- administers and investigates the affairs of bankrupts, of companies and partnerships wound up by the court, and establishes why they became insolvent;
- acts as trustee/liquidator where no private sector insolvency practitioner is appointed;
- acts as nominee and supervisor in fast-track individual voluntary arrangements;
- takes forward reports of bankrupts’ and directors’ misconduct;
- deals with the disqualification of unfit directors in all corporate failures;
- deals with bankruptcy restrictions orders and undertakings;
- authorises and regulates the insolvency profession;
- assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay its employees;
- provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds;
- advises DBIS ministers and other government departments and agencies on insolvency, redundancy and related issues; and
- provides information to the public on insolvency and redundancy matters via their website, publications, Central Enquiry Line and Redundancy Payments Helpline.
Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) Overview
There is an alternative to bankruptcy called an “Individual Voluntary Arrangement” (IVA). This is a formal arrangement through an insolvency practitioner to pay an agreed amount off your debts over a fixed period. This usually means paying a monthly installment usually over 5 years. The rest of the debts are written off.
Some IVAs are set up on the basis of using a lump sum (e.g. from a remortgage) to make offers to the creditors rather than make monthly payments. Some IVAs are a mixture of both. If a creditor is petitioning for bankruptcy the debtor can apply for an Interim Order which will stop all court action for 28 days. Only one Interim Order can be applied for within 12 months. Since the Insolvency Act 1986 was updated in 2000 it is no longer obligatory to apply for an Interim Order before applying for an IVA.
The corporate version of an IVA is an CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement), which would run in a similar line to that of an IVA with the agreement with creditors relating to periodical contributions, interest in assets, third party payments and would usually have the effect of paying creditors less than they are actually owed.
Working under the Insolvency Acts
The Insolvency Service operates under a statutory framework – mainly the Insolvency Act 1986, the Insolvency Act 2000, the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 and the Employment Rights Act 1996. Insolvency Service staff are based across the UK in a network of 38 Official Receiver offices throughout England and Wales;
Enforcement Directorate and Headquarters in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh; Banking Section in Birmingham; and its Redundancy Payments offices in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Watford. As of 1 April 2006 Companies Investigation Branch of BERR transferred to The Service and is based in offices in both London and Manchester. The new Debt Relief Orders which came into force on 6 April 2009 under the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 are not dealt with by Official Receivers Offices but at the Services Plymouth office.
The Inspector General and Agency Chief Executive is the Agency Accounting Officer and is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Service. Dr Richard Judge succeeded Stephen Speed as Inspector General on 30 July 2012.
Due to a decreasing case load over recent years the Isolvency Service has gone through major changes, mainly in personnel. 2010 saw the loss of the temporary/contract staff and by the spring of 2011 a large number of permanent staff had taken some form of redundancy. Further changes are being looked at by the Insolvency Service, which will include a further reduction in staffing levels and a movement of staff due to a reduction in the number of offices.
- Simplified Individual Voluntary Arrangement
- Administrative Receiverships
- Trust Deeds (only available in Scotland)
- United States Trustee Program