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About us

The Insolvency Service exists to provide the framework and the means for dealing with financial failure in the economy and with the misconduct that is often associated with it. To achieve this we will maintain and develop a world-class insolvency law and regulatory framework; deliver key public services to support that framework; deliver and promote an effective investigation and enforcement regime; and ensure an organisation devoted to continuous improvement.

The Insolvency Service operates under a statutory framework – mainly the Insolvency Acts 1986 and 2000, the Company Directors Disqualifications Act 1986 and the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Companies Acts 1985 and 2006, as well as from a range of secondary legislation relating to these acts. The Service has around 2,100 staff, operating from 35 locations across Great Britain.

What we do


  • administer and investigate the affairs of bankrupts, individuals subject to debt relief orders, companies and partnerships wound up by the court, and establish why they became insolvent;
  • act as trustee/liquidator where no private sector insolvency practitioner is appointed;
  • act as nominee and supervisor in fast-track individual voluntary arrangements;
  • take forward reports of bankrupts’, individuals subject to debt relief orders, and directors’ misconduct;
  • deal with the disqualification of unfit directors in all corporate failures; 
  • deal with bankruptcy and debt relief restrictions orders and undertakings;
  • authorise and regulate the insolvency profession; 
  • assess and pay statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay its employees; 
  • provide estate accounting and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds; 
  • conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into companies where it is in the public interest to do so.
  • advise BIS ministers and other government departments and agencies on insolvency, redundancy and related issues; and
  • provide information to the public on insolvency and redundancy matters via our website, leaflets, Insolvency Enquiry Line and Redundancy Payments Helpline. 

For further information read our Annual Plan 2014-15 (PDF, 2.2 Mb)  

The Service’s working arrangements with BIS, and our respective roles and responsibilities, are set out in our Framework Document (PDF, 243 Kb) .

The Law in England and Wales relating to bankruptcy is different to that in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

For Scotland contact The Accountant in Bankruptcy

For information about insolvency in Northern Ireland contact the Insolvency Service Northern Ireland at the Department of Enterprise,Trade and Investment. 

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Other agencies

Insolvency information in Scotland contact. 


Insolvency information in Northern Ireland contact