Section 56 – Publication of information relating to informal debt collection
175.In section 56, “informal debt collection” (as defined in subsection (4)) is the collection of debts, including debts which have not been established by court action, by means other than by formal diligence. This type of debt collection covers activities such as debt collection by letters, phone calls or personal visits. Informal debt collection for consumer debts such as credit card debts is already regulated by the Office of Fair Trading for the UK Government’s reserved interest under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Section 56 therefore covers informal debt collection relating to matters such as commercial debt and public debt, for example arrears of council tax. It provides that the Commission may publish information and other materials promoting good practice and informing the public about informal debt collection.
176.This information may be published as a code of practice or as guidance for persons carrying out informal debt collection (which could include judicial officers if rules under section 61(4) permit informal debt collection to be undertaken by them). A code published under this section may, from time to time, be revised and any revised code must be published and sent to the Scottish Ministers who will lay it before the Scottish Parliament. By virtue of section 78(a), the information (including any code of practice) may be published electronically.