Addressing delegates at the Insolvency Today North West Conference in Manchester, Claire Entwistle, director of company investigations (North) at the Insolvency Service, said asset rich cases were no longer covering those cases with low on non-existent assets.
She explained: "For us, case numbers are falling. This year we were predicted to do 50,000 cases and it is not going to be that many. It looks likes that trend will continue and the numbers will go down even further next year.
"We are seeing cases with very low asset bases and the asset rich cases can’t cover the asset poor cases. We are looking at this and are finding that our fee structure is not really viable going forward so we have had to look at the cost base."
Entwistle confirmed the story that Insolvency News broke last month in relation to the restructuring of the organisation.
She said: "Over the summer we did a huge staff consultation. We have gone out to every single office and explained the preferred option for the future. The have decided that we will be moving towards eight regional centres with 17 local offices.
"These will be located so there is maximum access. For the moment, the work will be moved and not the people and we will have to get the IT infrastructure to support that.
"There is a big project going on internally. The local OR might move, covering two or three offices. We are also closing some of the offices. Medway and Bournemouth are closing in 2012 and Stockton in 2013. There may be more office closures as well."
Enwistle explained that, in the past, the service had expanded each office as and when it was deemed necessary, but that was thought unsustainable in the current climate.
"We have had to let some of our staff go and, because people have been lost in different places, we are trying to address that and ensure we have optimum management in the right areas. We have accommodation that we are not fully utilising. These changes are not going to happen overnight."
D Return consultation
Entwistle also revealed that a full review was underway looking at the associated administration with D Returns.
She added: "We are going to try to make changes to the D Return to ensure that we get better information. We are also looking at improving the guidance that we give practitioners."
Pictured: Carl Faulds was among those questioning the Insolvency Service over the proposals.
By Joe McGrath in Manchester