chances of making contact and are culturally sensitive to observe community diversity, religious holidays and festivals. They can even respond to translation requirements.
Where no contact has been made, escalate the case to our Customer Care Centre for post-enforcement warrant recovery.
Using advanced tracing techniques, our highly skilled customer contact team pursues cases where we have traced a telephone number with a view to securing a payment arrangement. Our intelligence-led process can also include further tracing, letters and telephone recovery actions as well as involving doorstep collectors, who can visit the property, verify details and are highly skilled at negotiating payment.
Empty property inspections
Our nationwide field force can provide rapid empty property inspections on your behalf.
They will complete a report with recorded observations and issue a letter if required.
Tracing & investigation
Establishing the whereabouts of more of the individuals who owe debt.
We use the latest search tools and a selection of databases, combined with the expertise of our specialist telephone trackers and field agents to establish the whereabouts of more of the individuals who owe debt. With a 70% success rate in obtaining positive intelligence to enable case progression, our results prove the benefit of our three-stage approach.
Single Person Discount Review
Accurately authenticate your records without outsourcing the whole process.
Using our market-leading tracing and investigation service, we can authenticate your Single Person Discount cases cost effectively, without requiring you to outsource the entire process to a third party. Our service can be tailored to include electronic verification, desktop tracing, letter and in-person residency inspections if required.
All the information you need to decide whether the customer has the ability to pay.
Before bringing a customer to court, our pre-litigation report will provide you with all of the information you need to decide whether the customer has the ability to pay. This includes precise information about the financial status and the value of any assets owned by the customer and includes background checks of employment status, directorships and judgments with details of the likely costs of various types of action so you can make a fully informed choice.
Arranging Charging Orders on your behalf.
In association with our partner solicitors, we will agree the best process with you and carry out preliminary enquires including an HM Land Registry search to establish property ownership. We then apply for the interim Charging Order and register the charge. If requested we will progress the recovery action through the courts to an order for sale, considering all recovery options and whether the case would be commercially viable and likely to succeed.
Arranging bankruptcy and insolvency actions on your behalf.
If a debt is at least £750 and all other forms of recovery have been exhausted, then a bankruptcy action may be taken against the person (not their property) which can include arrears from previous addresses.
Preliminary checks and reasons for non-payment will be thoroughly investigated prior to initial proceedings, according to methods agreed between our partner solicitors and the council. We will then serve the statutory demand on the customer, and providing the debt is still over £750 after 21 days, a bankruptcy petition will be prepared by our solicitors.
The application will be made through the Court, we will serve the bankruptcy documents, make appropriate checks and a petition hearing will be set. If the customer is made bankrupt, a referral will then be made to an Insolvency Practitioner.
The process for liquidation is similar and can be discussed with you in detail.
Professional, courteous and sensitive execution of bail, no bail and committal warrants for unpaid council tax and business rates.
The UK’s largest dedicated, experienced private supplier of arrest enforcement service, receiving over 80% of all warrants issued to the private sector
Equipped with a new fleet of cellular arrest vehicles complete with additional security features, our dedicated Arrest team of over 40 arrest officers is able to offer a bespoke approach to executing bail, no bail and committal warrants and liability orders for unpaid council tax and business rates. Our arrest officers receive bespoke City & Guilds accredited training, refreshed annually to ensure arrests are carried out as professionally, courteously and as sensitively as possible.
Helping councils provide access to independent advice and support.
We provide regular debt surgeries in conjunction with councils and revenues teams. Held at a neutral location, we encourage presence from the Citizens Advice Bureau and other groups and offer support from our debt advice partner, StepChange (formerly the Consumer Credit Counselling Service).
Integrated compliance and enforcement produces real results.
Marston does not use a standard debt collection approach to collecting Sundry Debts. Instead we are able to drive a beneficial performance level through our unique ability to profile and segment cases and apply this insight to our integrated process. We determine at the earliest possible stage which cases are most likely to be recovered and identify the customer’s propensity to pay. We then use an advanced case management system that drives letter and telephone activity and enables us to tailor workflows to precisely meet your requirements. We also send selected cases through the High Court Writ process which is highly effective.
What happens next?
The process is simple. Tell us about your recoveries and resourcing challenges and, if possible, the recovery rates you are achieving with your current collections and enforcement activities, even if other providers are being successful. We will be happy to advise you on the most appropriate methods you can add to your approach and any alternative solutions we can provide that will improve your results.