LACEF's 20th Birthday

Annual conference sets new records for attendance and content

Celebrating 20 years since it’s foundation, The Local Authority Civil Enforcement Forum is probably the longest-established group hosted on KnowledgeHub.

With close to 1,000 members from more than 250 local authorities in England and Wales, LACEF has embraced the facilities of KHub from day one, and is usually the most active group, by threads and message exchanges, every month on KHub.

For those who don’t know the group, which was until recently behind a second security firewall and not normally visible to KHub members, LACEF has several strands of interest. The original source of membership was in-house bailiff teams. As time has gone on LACEF has expanded its membership base to include staff who work in maximizing all debt recovery from council tax to sundry debts and parking. It does this by sharing experiences, discussing legal matters to deliver best practice and fight scams that attack the public purse.

Today and after changes in the law three years ago to bailiff law (enforcement agents) more and more local authorities have joined LACEF and sought our expert advice on how to set up an in-house enforcement team.

So last month’s 20th Birthday Annual Conference, hosted by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea at their prestigious West London Civic Centre, was special in many ways. Over 160 delegates attended this ‘sold-out’ event, surpassing many other groups’ similar themed events of late.

The range of speakers, as always with LACEF, was wide yet very deliberately targeted to deliver what members had been asking for in the past 12 months, and often discussing during lively debates on the Forum.

Welcoming LACEF to it’s first-ever London event, Ray Brown, Director of Customer Access for the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, explained how he had moved into his current position in January 2015 and described his mission as: “To lead, develop and direct the Customer Service and Revenues and Benefits strategy, policy, contractual/performance management and specialist services in order to deliver the Councils’ visions and strategic objectives.”

One of Ray’s priorities is to maximise the collection of Revenues (Council Tax & NNDR) by providing the highest standard of service possible to Council Tax/Business Rate payers and benefit claimants.

The Business Rates theme was picked up by several speakers during the day, as the retention of local collections will bring funding boosts to Councils.

LACEF, being an entirely free, voluntary organization, relies on third-party sponsorship to support it’s work and this year’s annual conference was supported by a dozen firms, ranging from enforcement companies to IT specialists and debt buying experts.

The information-packed day also included a sponsor’s exhibition, which provided an interesting display of goods and services and provided a good networking backdrop to the event.

LACEF is free to join for any employee of a local authority.

Security level: Public