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Complaining about an insolvency practitioner

This advice applies to Wales

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 Service's Complaints Gateway

If you’re not happy with how your insolvency practitioner (IP) has dealt with your complaint, you can complain to the Insolvency Service's Complaints Gateway. They will assess your complaint and pass it onto the relevant authorising body. This will be the authorising body that your IP is registered with.

You can fill in a complaint form on the Insolvency Service Complaints Gateway website at www.insolvencydirect.bis.gov.uk.

Alternatively, you can ring the Insolvency Enquiry Line on 0300 678 0015 or email them at:  IP.Complaints@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk.

Complaining about the Insolvency Service

If you’re not happy with how the Insolvency Service Complaints Gateway has dealt with your complaint, you can complain to the Insolvency Service.

Information about how to make a complaint can be found on their website at www.gov.uk.

Alternatively, you can ring the Insolvency Enquiry Line on 0300 678 0015 or email them at: Insolvency.Enquiryline@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk.

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

Insolvency Practitioner Unit
The Insolvency Service
4th Floor
Cannon House
18 Priory Queensway
Birmingham
B4 6BS

Email: IPU.Email@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

More information about insolvency practitioners is available from the Insolvency Practitioner Policy Section of The Insolvency Service.

Insolvency Practitioner Policy Section
The Insolvency Service
Tel: 020 7291 6772

Email: IPPolicy.Section@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk
Website: www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency

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