Local Authority Forum Summer 2018

Welcome to the latest edition of our briefing for Scottish Local Authorities.

Click here to download a digital pdf

This edition focuses on the Local Authority Forum held in May 2018.

We were delighted that Alan Munro, Partner at TLT LLP, Emma Shields, Business Services Manager, Renfrewshire Council and Pauline Allan, Debt Advice Co-ordinator, Citizens Advice Scotland could join us on the day.

Each of our guest speakers provided a range of insights and informative talks which the Local Authority delegates discussed during the workshop discussion session.

Click on the link above to download a pdf to read on your desktop, tablet or mobile

Local Authority Forum Winter 2017-18

Welcome to the latest edition of our briefing for Scottish Local Authorities.

Click here to download a digital pdf

This edition focuses on the Local Authority Forum held in November 2017.

We were delighted that Mark Ranson and Steven Wright from Armstrong Watson, Chartered Accountants, Business and Financial Advisers; David McKenzie, Co-founder of Occutrace and Cheryl Hynd from the City of Edinburgh Council could join us on the day.

Each of the guest speakers provided a range of insights and informative talks which the Local Authority delegates discussed during the workshop discussion session.

Issues covered during the sessions and featured in this edition included

Click on the links above to download a pdf to read on your desktop, tablet or mobile

Walker Love Local Authority Forum

Walker Love’s Local Authority Forum provides Local Authority debt collection and recovery teams an opportunity to hear from keynote speakers on legal, regulatory, policy and procedural developments that will, or could, have an impact on their debt collection and recovery strategies and operations.

The Forum also provides delegates an opportunity to get together to share, discuss and develop solutions to common issues, problems and challenges faced in the collection and recovery of monies rightfully owed to Scottish Local Authorities.

With insights provided by Walker Love partners, professional advisers, senior civil servants and money advice experts, as well featuring regular case studies and examples of best practice from debt collection managers from Local Authorities and commercial debt recovery organisations, the Forum takes place twice per year.

Click on the title links below to read past editions of our Local Authority Briefings, which provides delegates with a summary of the key issues, presentations and output from the discussion workshops at each Forum.

LA Briefing Winter 14-15 LA Briefing Winter 14-15 LA Briefing Summer 2014 LA Briefing Summer 2013

Walker Love joins DAS Payments Distribution Panel

Walker Love Payments Distributors joined the DAS Payment Distributions Panel in July 2015. Charles Mitchell speaks about their experiences so far. This article first appeared in Winter edition 2015-16 of DAS Digest published by the Accountant in Bankruptcy.

Who are Walker Love Payments Distributors?

The team consists of two people, myself and Gillian Johnstone. I manage the team and Gillian is dealing with the day-to-day support functions. We are backed by the Walker Love Group, which is a firm of messenger-at-arms and sheriff officers with offices throughout Scotland.

I’m an accountant for the group and alongside the finance director, I oversee a finance team of eight staff. As we only have a small portion of the payments distributor work, I continue to work both roles, having been with the Walker Love group for 10 years. Charles_Gillian_Walker_Love_2015

Gillian is the credit controller for the organisation. She continues in this role parallel to the day-to-day administration of the payments distributor cases and has been with the Walker Love group for five years.

How are you finding being a member of the DAS payments distribution panel?

This is our first venture into the market and it has been exciting to be doing something very different to what we were doing previously. It was good to have been a part of a panel distributors members’ meeting early on, where past and present members were in attendance so we could ask questions of others and gain advice.

The caseloads we receive are what we were expecting. Basically, everything that was put down on paper to us at the start has happened. There haven’t been any shocks so far and we’ve had a mixed bag of small and large cases. I would say the hardest aspect being the new kids is learning which process works best to initiate contact, and ultimately receive payment.

We’re constantly learning new things, especially the need to be more proactive in this type of work. Joining the panel is a very positive step for the business and it also gives myself and Gillian the opportunity to gain new skills.

Describe your process as a payments distributor.

Every morning we check for any new cases allocated to us and load these onto the system. We send an initial letter to the customer and follow these up with a phone call. It is very important that the debtor provides a contact telephone number and/or email address in DASH so that we can contact them as soon as possible. We set up payments if all the relevant details have been given and then the process runs itself, with payments coming in and being paid out every month.

If we don’t have all the payment details, we need to contact the money advisers to ask them to get in touch with their client. We are learning the best timescales and ways to do this and are tweaking the process all the time. We’ve found the earlier we contact creditors, the better to get account details set up in time for payments.

Most money advisers are helpful and customers are a split between keen to get their plan paid and those who aren’t as enthusiastic and take a bit more time and coaxing to engage with us.

How do you deal with those who are reluctant to engage and not making payments?

We have an agreed process in place: the initial letter is sent to the customer, a follow up phone call is made to introduce ourselves and hopefully this resolves the issue. If no contact is made within the first 10 days, we then get in contact with the money adviser assigned to the customer and this seems to have a positive impact.

However, if this is not successful, then there isn’t much more we can do unfortunately and the onus is back on the debtor. We have yet to have a case revoked due to non-payment.

How are you finding using the DASH system and the DAS process?

We’ve found DASH very user-friendly and it didn’t take long to learn at once we learned not to double click, or you get kicked out! Our dealings with AiB and the DAS team have been great and they are always available to contact and willing to help with any questions we have. We hope to build on our role as a DAS payments distributor in the future as we have sought to get into this line of work for some time to diversify the work we do. DAS is a great initiative and we are fully behind the scheme.

Do you have any hints, tips or advice for others on the panel?

As the new kids, it would be extremely misguided – even arrogant – to hand out advice at this early stage, but I would say to anyone in our position – find yourself a Gillian Johnstone as she’s incredibly organised and keeps us moving along nicely!

Scheduled trips to the islands

The Islands of the Firth of Clyde and  Inner Hebridean Islands of Argyll are visited as client requirements demand, with the larger populated islands of Islay and Mull visited approximately every 8 weeks, as demands dictate.

Our Northern Division operational team visit Orkney, Shetland & the Western Isles approximately every 4 weeks.

Where urgent client instructions require to be attended to out-with scheduled visits, or on any of the remote islands not serviced by public transport, we will be happy to discuss your needs and provide you with suggestions and a quotation for the most economical and efficient method of attending to your instructions.

We would respectfully suggest, that in relation urgent matters or  where service is required on one of the more remote, or sparsely populated islands, clients discuss their case instructions with us before obtaining court dates in order to avoid unnecessary complications and minimise expenses.

For details of the dates for our proposed visits or to discuss your needs, please contact us at diligence.centre@walkerlove.com or  by telephone 0141 949 7300

Find and collecting from ex-UK debtors

When a debtor leaves the country it is not necessarily the end of the debt collection trail.

Many credit managers within the public sector are now reviewing their files for outstanding council tax and national non domestic rates arrears, and even other sundry debts, where the debtor has fled to another European country. Until very recently, it was common practice to write-off such debts as uncollectable.

However, things are changing and public bodies are beginning to instruct members of the Connexx network to trace debtors and collect all outstanding balances. This is one area where the debtor believes the old saying – out of sight, out of mind. It is an incorrect assumption, as the debt can now follow them all over Europe.

If you have debts which have been written off due to debtors moving to another country with the European Union, get in touch with us and we will look at the various options open to you and how we can use local knowledge and intelligence based tracing systems in a range of countries including: Belgium/Luxembourg, Czech Republic, England & Wales, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia, Poland, Portugal and The Netherlands, to help you trace and collect your outstanding debt.

Connexx’s guiding principle is to facilitate efficient cross-border collections, by building a network of respected and experienced debt recovery experts from the judicial officer and legal sectors.

Update: Protected Trust Deed Regulations

New protected trust deed regulations came into force on 28 November 2013. The provisions included:

Individuals’ surplus income will have to be assessed using one tool – the common financial statement as this will provide more transparency in assessing whether a PTD is the best solution.  A minimum of 48 monthly payments will be required.

The minimum debt level for entry to a PTD will be £5000

Trustees will be able to charge a fixed fee augmented by a % of the funds ingathered

The new regulations will also provide greater transparency and control for creditors. Trustees will have to provide creditors with an annual update and provide an indication of the likely dividend during each of the four years of the deed.

For further information, please contact William Dolier, Partner.


Money Advice Scotland Annual Conference & Exhibition – 3rd & 4th June 2013

Walker Love was delighted to continue to support the 2013 MAS Annual Conference, the event always provides an excellent opportunity to engage with other stakeholders and like minded people.

Our long established relationship with the advice sector has developed beyond all expectation over the last year, having embarked upon engaging MAS skills and expertise to further assist and develop our in-house hardship, vulnerability and customer care training programmes.

The specialist support we received has proved invaluable; and in particular in working towards the Scottish Government current objectives to roll out the common financial tool and financial health check regulations.

This has been an exciting development for Walker Love and we are fully committed to further developing our relationship and supporting Money Advice Scotland going forward.


Argyll & Oban Faculty of Solicitors CPD: Civil Enforcement In Scotland

Walker Love were delighted to support the local Argyll and Oban Faculty CPD event: Civil Enforcement In Scotland, which took place on Tuesday 23rd April 2013.

Delivering a comprehensive “civil enforcement” seminar covering all aspects of Sheriff Officer enforcement in Scotland, the event offered an ideal opportunity for local practitioners to engage and discuss the operational, technical and practical challenges of civil enforcement in Scotland with Walker Love Sheriff Officers.

Epilepsy Scotland: WAGS Charity Dinner 25th April

Over 40,000 people are living with epilepsy in Scotland.  The charity Epilepsy Scotland works continuously to raise awareness of the condition. Influencing attitudes helps to fight discrimination and the social stigma associated with epilepsy; and to achieve this goal they involve people with epilepsy.

The charity’s main objective is to raise awareness, inform public opinion, educate the media and influence government policies.

For the second year running Walker Love were pleased to support this worthwhile charity.  The annual WAGS dinner, this year held at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow on 25th April, is always an excellent opportunity for business professionals, colleagues and friends to get together and raise funds for this very worthwhile charity Epilepsy Scotland.