Judge and Priestley recently hosted a seminar at the Law Society in London, for local authority employees involved in Adult Social Care (ASC), to review the challenges for debt recovery in this complex area post the Care Act of 2014. The fact that our 55 seat venue was booked out within two days of announcing the seminar is testament to the currency of the issues raised for those who work in this challenging area.
On the day we were host to 53 ASC professionals representing 24 local authorities from across London and the South East and the animated discussions between the presenters and the audience and within the audience, as the morning progressed, highlighted the complexity faced daily by those working in this field of local authority service provision.
The morning started off with a brief presentation from Mark Oakley a senior litigation partner at Judge & Priestley reviewing the new Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims, which came into force on the 1st October. Mark’s key message was to work positively with the protocol despite the additional time and effort involved, since the requirement to comply falls equally on both parties. The ability therefore to evidence full compliance would put a creditor in a strong position should the matter proceed all the way to a court hearing.
Rachel Addai, Partner and Head of J&P Credit Solutions took the podium next to discuss some of the key challenges to ASC debt recovery since the Care Act 2014 came into force and appropriate best practice to help surmount them. Key topic areas Rachel covered included:
- The guiding principles underlying debt recovery activities contained within the Act
- Social work and debt recovery teams working collaboratively
- A comprehensive approach to exhaust all avenues at each stage of activity
- Deferred payment agreements
- Dealing with the loss of HASSASSA Charges
- Releasing secured debt – Is it time to enforce?
- Dealing with lack of capacity and debt recovery.
After a short coffee break our guest speaker, barrister Alison Meacher from Hardwicke, presented on the complex topic of limitation periods as applicable to this area of debt recovery. Alison gave her views on the contentious issue as to whether a 3 or 6-year limitation period applies to ASC debts pre or post 1st April 2015 and some interesting views and experiences were offered from the audience. She then went onto review several other scenarios and issues and their implications to limitations and the timing out of claims.
The last session of the seminar saw Rachel Addai take centre stage again to talk about another difficult area of ASC debt recovery namely Deceased Debtor Recoveries. By its very nature this is always going to be a sensitive area for debt recovery and especially so for Local Authority ASC teams, but as Rachel rightly pointed out that does not mean that the Local Authority teams do not have a duty to investigate and undertake debt recovery steps where it is appropriate to do so. Rachel has been working for several years now with a number of London Boroughs in this niche area of work and using her accrued expertise has created a Deceased Debtor Recovery Service that is available for any local authority to subscribe to. Rachel outlined her experiences and activities that have delivered significant recoveries to her current clients and which have been incorporated into the Deceased Debtor service. Almost everyone in the audience had some experience of grappling (often not very successfully) with Deceased Debtor cases and the topic raised much interest and debate at the end of the session.
So what did the attendees think of the event? Here are just a few of the great comments we received in feedback on the event…
“Probably the most informative seminar I have been to all year - 100% useful!!”
“Great presentation. Really useful. We are also interested in Deceased Debtor Recovery Service”.
“Very informative seminar, thank you”.
If you would like to find out more about J&P Credit Solutions unique and successful approaches to Adult Social Care debt recovery or would be interested in finding out more about the Deceased Debtor Recovery Service feel free to call Rachel Addai on 020 8290 7356 or see our deceased debtor brochure.
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