Storage and Destruction of Official Receiver's Case Files

April 2012



10.87 Knowledge and Information Management Team (KIM)

The Insolvency Service as a government body must create records that document its official activities and these must be managed in accordance with the Service’s Records Management Policy Statement.  A copy of the policy statement can be viewed on the KIM pages of the intranet, and the Filing Code of Practice as Annex B to this chapter.

The vast majority of the Service’s records will be kept for as long as they meet a business or administrative need and this is formally recognised in a disposal schedule signed by both the relevant Senior Management and the Agency Departmental Records Officer (ADRO).

The KIM Team, which includes the Agency Departmental Records Officer (ADRO), are responsible for ensuring that The Insolvency Service’s records management policy is carried out throughout the organisation and by all staff, irrespective of whether they have specialist record responsibilities or not.

The official receiver’s case records have always had specific instructions concerning their retention and destruction policy across the Service and meets legislative requirements.


10.87A Records management policy under review

The KIM Team are currently in the process of revising and updating the Service’s records management policy, which will deal with the storage and destruction of case files.  A new Records Management Strategy will be issued shortly.  This chapter will be updated when the new guidance is issued.


10.88 Official receiver's case files

Each office creates and maintains its own case files (paper format) that are recorded on the ISCIS database.

The case clerks initiate the files and follow agreed procedures relating to the filing of individual paper documents (see Annex B).


10.88A Closed case storage

When the case has been closed the file is sent to an offsite storage facility until its destruction according to the official receiver case file destruction policy (see Annex C).


10.88B Public Interest cases

A small number of case files are retained for a longer period or even for permanent preservation if they fall under the ‘Public Interest’ category (see paragraph 10.89A), now dealt with at the Public Interest Unit in the London office and the provinces.


10.89 Official receiver case file destruction policy

All company and bankruptcy files where there is no investigation action should be destroyed within 5 years of the order or within 2 years of the completion of the official receiver's administration which ever is the later (see Annex C).  The file is generally deemed to have been completed on the date of the official receiver’s release or the appointment of an insolvency practitioner as trustee or liquidator.

There are exceptions to this rule:

(a) Where the bankruptcy order was made before 1 April 2004 and an order for summary administration was made, the file should be retained for a period of three years from the order.

(b) Protracted realisation cases - If after 3 years the asset which caused the case to be placed on the register still has to be dealt with a new destruction review date should be fixed for a year later and further reviews will be done annually until the asset has been disposed of.  Once the asset is disposed of, the normal destruction policy applies. The official receiver's storage contract (see paragraph 10.32) allows for a 'flag’ to be recorded against the case name to signify that it is a protracted realisation matter.  This combined with ISCIS entries should ensure that the file is not disposed of before the assets have been dealt with.  Where an RTLU has its own file containing all the papers required for the realisation of the assets the usual destruction policy will apply to the official receiver's file.

(c) Second Bankruptcy - Bankruptcy files where the official receiver has become aware of a further bankruptcy order against the file subject - such files should only be destroyed at the same time as the file in the further bankruptcy.

(d) Criminal Allegation cases - Company and bankruptcy files where a statement of facts has been submitted, even if not proceeded with, should be retained for 7 years from completion or until 6 months after the end of the sentence imposed, whether actual or suspended, if that point is later than 7 years from the file completion date.  Full details of Enforcement Directorate's destruction policy on criminal allegation, disqualification, bankruptcy restriction and public interest cases can be found in the Enforcement Investigation Guide Chapter 118 on the Enforcement pages of the intranet.

(e) Disqualification cases - in a case where a disqualification order has been made or the case lost, the file should be retained for 7 years from the date of the commencement of the disqualification or until the end of the longest period of disqualification which ever is the later.

(f) Bankruptcy Restriction order cases - in a case where a BRO has been made or the case lost, the file should be retained for 7 years from the date of the commencement of the BRO or until the BRO has ended which ever is the later.

(g) Public Interest Cases - Files which an official receiver believes may be of public interest (see paragraph 10.89A) should be sent to the KIM Team who carry out the role of Agency Departmental Records Officer (see paragraph 10.87), within 30 years of their creation [note 1].  There is a process within ISCIS to annotate these types of cases so that the KIM Team can identify them.  The KIM Team will then liaise with the National Archives to see whether the file is of interest to them and they will either permanently retain it, if it is of interest, or destroy it if not.


10.89A Public Interest case file criteria

Files should be considered for retention because they are of public interest if they meet one of the following criteria:

(a)   Where the case involves a long established company - for instance one incorporated 100 years ago.

(b)   If the case has been referred to in an Agency Annual Report.

(c)   If the case concerned famous/infamous individuals or received prolonged media interest.

(d)   Where some or all of the accounting records have been identified as of historical interest, and arrangements have been made for their permanent retention.

(e)   If the case sets a precedent.

(f)     If the case involves a novel or unusual occupation.

(g)   Where the case is likely to be the subject of future research because of the nature of the business.

(h)   Is thought to be of national or local significance for any other reason.


[Back to Part 8]  [On to Annex A]