Guidelines for Official Receivers on Rotas of Insolvency Practitioners for Secretary of State trustee/liquidator appointments

The purpose of insolvency practitioner rotas is to: 

  • Ensure a fair distribution of cases in which the official receiver decides there is a need for a Secretary of State appointment.
  • Ensure that in making those appointments, bankrupt/director/creditors are not inconvenienced by the location of the insolvency practitioner.


Guidelines for maintenance of the local rota  

  1. The current 33 insolvency practitioner rotas operated by official receivers will continue until further notice within their existing geographical footprints.  There are, however, some changes to the way they will operate as set out below.
  2. The official receiver will operate a single rota encompassing all case types requiring a Secretary of State appointment.  Any specialist rotas for particular types of cases will cease to exist.
  3. As at present, the rota will extend to the geographical area covered by the areas of the local county courts with bankruptcy jurisdiction for which the official receiver has responsibility.
  4. The insolvency practitioner rota will contain details of local licensed insolvency practitioner firms who are willing to accept Secretary of State appointments, but a firm will appear only once on it, irrespective of the number of offices it has within the area covered by the rota, or the number of licensed insolvency practitioners at those locations.
  5. The local rota will be used for those cases which the official receiver decides require the appointment by the Secretary of State of an insolvency practitioner.
  6. Where a case is with a Long Term Asset Unit (LTAU, formerly Regional Trustee Liquidator Unit) or National Dividend Unit (NDU), then any Secretary of State appointment will be from the rota for the County Court area in which the case originated.
  7. A named insolvency practitioner in each firm on the rota will have responsibility for the certification that each insolvency practitioner in the firm is duly authorised and qualified to act, and that the firm meets the criteria for membership.
  8. Where the official receiver becomes aware that an insolvency practitioner firm on the rota fails to meet the criteria, that firm will be removed from it and, if appropriate and subject to any representations from the firm, will consider reporting the insolvency practitioner to their recognised professional body.
  9. A record will be kept of insolvency practitioners and their appointments. The rota will record details of the cases offered and accepted and rejected by each insolvency practitioner, and the official receiver’s office dealing with the administration of the case and published on a quarterly basis.
  10. In general, the insolvency practitioner next on the list should be offered the case.  If there is a reason for that insolvency practitioner not to accept the appointment (for example a lack of resources to deal with a large or complicated case or a conflict of interest), then the next suitable insolvency practitioner on the rota should be chosen.
  11. If an insolvency practitioner repeatedly declines appointments, then the official receiver may consider removing the firm from the rota.
  12. The rota will be publically available on the Insolvency Service Website (iprota.xls). This will includes details of the insolvency practitioner firms on every local office rota.
  13. The criteria for inclusion in a local rota and the official receiver’s Guidelines will also be published on the website.
  14. Any complaints regarding the operation of the rota will be dealt with by the official receiver in the first instance under The Service’s complaints procedure.
  15. Official receivers will undertake periodic audit and review of the operation of and membership of their rotas.
  16. The certificate will take effect on 1 October 2012 and will last for 2 years.  Insolvency practitioners then wishing to remain on the rotas will be required to re-certify.  Insolvency practitioners will be reminded of the need to re-certify via Dear IP and through R3 prior to October 2014 but there will be no specific reminders sent out to individual firms. Failure to re-certify will result in removal from the rota.  


Criteria for inclusion in local rota  

The existing underlying principles for participation and operation of insolvency practitioner rotas are not changing. The guidelines set out above contain some clarification of detail and restriction to single membership of it by firm, the eligibility requirements for inclusion on a rota remain as at present. 

For clarification the criteria for inclusion are: 

  1. Insolvency practitioners must operate within the area covered by the official receiver and have a genuine local presence.
  2. A PO Box address or other similar form of communication does not demonstrate evidence of a local presence.
  3. The insolvency practitioner’s office must occupy and operate from an office within the boundaries of the courts attached to the official receiver.
  4. The insolvency practitioner firm’s office must be permanently staffed within normal office hours.
  5. The staff must have sufficient knowledge to deal with directors, bankrupts, creditors and debtors.
  6. The insolvency practitioner with conduct of the case need not be based at the office, but must exercise appropriate supervision of the day to day casework and be available for meetings at the office during normal working hours.
  7. The day to day administration of the case need not be carried out at the office within the area of the rota.  Staff at the office must have access to the information files and be able to respond to all enquiries within a reasonable amount of time.


Updated by ORBS, July 2012