Initial Contact in Debtor's Petition Cases (ISCIS)
The current procedure was designed to cut down on administration, remove duplication and adopt a more risk-friendly approach to dealing with debtor’s petition cases. The initial contact process aims to obtain the essential information in debtor’s petition cases, pending the arrival and initial review of the debtor’s statement of affairs, if it is not readily available. The current procedure details three types of debtor petition case and time guidelines for completion of pre-Case Assessment Record (CAR) work. Mandatory forms have been introduced and there must be no use of locally devised forms.
On the making of the bankruptcy order on a debtor’s petition, when a member of staff at the local official receiver’s office speaks to the bankrupt, he or she will be asked for essential information as detailed in the initial contact form (ICON). This form is available on ISCIS via the Docs tab. The questions are limited to establishing:
NB: Remember at this point to deal with the issuing of the ethnic monitoring form and the leaflets that need to be sent, or if the bankrupt is seen in person, given to the bankrupt.
If the insolvent contacts the official receiver before the case is input on ISCIS the initial enquiries still need to be carried out. An ICON form should be used to record the information gathered and the appropriate workflow task marked as complete once the case has been created.
The completed ICON and statement of affairs will be passed to the examiner for review and the date of the completion must be recorded in all cases on ISCIS under the Data Store tab (See Data Store Protocol).The statement of affairs must be clearly marked with the date it is received in the office. The following notices and other matters must still be generated or actioned on notification of the bankruptcy order, regardless of whether the statement of affairs has been received. (Some ‘workflow’ instructions will be automatically generated by ISCIS.)
Notifications to any other parties such as landlords, banks, etc should be sent as necessary according to the circumstances of the case. However, staff should not be seeking additional information regarding the details of such parties before the statement of affairs is received into the office, unless there is a known asset in jeopardy or it is known that there would be serious financial or reputational loss to The Service by not sending such notice(s) in advance. If in doubt refer the matter to the examiner.
For further information see Case Help Manual (CHM) part – Initial Notices and Letters.
Within two working days of the receipt of the statement of affairs the examiner will review the case papers, which includes the completed ICON, and decide which ‘type’ of case it is (see paragraph 6 below). Details of the type will be recorded on ISCIS by the examiner by updating the Case header tab and completing the drop-down option under Pre-CAR case type. Some instructions will be given to the case officer automatically from the workflow generated. The case will then proceed as detailed below, according to ‘type’. The initial review will also identify any matters for urgent action that the use of the ICON failed to draw out and which need to be dealt with immediately.
As part of the review the examiner should identify the additional information that he or she requires in order to either make recommendations for any further investigation, draw conclusions as to the reason(s) for the insolvency, to issue instructions to case officers as to the treatment of assets and to determine whether an income payments agreement (IPA) or income payments order (IPO) should be sought. These instructions will be found under the general Notes tab or attached to other areas of the case such as Assets.
NB: It is to be noted that in some offices the bankrupt will be seen by an examiner either at court or at the office immediately after the making of the order and the examiner will then have completed the initial review.
There are three types of debtor petition case which are:
Where an interview is required, it should be recorded under Vettings and Interviews and appropriate interview letter sent. The decision as to which letter to send depends on the type and circumstances of the case (see paragraphs 7, 8 and 9 below).
For further information on appointment letters see CHM part – Initial Notices and Letters.
In a type 0 case no interview need take place. On reviewing the case papers the examiner has decided that there is no more essential information to be gathered and that the necessary recommendations will be recorded on ISCIS and instructions given without any need for further contact with the bankrupt.
Where an interview does not take place, examiners must ensure that where assets are to be realised or exempted the appropriate letter is sent by either the examiner or the case officer, depending on office policy. This will ensure that the bankrupt is aware in a timely fashion of how the bankruptcy will affect certain assets. For example, if a motor vehicle is to be exempted the examiner is still required to ascertain the reason for exemption and this may result in some cases, which otherwise would have been type 0 cases, becoming type 1 cases, albeit the contact time with the bankrupt will be brief.
The same principle also applies when assessing the suitability of a case for an IPA or IPO. Likewise, there must be sufficient detail relating to liabilities recorded on ISCIS, to enable notices and a report to creditors (RTC) etc. to be sent.
Unless it is clear from the review that a case will be a type 0 or type 2, the examiner will view it as a type 1. In type1 cases it is envisaged that the interview will normally take no longer than an hour either by telephone or face to face. A telephone or court interview record form (TCIR) must be used in order to focus on the key issues and can also be completed as part of the initial review in order to assess where there are ‘gaps’ in the key information. The TCIR will serve as a record of any further information obtained involving the duties, responsibilities and other requirements of the bankrupt, as detailed on form NTB2. Form TCIR can also record initial details of any assets, IPA or IPO assessment, reason for the insolvency, other relevant information, documents to be provided within 7 days and the examiners evaluation of the case.
Based on the follow up information that the examiner will record on ISCIS, instructions will be given to the case officer on how to continue with the administration of the case. (Some ‘workflow’ instructions will be automatically generated by ISCIS.)
A type 2 case will include all trading cases, second time (or more) bankrupts and any other case which the examiner believes is likely to result in further investigation based on the information available during the initial review. These types of cases are more likely to be dealt with at a face-to-face interview.
In a type 2 case completion of the TCIR is optional and the examiner may record the interview in other formats such as bullet point notes or narrative statement. Given the nature of type 2 cases these would normally be allocated to L3 examiners to conduct the interview.
When, following the interview, the examiner updates the case on ISCIS, instructions will be given (or automatically generated) to the case officer of further actions needed, to continue or complete the administration of the case.
Any case-related queries which do not arise during the interview should be dealt with by the examiner or case officer, or by reminding the bankrupt to read through the relevant leaflet(s) on the subject that have already been provided, or can be forwarded on request.
Non-case related callers to official receiver's offices should be referred to The Service's wide range of leaflets and FAQs on the internet, or may be sent copies if requested. If they still have any general queries they should be advised to telephone the Insolvency Enquiry Line on 0845 602 9848.
RTC forms (CAR A) are available for completion by the examiner, which aim to streamline the initial contact process. The procedure for the issue of an RTC remains unchanged.
For further information see CHM part – Reports to Creditors.
Where can I find out more?
Insolvency Act 1986
Sections 289(1) – Investigatory duties of the official receiver
Section 291 – Duties of bankrupt in relation to official receiver
Insolvency Rules 1986
Rule 6.33 – Settlement and content of bankruptcy order
(but see Insolvency Amendment Rules 2010)
Rule 6.34 – Action to follow making of order
(but see Insolvency Amendment Rules 2009)
Rule 6.73 - 78 – Information to creditors
(but see Insolvency Amendment Rules 2010)
Case Help Manual
ISCIS protocolsTrading, Occupation and Cause of Insolvency Protocol
Forms to be used
ICON – initial contact form
TCIR – telephone or court interview record form
1 On the making of the bankruptcy order the debtor will be spoken to by telephone or in person at the official receiver’s office, by an examiner or case officer.
2 If the initial contact with the debtor is in person, by a case officer, complete form ICON and pass the completed form and statement of affairs to the examiner for initial review.
3 Where initial contact is in person, by an examiner, the record of the interview will mean that the examiner has completed the initial review.
4 When the statement of affairs arrives it must be clearly marked with the date it is received in the office. Pass to the examiner with form ICON for his or her information and review, as required.
5 Within 2 days, ensure the case has been created in ISCIS and that all known details, such as trading classification and trading details have been recorded. (See ISCIS Trading, Occupation and Cause of Insolvency Protocol).
6 Within 2 working days of the statement of affairs being reviewed, ensure that if required, an appropriate appointment letter with relevant enclosures is sent, according to the case type classification and review date entered on ISCIS
7 Ensure that all initial notices and letters such as a gazette notice (and any other advertising if the examiner directs), notice to Nicesheriffs and HM Land Charges have been sent. (Some ‘workflow’ instructions will be automatically generated by ISCIS to complete the processes, such as Gazetting and Advertising.)
8 Notify other parties such as landlords, banks etc. of the bankruptcy proceedings, in accordance with the examiners instructions, by using the Docs tab on ISCIS.
9 With non-case related queries the debtor should be referred to The Service's wide range of leaflets and FAQs on the internet, or the debtor may be sent copies. He or she should be advised to read through the literature and contact the IEL with any other general queries.
10 Arrange for the issue of the report to creditors according to examiners instructions and workflow tasks.