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Insolvency Service proposes office closures 21 September 2011

Subject to a public consultation and rubber-stamping from the Department of Business Innovation & Skills (BIS), it is proposed that the Medway, Bournemouth and Stockton-on-Tees offices will close in 2012.

The Insolvency Service said the proposals are the result of a restructuring plan designed to cope with large-scale fluctuations in bankruptcies, such as those witnessed in recent months.

David Ward, director of communications at The Insolvency Service, confirmed that the head office, based in Bloomsbury Street may also be affected in the reshuffle with bosses mulling sites in Victoria and on the outskirts of London.

He explained: “The big proviso to that is that it is subject to affordability, so if there isn’t the money to do it, then we can’t do it.

“This is about equipping ourselves for the future. Overall, we are centralising back office work into eight large administration centres with two in each of our regions. It is a bit like a hub-and-spoke structural pattern.”

Staff at the Insolvency Service were told today of the proposed changes, although the organisation has, so far, been unable to give a definite number of people that may enter consultation with a view to redundancies.

Ward added: “A targeted voluntary exit scheme is something we may have to do. That wouldn’t be specifically in relation to offices closing, it would be in relation to targeting grades where we have significant excess capacity.

“There would be a range of options for people. It would depend on what situation they are in. We don’t know if case numbers are going to continue to go down – so this is all hypothetical. If they do, we would consider a voluntary target exit scheme as soon as practicable.

“We have found that bankruptcies have gone down and in the future, we need to be able to respond to changes in case numbers – whether we need to scale down or scale up. We need the right estate strategy in place to contract or expand quickly.”

As part of the restructure, eight, larger regional offices are due to be put into place at Swansea and Bristol, Canterbury and Croydon, Birmingham and Ipswich and Leeds and Stoke-on-Trent.



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