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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: 
THE INSOLVENCY SERVICE
PUBLICATION SCHEME
The text on this page was amended June 2007

Publication Scheme documents are updated when required.

Content linked to from this page (e.g. minutes) is updated frequently.

 

Introduction

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) allows a person (subject to certain exemptions) to have access to recorded information held by public authorities. The Act has been introduced in stages and came fully into force on 1 January 2005.   

Under FOI, all public authorities have a duty to set out in a Publication Scheme what information they routinely publish and how they make it available to the public. In this scheme, authorities must set out:

  • the categories of information available;
  • how to obtain printed copies of the documents;
  • any cost for the copies;
  • how to request information not included in the publication scheme; and
  • how to complain if you are not satisfied with the contents of the scheme or how the authority has handled your request for information.

What information is available

The classes of information available under our scheme are listed under the following categories, which represent areas of our work:

  • Change Programme
  • Enforcement
  • Finance, Banking and Resources
  • Human Resources
  • Official Receiver Operations
  • Organisational Management
  • Policy and Technical
  • Redundancy Payments

Some documents (in particular information leaflets) are available in other languages, including Welsh. You can access a list of these publications and the languages that they are available in from our website. 

Documents will only be available for five years after publication, unless they are still in use. After five years, we will place documents that are no longer current in an archive and make individual copies available on request. 

   Conditions of our Publication Scheme

We make all the information published under the scheme available free of charge via our website. Some items, such as leaflets and guidance booklets on questions and issues which arise often, are also available in hard copy from The Insolvency Service and at Official Receiver’s offices, free of charge. Our annual report is on sale in hard copy from the Stationery Office (HMSO).

Our booklets can now be ordered from EC Group (formerly EC Logistics).  To do this you will need to either telephone/fax or e-mail your order, along with the URN and the address you wish them to be sent to.

By telephone: 0870 150 2500

By e-mail: publications@BIS.gsi.gov.uk

By fax: 0870 150 2333

Minicom users should telephone 0870 150 1200

The Service's policy at present is not to charge for information made available. This policy is under review. 

All material published is subject to Crown copyright, which is administered by HMSO. If you want to re-use or reproduce a document, commercially, for education or for other purposes, you will usually need to apply for a copyright licence. For HMSO guidance notes on a range of copyright issues, see its website.

How to access unpublished information

FOI also allows a person to have access to unpublished information held by public authorities. The Act provides that any person making a request for information is entitled:

a)     to be informed in writing whether that information is held, and

b)     if that is the case, to have that information communicated to them.

 

The Insolvency Service has published a set of “Frequently Asked Questions” which explain how you can submit a request for information, how we will deal with your request etc. In particular we would ask you to note that:-

 

§     the information you are seeking may already be available under this publication scheme, via our website or from the Individual Insolvency Register. Our Information Asset Register, which lists unpublished information which we hold, is available from the HMSO website.

§     FOI contains a number of exemptions which means that we may not be able to provide you with the requested information.

§     we may charge a fee for processing requests and we are not obliged to comply with requests for information costing more than £600.

 

Information provided in confidence

Information provided in confidence will be exempt from FOI if its disclosure would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any other person (section 41 FOI). However, people writing to The Service should be aware that just because a piece of correspondence may be marked “in confidence” or “confidential” (or some other equivalent) this does not mean that all the contents of that letter (email etc.) will be treated as confidential.

 

Requests for Personal Information – Data Protection Act 1998

The processing (including disclosure) of personal data, i.e. information relating to a living individual who can be identified from that data, still falls under the provisions of the Data Protection Act (DPA). This means that:-

 

§     if you want access to personal data about yourself you will need to submit a  “subject access request” under the DPA. We explain how you can request personal data in a document published as part of this scheme.

§     we will not be able to release information to you concerning another living individual if it means that we would breach the Data Protection Act.

 

Environmental Information Regulations 2004

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 came into force on 1 January 2005 and give people a right of access to environmental information held by public authorities. Further information on these Regulations is available from the Information Commissioner. To make a request (either verbally or in writing) for environmental information please contact the relevant Headquarters’ Section Head or Official Receiver - details of how to contact us are available from our website.

 

Complaints Procedure

If you are unhappy about the way we have handled your request for information we suggest that you contact the person who has answered your request to see if the matter can be resolved. 

 

If you are still dissatisfied, details of how you can make a formal complaint are provided in our “Complaints Procedure leaflet”.  

  

You may wish to complain to the Information Commissioner but we understand that The Commissioner is not obliged to consider your complaint until you have first exhausted the Insolvency Service’s own complaints procedure.

Published information

The information already published or which we will publish in the future is listed below under the Directorate responsible for the information. If a document or class of information is not yet available, we show in brackets the date we expect it to become available.

We publish guidance, which is available on the website and in hard copy. These form separate classes of information, not linked to any specific Directorate.

1) Publications

There are various publications in the following sections:

2) Change Programme Directorate is responsible for a programme of change which is being driven by both business and central government imperatives together with the information technology directorate, the computer user support team and e-business. 

3) Enforcement Directorate comprises various teams involved in disqualification matters and the Criminal Allegations Team. 

 

Disqualification

Criminal Allegations Team

4) Finance, Banking and Resources Directorate comprises finance, the operation of The Insolvency Service's account and property services and procurement (PSP).

 

Banking

Finance

PSP

5) Human Resources deal with employment issues relating to staff, including performance, training, discipline and grievance matters, and also deal with issues of corporate governance.

 

Corporate Governance

·         Corporate governance manual 

·         Managing risk 

 

Human Resources

6) Official Receiver Operations manages the overall work of Official Receivers’ offices.

The following classes of information are published:

7) Organisational Management covers the senior management of The Insolvency Service, including strategic decisions, overall management policy and customer service issues.

HQ Secretariat

8) Policy and Technical Directorate is responsible for insolvency legislation, the regulation of the insolvency profession and providing advice to Official Receivers on case administration.   

 

IP Policy Section

Insolvency Practitioner Unit

 

·        Insolvency practitioner database

 

Policy Unit

Technical Section

9) Redundancy Payment Directorate deals with claims from employees of businesses that have gone into formal insolvency or cannot or will not pay money owing. Subject to statutory limits, former employees may be entitled to unpaid wages, outstanding holiday pay, compensation for not receiving adequate notice of dismissal and redundancy pay.