Barbara Keeley MP


Civilian Enforcement Officers

I understand that HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) is proposing to privatise the work of around 150 civilian enforcement officers. HMCTS has confirmed it is in discussion to extend the work of approved enforcement agencies. The Public and Commercial Services Union are currently running a campaign opposing the proposed privatisation. The campaign states that the HMCTS currently employs these officers but plans to outsource the work to a private company. The Public and Commercial Services Union state that "the government is threatening to privatise the jobs of 150 staff who carry out the enforcement of fines for criminal courts in England and Wales".

I recognise the important job Civilian Enforcement Officers do in recovering and enforcing financial penalties. However, whilst the HMCTS states no decisions have yet been taken, I share your concern that outsourcing of Civil Enforcement Officers would combine weaker oversight with pressure to maximise profits and risks more people becoming victim of rogue private bailiffs. I believe that this is a flawed idea and worry that it would come at the expense of delivering a fair justice system that works for all.

A previous attempt by the Conservative Government to privatise all enforcement work was abandoned in 2015, but only after Conservative Ministers wasted millions of pounds of taxpayers' money pursuing a policy that was widely criticized. Following the failures in the part-privatised probation system and the problems surrounding G4S tagging contracts, I am concerned that the Government is considering to further privatise the justice system. This is particularly concerning after the reports earlier this year about widespread abuses within G4S prisons and youth offender centres.

As a frontbench spokesperson in the Labour’s Health Team, I am unable to sign Early Day Motions. However I am concerned about the impact this privatisation could have upon my more vulnerable constituents in Worsley and Eccles South. I will continue to follow the development of these plans closely.

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