Do Insolvency Practitioners have an Ombudsman?

If you are unhappy with the service you have received from an insolvency practitioner in their capacity as a supervisor in a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), the liquidator if a company is being wound up, or a receiver, administrator or administrative receiver, you can complain using the Complaints Gateway. You can complain against an insolvency practitioner authorised by any of the recognised professional bodies (RPBs), as well as those authorised by the Secretary of State.

You should always try to resolve your complaint with the insolvency practitioner first. However, if you are still unhappy, you should lodge your complaint with the Insolvency Complaints Gateway. If your complaint relates to a service that has been provided by an insolvency practitioner in relation to your personal financial circumstances, you should complain directly to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Who can complain?

Anyone who is dissatisfied with the service they have received or the conduct of an insolvency practitioner, or someone carrying out work on their behalf, can complain. This includes:

  • Debtors
  • Creditors
  • Employees
  • Directors and shareholders of a company

Who will consider the complaint?

A member of the Insolvency Service’s staff will undertake the initial review of the complaint and decide whether the complaint is suitable to be forwarded onto the authorising body. It is then the role of the relevant authorising body to investigate the complaint and issue sanctions against the insolvency practitioner where appropriate.  

How long do complaints take to resolve?

If the complaint is passed on to one of the recognised professional bodies, the RBS will aim to complete the investigation within six months, although some investigations may take longer. You will receive an update on the progress of the investigation. You will then be advised of the outcome of the investigation within 15 days of the decision being made.

What outcome can you expect?

Even if your complaint is valid, not all errors will lead to action being taken against the insolvency practitioner. For example, if an IP is slow to deal with a small amount of correspondence, that will not necessarily lead to disciplinary action. However, there are various infringements and examples of misconduct which, if proven by the investigation, will result in a sanction. Sanctions can be both financial and non-financial. A common sanctions guidance document is available.

It is also important to note that the authorising body cannot award compensation, or compel an insolvency practitioner to pay compensation, for any financial loss you may have incurred.

Written by: Alan Simon