ABI is an endorsed partner of the Law Society. ABI has both national and international membership and offers easy access to their trusted investigative professionals through their website.
“Widely regarded as the leading professional body for private investigators working in the UK and beyond, we recommend the Association of British Investigators (ABI) to our members”. (Law Society)
Surelock and the Association of British Investigators, are both very proud to announce the appointment as President-Elect for 2019-2020 the highly respected member and Governing Council Discipline Officer, Ron HARRISON.
Ron has been a member of the ABI since November 2009, initially attending branch meetings, then got more involved sitting on selection panels for new members, in May 2018 became a member of the General Council and was appointed the Discipline Chairman.
Surelock’s Directors and Investigators are members of the Association of British Investigators.
By being accredited members of the ABI, this demonstrates that Surelock:
• Has passed an in-depth screening process showing compliance with respect to:
✓ Professional Standing
• and also that Surelock
✓ Has been notified and are compliant with the Data Protection Act
✓ Is covered by professional indemnity insurance
✓ Conforms to an industry leading code of practice
ABI are endorsed by The Law Society and Law Society of Scotland.
Roger Bescoby and Mark Hodgson, members of the Governing Council of the Association of British Investigators, met with senior Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) personnel at the beginning of July in Wilmslow.
The ABI Governing Council have been conscious that the Association would benefit from more direct dialogue with the ICO, and indeed all other stake-holder Regulators. The meeting therefore took place at the request of the Association and was readily and immediately agreed to by the ICO, who were most receptive hosts.
The meeting proceeded in an open and candid manner. We were of course keen to receive and understand the current thoughts of our principal regulator and equally we found our hosts to be inquisitive, vocal and informative to the various discussion points raised during the session. The feeling generated was that the meeting was highly valuable in enhancing the reciprocal understanding between regulator and industry and that further and more regular contact would be beneficial. It was also mutually agreed that such meetings can only result in the ICO having a deeper knowledge of the investigation industry sector than they do currently and not least its day-to-day challenges. It’s probably fair to say we detected some potential stereotype opinions still in existence but feel that the day gave us the opportunity to begin to effectively dispel these.
The session undoubtedly gave us the perfect platform to explain how the ABI is actively, demonstrably and energetically promoting compliance, best practice and training like never before in it’s 100+ year history. It seemed that our efforts in this space were recognised and appreciated.
Much discussion centred around our members’ perpetual frustrations, primarily the lack of access to existing and collated information – intelligence that is recognised as routinely vital to law enforcement agencies and yet denied to the sector who is actually undertaking the vast majority of such enquiries. Intel sources such as HM Land Registry and Credit Reference Agencies were of course high on the agenda.
We were able to inform a possibly unaware ICO contingent of just how little Police attention or assistance is currently received by our clients, be they Lawyers, Bankers or Insurers. It was explained that this is why they turn to the private sector in increasing numbers.
It was interesting to hear that the ICO themselves openly admit some Data Controllers simply and incorrectly quote the DPA as a reason not to provide information – often due to either ignorance, or fear of getting things wrong.
The meeting also gave us the opportunity to voice our wishes and indeed expectations that, post licensing, some additional regulatory leeway will be afforded towards the professionally-trained investigator. Not unreasonably, we argued, investigators simply request the tools to do the job that society expects to be done when fraud proliferates and the Law is to be upheld.
Both sides came away from the meeting with various and agreed action points, not least surrounding access to certain specific forms of information, which the ICO kindly agreed to look into further on our behalf.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Alastair Barter and Garreth Cameron of the ICO for their kind hospitality on the day and look forward to further and more regular healthy consultation in the future.
Following representation by the Association of British investigators (ABI) the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has reviewed the licensing requirement under the Consumer Credit Act for the activity of ‘Pure Process Serving’ and issued the following guidelines:
‘Pure Process Serving’ is meant that: –
The firm (a process server) is instructed by a law firm, or in-house solicitor, to serve legal documents on the recipient as part of the pre-court legal process.
The firm will serve a variety of different types of documents (e.g. County Court or High Court Claim Forms, Bankruptcy Petitions, Statutory Demands, Court Orders and Applications), some of which may relate to debts due under credit agreements, but many of which may not.
The firm will be aware of the legal nature of the document, but will not be told about or investigate the cause of action or the underlying circumstances. For example, the firm may not be aware whether the claim is for a consumer credit debt or a different type of debt.
The firm will take steps to ensure that the recipient understands the legal nature of the document and the fact that it is part of a legal process (e.g. that it is a Claim Form), but will not engage in any discussion or negotiation with the recipient about the contents of the document or the substance of the action.
If the recipient initiates discussion, the firm will direct the recipient to the law firm or in-house solicitor, which instructed the firm. ‘Pure Process Servers’ will not serve other documents such as CCA default notices
The FCA agrees that where in England a firm is instructed to undertake ‘Pure Process Serving’, the firm should not be regarded as being engaged in ‘debt collecting’ i.e. taking steps to procure the payment of a debt due under a credit agreement (or a relevant A36H agreement) or a consumer hire agreement. Thus the FCA is of the view that firms engaged in this (and not doing any other activity which might constitute debt collecting or debt administration) do not need authorisation and the FCA intends to operate on that basis pending amendment to the Perimeter Guidance (PERG) in the FCA Handbook, following consultation.
However, the FCA stresses that this is a question of interpretation of legislation, which ultimately is for the courts to decide, and the FCA cannot rule out the possibility that a court might decide on the facts that a ‘Pure Process Server’ is in fact engaged in regulated activity.
Mark Hodgson, Vice President of the ABI said ‘I am extremely grateful to the FCA for the manner in which it engaged in dialogue, listened to the concerns of our members and have now provided the industry with clear guidelines.’
The Association of British Investigators (ABI) has announced that it has reached agreement with training company SAFE to run the ABI Academy.
The Academy – which will provide access to ABI-approved training and IQ qualifications in response to the emerging requirements for Security Industry Authority (SIA) licensing and other ABI training initiatives – is designed to provide an effective platform for the educational activities of the ABI.
Under the agreement, the ABI Academy will use SAFE expertise and resources to operate a quality hub centre for trainers wishing to offer IQ Qualifications but who perhaps require back office assistance, provide learning materials for providers, and work with IQ to approve third party training as part of the ABI Approved Trainer Scheme.
Tony Imossi, president of the ABI said: “The ABI is aware that the market for training in advance of licensing is already beginning to move. It’s important to the Association that it provides the best possible advice to its members and those wishing to undertake training.”
Imossi continued: “While the SIA is still to finally confirm the requirements for training, we’re sufficiently confident that the current awards offered will be recognised in full, perhaps with the requirement for some top up training after the Home Office has completed its consultation. For those wishing to prepare early for licensing, the Academy should be a useful addition.”
Gary Scruby, executive director at SAFE, explained: “We’re delighted to be working with the ABI. SAFE has some eight years of experience in running qualifications quality hub operations and providing learning resources, and we look forward to using this experience in support of the private investigation sector.”
In addition, Scruby commented: “Details for approving ABI Academy Approved Training Providers will be published later this month. We expect the Academy to be operational early in December.”
Full details of the Academy contact numbers and procedures will be included on the SAFE and ABI websites by early December.
For advance information contact Gary Scruby at SAFE on (tel) 01952 457452
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