becpn68 0708

13 November 2008 (PN 68)

Business & Enterprise Committee to examine
Insolvency Service

Each year the Business & Enterprise Committee scrutinises at least one of the Department's associated public bodies.

It has decided to hold an evidence session with Stephen Speed, the Inspector General and Chief Executive of the Insolvency Service in the New Year.

The Insolvency Service describes its functions as to:

€ administer and investigate the affairs of bankrupts, of companies and partnerships wound up by the court, and establish why they became insolvent;

€ act as trustee/liquidator where no private sector insolvency practitioner is appointed;

€ act as nominee and supervisor in fast-track individual voluntary arrangements;

€ take forward reports of bankrupts' and directors' misconduct;

€ deal with the disqualification of unfit directors in all corporate failures;

€ deal with bankruptcy restrictions orders and undertakings;

€ authorise and regulate the insolvency profession;

€ assess and pay statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay its employees;

€ provide banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds;

€ advise BERR ministers and other government departments and agencies on insolvency, redundancy and related issues;

€ provide information to the public on insolvency and redundancy matters via our website, leaflets, Insolvency Enquiry Line and Redundancy Payments Helpline; and

€ conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into companies where it is in the public interest to do so. These enquiries are carried out by Companies Investigation Branch.

The Chairman of the Committee, Peter Luff MP said:

"The most recent figures show that insolvencies are increasing at an alarming rate. Given the current economic situation, it is timely to look at the Insolvency Service, both to assure ourselves of its efficiency, and to give the public the opportunity to raise any concerns they may have about the underlying policy."

Written evidence on the way in which the Insolvency Service performs its functions should be sent to the Committee before Friday 9 January 2009. These should be sent, as an MS Word document, of no more than eight pages, by e-mail to with a single hard copy sent to the Clerk of the Committee at the address above.

Once submitted evidence is the property of the Committee and should not be published without the Committee's consent. The Committee will usually publish evidence it receives, both in printed form and on the Internet. If you wish your evidence to remain confidential, please contact the Committee staff. Before submitting evidence, please read the guide to submission of written evidence at:

Further Information:

Committee membership is as follows:

Chairman: Peter Luff MP (Con) (Mid Worcestershire)
Mr Adrian Bailey (Lab) (West Bromwich West)
Roger Berry (Lab) (Kingswood)
Mr Brian Binley (Con) (Northampton South)
Mr Michael Clapham (Lab) (Barnsley West and Pen.)
Mr Lindsay Hoyle (Lab) (Chorley)
Mark Oaten (Lib Dem) (Winchester)
Miss Julie Kirkbride (Con) (Bromsgrove)
Anne Moffat (Lab) (East Lothian)
Mr Mike Weir (SNP) (Angus)
Mr Anthony Wright (Lab) (Great Yarmouth)

Media Enquiries: Laura Humble, Tel 0207 219 2003/ 07917 488 489, email:
Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 5777, email: