One association understandably having problems staging some of its events is the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM).
Over the years its British Credit Awards, at which bailiff companies are rewarded for effective enforcement of debts, has generated angry protests that it is obscene to make money from celebrating action that has, in some cases led to vulnerable people being evicted from their homes with their children.
In fact, as reported in Conference News the past year has seen the number of landlord repossessions and evictions in England and Wales soar to 42,000, or 115 a day, the highest since records began fifteen years ago, and signalling a major housing crisis for the poor. And the protest staged this year, on the occasion of the CICM British Credit Awards in February at The Brewery in London, was the most significant yet with 100 protesters pelting arriving guests at the £4,000 a table bash with eggs and paint bombs and staging a mock eviction outside. Police said afterwards that two men had been charged, one with assaulting the police and one with possession of a knife, although it is not clear whether they were protesters or bailiffs.
As the CICM will be aware they represent a grubby industry that had to be forcibly cleaned up by the Ministry of Justice last year after bailiffs were found to be using physical force against debtors, entering their homes at night, removing essential household equipment such as washing machines, removing possessions without notice, seizing properties before the debtor’s case had been to court and profiteering from the misery by adding excessive charges to the amounts debtors had to pay. The Ministry of Justice also noted that there was no mandatory training or certification for bailiffs and introduced much needed reforms to the Tribunal, Courts and Enforcement Act which came into force on April 6 last year.
According to Conference News the CICM are now simply reviewing their choice of venue for their event, which seems hard on The Brewery since the protests were not about the venue but CICM’s ill-conceived, crass and insensitive nonsense going on inside it, something that an ethical CICM really should be reviewing, and dumping at an early juncture.
It lowers the tone of the events industry and really won’t be missed.