Review of 2021: 20 Years of DCBL
22nd December 2021
2021 was a big year for DCBL as it marked the 20th business anniversary of the company, and it has been an unpredictable and exciting year for us! Despite the ongoing pandemic and subsequent issues, we have experienced significant growth and a huge number of positive events that we’re proud of.
Our ongoing growth has driven us to not only maintain our position as the largest parking debt recovery company in the UK, but we’re also quickly becoming the number one choice for many other industries, due to our proven 25% higher collection rate. By continuing to recover debts for some of the biggest private parking companies and private landowners, such as Parkingeye, UK Parking Control (UKPC), Creative Car Parks and We Fight Any Claim, we’re confident we’ll carry our success over into 2022.
As this year draws to a close, we want to review 2021 and everything it brought, as well as delve into the past 20 years of DCBL and what we hope the future will bring…
Before we get into the ups and downs of 2021, we want to go back to 2001 where DCBL began and reminisce over key moments in our 20-year history.
Our CEO Gary Robinson set up DCBL by himself in 2001 where many of those early operations were conducted in his car! Gary has joked about this in the past, saying:
“my biggest expansion came when I could afford a driver because overnight that doubled the workforce.”
Those first few years saw the foundations of the business being set up alongside the values and commitment to excellence that underpins DCBL today.
The business grew quickly and expanded its services to provide Letter Cycle debt recovery, CCJ Enforcement, Traveller Removal, CRAR, Debtor Tracing, and others. By 2010 we had grown to around 140 employees. DCBL’s growth then influenced the development of our sister company, Direct Security Solutions, which was formed in 2011. They provide innovative security services to a wide variety of clients across the country, including Chester Races, Oulton Park, Halton Chamber of Commerce, and more.
Another huge milestone in our history occurred in 2014, which saw the very first appearance of DCBL High Court Enforcement Agents on the hugely popular TV show “Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away!”. We went on to feature on the show for 5 series and although it finished in 2018, we are still proud of our participation and how we became the media face of the Enforcement industry. Displaying the day-to-day work of our Agents provided much-needed insight into the profession; our transparency and honesty have resulted in an unrivalled brand awareness that continues to bring trust and recognition today. This gave us advantages in 2021 as we have a proven 25% higher collection rate than our competitors and an effective early engagement strategy, due to our instantly recognized brand.
The significant success of DCBL over the years then brought about further business opportunities and in 2017 our sister company DCB Legal was formed. DCB Legal is a specialist legal practice and now one of the top 3 claims issuers in the country, focused on providing exceptional services in Debt Recovery, Civil and Commercial Litigation, and High Court Enforcement.
Working together with our sister company means that we can offer our clients a complete debt recovery solution, from pre-court to issuing claims through to enforcement.
2020 – how could we not mention the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic? – this was a period of uncertainty and anxiety for all, and we had to rethink and adapt our ways of working to maintain the high standards of service that our clients expected of us, during a time when we were worried about our families and our livelihoods. Despite this, our teams showed incredible resilience and resourcefulness, implementing covid-safe ways of operating, adjusting to online meetings and consultations, and working from home which we were able to do due to our ISO27001 Information Security Management Systems and ISO9001 Quality Management System accreditations.
Our hard work paid off as we experienced unprecedented growth and success from innovating our approach, and we’ve continued to implement this.
DCBL’s 20th year again saw some ups and downs. The ongoing pandemic and concerns around Covid have still been prevalent this year, but our staff returning to our offices has been a highlight of the year. Even more so as we’ve welcomed numerous new members into our teams!
One of the most exciting events of 2021 has been the completed expansion at our Northwest office. With a new contact centre, new meeting rooms, state of the art video conferencing rooms built with the installation of advanced technologies, our office is well equipped for our ongoing growth and the continued onboarding of new clients. You can read more about our expansion here.
With the easing of Covid restrictions across the country came opportunities for in-person events once again, and DCBL were delighted to be able to attend the British Parking Awards in September. We proudly sponsored the Parking Partnerships award, which was won by the London Borough of Waltham Forest, NSL and BBFI.
Awarded by our CEO Gary Robinson, Gary was very pleased to present this award, highlighting the great work completed within the last 12 months within the parking industry.
Similarly, being able to attend events again meant that our teams were able to support the Widnes Vikings in person at the DCBL Stadium during the last few games of the season. Our sponsorship of the stadium is something that everyone here at DCBL is proud of and we’re all looking forward to watching more games next year!
We also had several internal events with our teams fundraising for our chosen charity, Children With Cancer UK, as well as Breast Cancer Now and Macmillan Coffee Morning. We’re making a huge effort in raising awareness of important issues among our staff and giving back to those that need it.
Some of our staff have also done important fundraising themselves, including Phil Delmar for Prostate Cancer UK, Heather Done for Diabetes UK, and Simon Williamson for Parkinson’s UK. We’re incredibly proud of our staff!
Additionally, DCBL has recently sponsored the local girls’ football club, the Brookvale Diamonds. We’re delighted to be supporting them during the 2021/22 season: read more about the sponsorship here.
All in all, 2021 has been a busy and momentous year for all of us here at DCBL, and we’ll be taking this momentum into 2022!
The excitement is going to continue into 2022. We’ve got more plans for DCBL, including more events, welcoming new staff, and ultimately continuing the growth and success that we’ve experienced during 2021.
The first big event of 2022 is the launch of our brand-new website! We’ve changed a lot over the years, and we want our website to reflect our values and commitment to excellence. Our services have evolved alongside the business and our approach to ethical collection and vulnerability assessment is a priority now more than ever. We’re making our website easier to navigate and improving the ways that both clients and debtors can get in touch with us, creating a smoother and more approachable customer journey.
Keep an eye on our social media pages as we’ll be announcing its launch over the coming weeks…
The future looks promising for DCBL, the Direct Group, our clients, and all our staff, and we’re ready to see what the future will bring!