What can we investigate?
Note: This information refers to investigations into companies which have entered into formal insolvency proceedings in England, Wales and Scotland. For information on investigations into companies and limited liability partnerships that are actively trading, or which have ceased trading without entering into insolvency proceedings, using powers under the Companies Acts. Please click here for information about company investigation.
Complaints against companies in compulsory liquidation in England and Wales are dealt with by the official receiver, who will report any matters of concern to the Secretary of State.
Where a company has entered into compulsory liquidation in Scotland or non-compulsory formal insolvency proceedings, such as administration, administrative receivership and voluntary liquidation in England, Wales and Scotland, it is the insolvency practitioner who has been appointed in the proceedings who is initially responsible for dealing with any complaints. They then have a statutory duty under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 to send a report to the Secretary of State if they consider that a director’s conduct as a director of that company makes them unfit to be concerned in the management of a company.
The Insolvency Service, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, reviews these reports and any other information received and, where we decide that there is sufficient good reason to investigate and that investigation is in the public interest, we may investigate with a view to disqualification. (Note: Any action relating to the recovery of assets and case administration remains the responsibility of the insolvency practitioner.)
The Service can also investigate individuals who breach the terms of disqualification orders/ undertakings, bankruptcy orders, debt relief orders, bankruptcy restrictions orders/ undertakings, debt relief restrictions orders/ undertakings and directors who re-use prohibited names.
We do not conduct criminal investigations. Where it appears that criminal offences may have been committed by the company or its officers, then we may pass the relevant information to BIS prosecution lawyers, the police or other investigation agencies, with a view to them carrying out a criminal investigation. Our Investigations Hotline is a contact point where you can report possible misconduct in companies or by individuals to the Insolvency Service. Please click here for further details about the Hotline.