Claire Sandbrook
Our Code of Conduct
Shergroup Enforcement acting as providers of enforcement services abides by the National Standards for Enforcement Officers which were first published by the then Lord Chancellor's Department in 2002 and reissued by the Ministry of Justice in 2012.
The purpose of these standards is to ensure that all enforcement officers build on existing good practice and thereby raise the level of professionalism across the enforcement industry.
Shergroup Enforcement acting through the efforts of its authorised High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) takes a pride in adhering to these standards as exemplars of how enforcement services should be carried out in a responsible and balanced approach between the competing interests of creditor and debtor, or between claimant and defendant.
These standards have been extended to our work in our unofficial capacity when working as Recovery Officers to ensure there is no distinction in the way that we engage with communities, and members of the public or indeed those who instruct us.
The Professionalism and Conduct of A High Court Enforcement Officer
A Shergroup Enforcement Officer, acting on the authority of an authorised HCEO will always produce their ID badge without being asked to do so as it is part of their procedure for introducing themselves to the debtor once they have confirmed they are speaking to the correct person.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers carry an exact copy of the High Court Writ which carries the authority of the High Court. The original document is stored in Shergroup's offices and is not allowed to be sent out with the Officer in case it is lost or damaged. A copy of the sealed Writ can be made available upon request.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers are people who have been delegated to act in the name of the Authorised High Court Enforcement Officer. The Authorised HCEO remains personally liable for all acts carried out by the delegated officer in his or her name.
As such all Officers working within Shergroup Enforcement work to strict procedures to ensure they act within the law at all times, including complying with legislation and observing all health and safety requirements in carrying out the enforcement of the Writ. They maintain strict client confidentiality and comply with Data Protection legislation.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers will, for the purpose of executing any Writ delivered to them, look to gain access to the debtor's goods without using unlawful force.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers will produce an inventory of the goods seized and leave it with the debtor, or at the premises, with any other documents that are required by regulations or statute to be left at the address on the Writ.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers will carry out their duties in a professional, calm and dignified manner. As part of their training and audit requirements they will be dressed smartly and will act with discretion and fairness at all times.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers are trained not to misrepresent their powers, qualifications, capacities, experience or abilities.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers are trained not to discriminate unfairly on any grounds including those of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.
In circumstances where it is required, the Authorised High Court Enforcement Officer will carry out a risk assessment of any enforcement situation where there have been any previous acts of, or threats of, violence by a debtor.
Statutory or Financial Requirements for High Court Enforcement Officers
Shergroup Authorised High Court Enforcement Officers comply with all necessary statutory obligations, for example, the Companies Act, Value Added Tax and Inland Revenue provisions, Data Protection legislation, Health & Safety requirements etc.
Shergroup Enforcement maintains suitable and comprehensive insurance cover for both professional indemnity and other risks including employer's liability and public liability. Insurance requirements are actively re-visited each year to ensure adequate and appropriate arrangements are in place.
Shergroup Enforcement ensures that it has its accounts audited and available on request. An annual audit by independent accountants is undertaken at least once a year.
A separate account for monies due to the creditor is maintained and accurate books and accounts are kept and made available to establish monies owed to the creditor.
Shergroup Enforcement keeps a complete record of all financial transactions in whatever capacity undertaken.
Training and Certification
The Authorised High Court Enforcement Officers working within the Shergroup Enforcement brand ensure that all agents, employees and contractors are provided with appropriate training to ensure that they understand and are able to act, at all times, within the bounds of the relevant legislation. Officers are accompanied on routine training and audit field inspections to ensure that the work carried out is compliant.
In addition, all support functions for Shergroup Enforcement are carried out to ISO9001 standards.
Shergroup Enforcement also has a duty to ensure that all employees, contractors and agents act within the scope of current legislation, i.e. The Companies Act, VAT and Inland Revenue provisions, Data Protection legislation, Health and Safety requirements etc, as well as ensuring that they have an appropriate knowledge and understanding of it and are aware of any statutory obligations and been provided with all relevant training.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers are trained to recognise and avoid potentially hazardous and aggressive situations and to withdraw when in doubt about their own or others' safety.
Complaints Procedure
Shergroup Enforcement Officers and their support teams operate within a strict complaints procedure. All our officers and office staff are trained on the operation of our process so that we can resolve any complaint about our service.
Our complaints procedure is set out in Plain English, and we have a Complaints Officer who is an Authorised High Court Enforcement Officer. That person is:
Information and confidentiality
All notices, correspondence and documentation issued by Shergroup Enforcement and the related brands of “Sherforce” and “Sherbond” are designed to be clear and unambiguous.
On returning any un-executed Writs, the High Court Enforcement Officer will report the outcome to the creditor and provide further appropriate information, where this is requested and paid for by the creditor.
All information obtained during the administration and enforcement of Writs will be treated as confidential.
Shergroup Enforcement will provide clear and prompt information to debtors and where appropriate, creditors.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers will, so far as it is practical, avoid disclosing the purpose of their visit to anyone other than the debtor. Where the debtor is not seen, the relevant documents will be left at the address in a sealed envelope addressed to the debtor.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers will on each and every occasion when a visit is made to a debtor's property which incurs a fee for the debtor, leave a notice detailing the fees charged to date, including the one for that visit, and the fees which will be incurred if further action becomes necessary. If a written request is made an itemised account of fees will be provided.
Shergroup Enforcement will clearly explain and give in writing, the consequences of the seizure of a debtor's goods and ensure that debtors are aware of the additional charges that will be incurred.
Times and Hours
The process of enforcing judgments will not be undertaken on Sundays, on Good Friday or on Christmas Day, unless the court specifically orders otherwise or in situations where legislation permits it.
Generally Shergroup Enforcement will operate between the recommended hours of 6.00am and 9.00pm but this can be extended during trading hours - particularly in relation to public houses, restaurants and night clubs. Shergroup Enforcement will attend outside of these hours to seize any asset which cannot be found during a normal business day when visiting the address on the Writ.
Shergroup Enforcement is respectful of the religion and culture of others at all times. They are aware of the dates for religious festivals and carefully consider the appropriateness of undertaking enforcement on any day of religious or cultural observance or during any major religious or cultural festival.
Shergroup Enforcement will take goods in accordance with the appropriate regulations or statute.
Shergroup Enforcement will ensure that goods are handled with reasonable care so that they do not suffer any damage whilst in Shergroup Enforcement's possession and will have insurance in place for goods in transit so that if damage occurs this is covered by Shergroup Enforcement's insurance policy.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers will not remove anything clearly identifiable as an item belonging to, or for the exclusive use of a child.
A receipt for the goods removed will be given to the debtor or left at the premises.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers will take all reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that the value of the goods seized in satisfaction of the judgment is proportional to the value of the debt and charges owed.
Vulnerable Situations
Shergroup Enforcement Officers recognise that they have a role in ensuring that the vulnerable and socially excluded are protected within the recovery process.
The appropriate use of discretion is core to how a Shergroup Enforcement Officer will approach any given situation and will use his or her experience to handle members of the public with due care and consideration.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers will contact the creditor and report the circumstances in situations where there is potential cause for concern. If necessary, the Shergroup Enforcement Officer will advise the creditor if further action is appropriate.
The exercise of appropriate discretion is needed, not only to protect the debtor, but also our Officer who has been trained to avoid taking action which could lead to accusations of inappropriate behaviour.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers must withdraw from domestic premises if the only person present is, or appears to be, under the age of 18; they will ask when the debtor will be home where if appropriate.
Shergroup Enforcement Officers will withdraw from making enquiries at any address if the only persons present are children who appear to be under the age of 12.
Wherever possible, Shergroup Enforcement Officers will have arrangements in place for rapidly accessing translation services when these are needed, and provide on request information in large print or in Braille for debtors with impaired sight.
Although not exhaustive Shergroup Enforcement recognise the following groups as being potentially vulnerable and will act accordingly:
  • the elderly;
  • people with a disability;
  • the seriously ill;
  • the recently bereaved;
  • single parent families;
  • pregnant women;
  • unemployed people; and
  • those who have obvious difficulty in understanding, speaking or reading English;
  • people who suffer from mental health issues
Creditor's Responsibilities
In order for the enforcement process to work effectively, we encourage judgment creditors to be fully aware of their own responsibilities.
Creditors should notify Shergroup Enforcement of all payments received and other contacts with the debtor.
Creditors have a responsibility to tell the debtor that if payment is not made within a specified period of time, action may be taken to enforce payment.
Creditors should not request the suspension of a Writ or make direct payment arrangements with debtors without appropriate notification and payment of fees due to Shergroup Enforcement.
Creditors should not issue a Writ knowing that the debtor is not at the address, as a means of tracing the debtor at no cost although it is appreciated this is done – but as a result the likelihood of achieving a satisfactory outcome is limited.
Creditors should provide a contact point at appropriate times to enable the Shergroup Enforcement Team to make essential queries particularly where they have cause for concern.