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June 2017 Credit Management magazine

The CICM magazine for consumer and commercial credit professionals

FROM THE CHAIR POLLS

FROM THE CHAIR POLLS APART Laurie Beagle sees the forthcoming election and Brexit negotiations as an opportunity rather than a threat. THE calling of an election I think caught us all off guard. Perhaps that was the strategy. For a time, it will no doubt interrupt and delay a number of ongoing initiatives with which we are involved, but hopefully not for long. Our Chief Executive, Philip King, has worked hard and should be congratulated on the excellent links he has built with the government especially via the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Small Business Minister. This has not only helped to raise the profile of the CICM but also resulted in significant output, not least of which is the Prompt Payment Code. CICM members have also recently been taking part in interviews with BEIS on the introduction of two new websites being built for businesses. One is for the Duty to Report portal, and the other for the Small Business Commissioner. The Institute has also been extending its series of Managing Cashflow Guides, including a new one entitled ‘Managing cash through Brexit’ and produced in partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Brexit, of course, is now a reality. With the impending election, Brexit, whether soft or hard, is back in the news. This is the start of the story. Businesses who already export are understandably nervous. But they also recognise that there will be plenty of opportunities in the future should we wish to grasp them. This is where you, the credit professional, has a large part to play. It is your skills that will help carry the day; your understanding of risk; your ability to access and interpret information that supports sales. You are not just the manager of the accounts receivable ledger, but rather the key to the future prosperity of your company. The gun has sounded and we are off the mark for the Apprenticeship schemes. The future of our profession is in us all encouraging the younger generation to understand that Credit Management, in its many forms, is a worthwhile career. I totalled up my job titles since starting as a credit controller and it came to 11. We need to continue getting the message out there that Credit Management is a profession - the same as Surveyors, Doctors, Accountants etc – and that we have a vital role to play in protecting and developing our economy. Yes, it is a big commitment, but we are asking you and your company to think about what more you can bring to the profession, and its future. Apprenticeships are there to train new and young talent as well as up-skilling current teams and team members. They will provide a clear route to development and career progression. And one final point that should not be missed is that funding is available regardless of age. Very refreshing. Laurie Beagle FCICM EIICM is the Chair of the CICM Executive Board. The gun has sounded and we are off the mark for the Apprenticeship schemes. The future of our profession is in us all encouraging the younger generation to understand that Credit Management, in its many forms, is a worthwhile career. 12 June 2017 www.cicm.com The Recognised Standard

BENCH PRESS MONEY, MONEY, MONEY We stand at a pivotal moment in the evolution of civil justice as far as money claims are concerned. The next few months and years will determine how effective, economic and desirable money claims remain, says Amir Ali. ECONOMICS are a major factor – it is clear that successive governments have viewed civil justice as a cash cow. Not only is it expected to be self-financing, but also to finance other areas that would otherwise be a burden on the taxpayer, such as the criminal courts. Despite paying substantial sums that might more usually be expected to provide an outstanding service, Claimants have seen comparatively limited investment in their area of the court service. The increase in money claim issue fees to five percent of value for claims over £10,000 has seen a reduction in larger claims. The idea of risking further money to try to recover an existing debt has always been unpalatable. The size of the increases now makes it an impediment to justice. How perverse is the system, where a claim is often now more likely to be brought in a lower value case than a larger one? Those who owe greater sums of money are increasingly immune from the risk of a Judgment, while those who owe lower sums are more likely to have one entered against them. Our Civil Justice system has always been based on fairness and this proudly continues, yet in some ways this now risks being undermined by its own charging structure. We have seen a continuation of this approach in recent weeks, with hearing fees no longer being refunded where a court hearing is no longer required. It was always understood that the refunding of such fees was designed to promote early settlement between the parties. It is presumably again the case that money is now seen as more important than good case management. It is extraordinary that it is even necessary for a fee to be payable for the Consent Order concluding the claim and removing the hearing from the list. Where else in society are you expected to pay for a service and denied a refund when you realise it is no longer required? And are then actually required to pay even more as a result? If the court itself were reviewing such a term under a contractual agreement, would it be considered reasonable? There are many reasons to be optimistic for the future of Civil Litigation. The Civil Structure Review by Lord Justice Briggs was full of good ideas. Lord Justice Jackson’s continuing review of fixed costs will hopefully bring greater certainty and transparency around costs. There are many people working hard within the Ministry of Justice and the court system, striving to provide the best service possible for court users. We can only hope that all of these efforts are not undermined by the court fees themselves. The courts should exist to provide a much-needed service to society, not as a form of taxation upon it. Amir Ali is Chair of the Civil Court Users Association (CCUA) – amir.ali@hcegroup.co.uk. How perverse is the system, where a claim is often now more likely to be brought in a lower value case than a larger one? The Recognised Standard www.cicm.com June 2017 13

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