Other forms of request

August 2012

Part 3 Other forms of request

81A.35  Telephone enquiries and the public register (EIIR) 

Where an inquiry is dealt with over the telephone, care should be taken not to breach the provisions of the DPA. If an enquiry is received by telephone, the caller can be provided with any information which is held on the Individual Insolvency Register (EIIR). If an individual’s details do not appear on the public register, a search of the other computer systems should not be undertaken and telephone inquirers should be informed that the matter cannot be dealt with over the telephone.

The duration of entries on the EIIR is limited by Rules 6A.3, 6A.5, 6A.5B, 6A.7 and 6A.7B of the Insolvency Act 1986 so that, for example, all information relating to a bankruptcy will be deleted three months from the date of discharge.  Inquirers may be told that the Insolvency Service’s internal records may contain details of cases which are not included in the public register and that, while such details cannot be discussed over the telephone, they may, if they exist, be disclosable, depending on the inquirer’s interest. If the inquirer wishes to pursue the matter it must be in writing. 

81A.35A  The Insolvency (Amendment) Rules 2010

Bankruptcy orders in which annulments have been made under sections 261(2)(a), 261 (2)(b), 263D(3) or 282(1)(b) i.e. following the acceptance of and IVA or FTVA proposal or the debts have been paid in full, shall remain on the EIIR for a period of 3 months following notice being given to the Secretary of State of the annulment being granted.

Bankruptcy orders in which annulments made under section 282(1)(a), the order ought not have been made shall remain on the EIIR for a period of 28 days following notice being given to the Secretary of State of the annulment being granted

If the order is rescinded under section 375, it shall remain on the EIIR for a period of 28 days after the Secretary of State has received notification of the order to rescind.

If the debtor has a stay of advertisement in place up to the annulment hearing, official receivers should give consideration to notifying debtors and their solicitors of these provisions so they can consider seeking a further stay as part of the annulment order to prevent the details appearing on the EIIR. 

81A.36  IVA details held on the public register (EIIR)

The entry of all individual voluntary arrangements (IVA) onto the public register (EIIR) is determined by Insolvency Rule 6A.2. The same approach as outlined in paragraph 81A.35 should be taken when telephone enquiries are received. The removal of IVA details from the EIIR is determined by Rule 6A.3 which states that the Secretary of State shall delete from the individual insolvency register all information concerning an individual voluntary arrangement  where:

a) he receives notice under Rule 5.30(5) or Rule 5.46(4) of the making of a revocation order in respect of the arrangement; or

b) he receives notice under Rule 5.34(3) or Rule 5.50(3) of the full implementation or termination of the arrangement.

and in either case a period of three months has elapsed from receipt of the notice.

The notice referred to will be issued by the supervisor of the IVA, and is sent to the Insolvency Practitioner Unit (IPU) in Birmingham for updating the EIIR.  In case of doubt as to whether an IVA is still current, staff should make enquiries with IPU to see if the supervisor has issued the appropriate notice, and if not, the enquirer should be referred to the supervisor of the arrangement. 

81A.37  Written enquiries/complaints about the public register (EIIR)

On receipt of a non-verbal inquiry in respect of individuals whose details do not appear on the EIIR, consideration must be given to the inquirer’s interest in the case. Inquiries from known creditors, or from a person claiming to be a creditor who provides clear evidence of  his or her claim, can be answered. All other types of inquiry must be referred to line management to decide if the inquirer has a legitimate interest entitling him or her to the information requested. In cases of doubt the FOI/DPA Team should be consulted. 

81A.37A – Complaints about details from the EIIR appearing on search engines

1) Cases where details are still live on the EIIR - It is not the policy of The Insolvency Service that any restriction should be put in place to limit public access to the information contained in the register.

2) Cases where details have been removed from the EIIR but may still be found by search engines - Details of cases appearing in search engines are the result of information held on the search engine’s computers. The Service has no control over how search engines such as Google search, index, store and display their results, or the uses (or abuses) to which third parties put the information. Complainants should be referred to the search engine holding the information.

In all cases of complaints arising from 1) and 2) above should be referred to the FOI/DPA Team. 

81A.38  Telephone enquiries relating to companies in liquidation

Information held on The Service’s internal computer systems about companies can be revealed to telephone callers. This does not extend to providing personal details of directors (e.g. their addresses) and if the winding-up order was made more than five years ago it is advisable to supply no information about the directors over the telephone.

Requests for such details should be referred to Companies House, which will have information on files available for search. Alternatively, a written request can be made to the FOI/DPA Team.  

81A.39  Subject access requests from other parties

The official receiver may receive subject access requests from individuals who have had dealings with an insolvent and who believe that their personal data may be held in records kept by the insolvent. If this happens, the official receiver should follow the same procedure as outlined in paragraph 81A.31 above.


81A.39A Requests for personal data from third parties

Official receivers and other parts of The Service may receive requests for personal data from third parties who are carrying out some statutory function, criminal investigation or civil recovery action. Such requests are not ‘subject access requests’ and the official receiver must give consideration to the rights of the data subjects under the DPA before disclosing personal data to third parties.

Requests for personal data from third parties are Freedom of Information Act requests, and are dealt with under section 40(2) of the FOIA. This section of the FOIA refers to the provisions of the Data Protection Act and in summary provides that: 

  • Personal data may be disclosable where Schedule 1 and 2 DPA conditions are met (by the requesting organisation) and it is ‘reasonable in all the circumstances’. 

Section 40(2) of the FOIA provides an exemption to prevent such disclosure where: 

  • The information is ‘data’ or ‘manual data’ as defined under DPA, and
  • Where an exemption from disclosure to the data subject exists (S7(1)(c))
  • Where disclosure would breach any of the data protection principles or section10 of the DPA 

Where no court order or legislative provision allows for such disclosure, it will be necessary for the official receiver to ask the third party for specific details about what information is required, why it is required, how it may be used and what legislative authority or data protection exemption applies to the request. 

Official receivers and other teams receiving such requests should notify the FOI/DPA Team and should respond to the requesting organisation by adapting the template ( #10A). Also available on Technical Section intranet page. 

If the action officer has any doubts or requires bespoke advice on any request, either before any initial response is issued, or on receipt of any further information provided in support of the request, then the FOI/DPA Team should be contacted via FOI@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk 

NB – it is important to note that if an information request from a third party is to be refused (in part or in full) then the FOIA requires that a formal Refusal Notice must  be issued under section 17 of the Act. Refer to the FOI/DPA Team for advice.

Further details on dealing with third party requests are available in Part 6 Exemptions to disclosure. 


[Back to Part 2 – Subject access requests] [On to Part 4 – Handling personal data]