The end of an era? Martin Leyshon steps down as HCEOA Chair

On May 17th 2016, Martin Leyshon stepped down as the chair of the High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA) after six years in post.It has been a time of great change and progress in the enforcement industry, so we thought we would take a look at some of those changes and the role the HCEOA has played in supporting all those involved, whether at the sharp end of enforcement, the legal side or the creditor.

Legislation

From a legislation perspective, the enactment of part 3 and Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts & Enforcement Act 2007, the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 and the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 were the most significant pieces of legislation during this period.In his role as chair, and also as vice chair from 2008 to 2010, Martin Leyshon met regularly with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to present the views of the members with regards to building understanding of the day-to-day practicalities of enforcement, as well as the amount of work involved. Members opened up their procedures to the MoJ, all of which helped demonstrate that the High Court enforcement process and fee structure were different to those of a certificated bailiff.This “practitioner’s perspective” was also essential in ensuring that the correct wording was used in the legislation to prevent any unintended consequences, remove ambiguity and attain clarity.

Representing members to Government

In 2011, a new fast-track system was introduced for the enforcement of employment tribunal award and ACAS settlements. Martin and Andrew Wilson, the incoming HCEOA chair, were actively involved in making this happen. Martin also gave the Association’s viewpoint on other proposed legislation, including the criminalisation of squatting in residential premises in 2012.

Training

Whilst the Certification of Enforcement Agents Regulations 2014 set out the principals, the HCEOA put together all the training materials to achieve this, including an education programme to level 4 for authorised High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) and one to level 2 for enforcement agents, the latter developed together with the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM).The HCEOA also put together best practice advice for all members for the enforcement stages and Martin was very involved with the revised National Standards published in 2012.

Branding and presence

The Association celebrated 125 years in 2012 and Martin’s visits to meet with counterparts in Europe and across the world have really put the HCEOA and UK enforcement on the map. Relationships have also been strengthened at home. For example, Martin feels there is now a great deal of openness, dialogue and mutual respect in the Association’s relations with the MoJ.Martin quotes one of his proudest moments as being the removal of the short-lived “mickey mouse” logo and the reinstatement of the Association crest and all its associated heritage. And he is also delighted with the new website www.hceoa.org.

Cohesion

When Martin became chair in 2010, his first task was to get all the board members of the HCEOA to work together as a team, with a common agenda, describing his role as the “conductor of the orchestra”.

Martin Leyshon and his journey

Martin was an assistant sheriffs officer in 1989, and appointed as a sheriffs officer in 1995. He became an authorised HCEO in 2004.He joined the board of the HCEOA in 1999, and remains a board member today. He held the position of vice-chair from 2008 to 2010, and chair from 2010 to 2016.

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