Employed vs self-employed enforcement agents
There are several considerations when looking at the enforcement agents who might be best to represent you or your clients when it comes to judgment enforcement. This article will look at three of them in detail.
Debtor data should always be handled confidentially in a secure manner. If you are using an enforcement agency that subcontracts work out it is important to ensure they have the correct procedures in place for GDPR. Every debtor’s data and any case information should be dealt with carefully and securely with only those needing access becoming data processors.
In an enforcement agency that fully employs all its agents the enforcement agency will be a data processor, with the organisation or business giving the instruction the controller, in this scenario there will be a data processing agreement in place outlining the legalities and remit of the data processing and any breaches or issues will be fed back to the named data controller as per the agreement in place.
Using an enforcement agency that subcontracts work to enforcement agents works in a slightly different way, the business or organisation will have a data processing agreement with the agency. This agreement may not cover anyone who is not fully employed within the enforcement agency. Each self-employed agent will need to have an agreement in place with all the various enforcement companies he or she takes cases from and should also be registered with the Information Commissioners Office.
A recent judgment handed down in the case of Kafagi v JBW Group Ltd ruled that an enforcement agency using self-employed agents cannot be held vicarious liability. The ruling being that the enforcement agent, because they are carrying out work that comes under a regulatory regime, the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013, can carry out the work in whatever way they see fit. This may potentially leave the enforcement agency without blame should things go wrong, but with the creditor potentially facing reputational damage.
In the digital age, everyone has a smartphone and images and videos can go viral quickly. If an agent carrying out your judgment makes mistakes or errors, or in fact acts wrongfully in any way then this reflects badly on your organisation. In the case of an employed agent, their employer will take responsibility and deal with this appropriately through the internal channels such as disciplinary proceedings. In the case of a self-employed agent no such chain of command exists, and this could be potentially damaging to the reputation of your business.
One solution to this problem is to ensure the enforcement agency you contract your cases out to employs all their own enforcement agents. We believe this not only gives you peace of mind but also gives your debtors the security of knowing who is knocking on the door and there being robust policies and procedures to deal with any problems or complaints.