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Complaining about an insolvency practitioner

This page tells you what to do if you have an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) and you want to make a complaint against your insolvency practitioner.

Conduct of an insolvency practitioner

Insolvency practitioners acting in a formal capacity, for example as supervisors of an IVA or as nominees, are subject to the scrutiny of the professional body that they belong to.

If they are not acting in this capacity, but are, for example, involved in advising you on your debts, they have to follow the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules and guidance.

There also is a voluntary code of practice, called the IVA Protocol, which all insolvency practitioners and most creditors have signed up to. The protocol makes sure the processes involved in setting up and managing an IVA are clear and fair. It also sets out the terms and conditions all parties must follow.

Step one: contact your practitioner directly

If you’re not happy with the service you’ve received from your insolvency practitioner you can make a formal complaint to them. You can make your complaint by phone or in writing, but if you do it by phone, send a letter as well to back up what you’ve said. This will also mean you have proof of your complaint.

Step 2: complain to the insolvency practitioner’s authorising body

If you’re not happy with how your insolvency practitioner (IP) has dealt with your complaint, you can complain to their authorising body.

Your IP should give you information about the authorising body they’re registered with. Or you can:

  • search the database of insolvency practitioners, on the Insolvency Service website at: www.detini.gov.uk
  • contact the Insolvency Enquiry Line on 028 9025 1441
  • contact the Insolvency Practitioner Unit of The Insolvency Service, who will also forward complaints to the appropriate authorising body. If you are not sure who is acting as the insolvency practitioner for a particular case, you will need to supply the full name of the insolvency case when making your enquiry.

What can they investigate?

The authorising body will investigate your complaint if it is about unprofessional, improper or unethical actions by your IP.

They can’t:

  • reverse or alter a decision of an insolvency practitioner
  • intervene directly in your IVA.

If you are unhappy about any of these matters, you should get independent legal advice as only a court has the power to look into them. This may be expensive.

The outcome

If the authorising body agrees with your complaint, they can fine the practitioner or take away their licence.

If the authorising body disagrees with your complaint and you are not happy with the outcome, you can take the complaint further. Your options are:

  • use the authorising body’s independent complaints reviewer, if they have one
  • use arbitration or an alternative dispute resolution service.

Insolvency practitioners authorised by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

If you have a complaint against insolvency practitioners authorised by BIS you should write to the Insolvency Service’s Insolvency Practitioner Unit (IPU).

Next steps

Other useful information

The Insolvency Service leaflet 'How do I make a complaint against an Insolvency Practitioner' can be found at: www.detini.gov.uk .

More information about insolvency practitioners is available from the Insolvency Practitioners section of The Insolvency Service.

Insolvency Practitioners
The Insolvency Service
Tel: 028 9025 1441

Email: insolvency@detini.gov.uk
Website: www.detini.gov.uk

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