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Insolvency Service to streamline regional offices 30 June 2011

The government agency has launched a consultation document setting out its delivery strategy, entitled Shaping our Future, that sets out how it will carry out the bulk of its work in the years ahead.

On launching the document, the service said that falling case numbers, a reduction in the level of recoverable fees and government spending cuts have all put unsustainable pressure on its current operating models.

The service has no plans to make any staff redundant as a result of its proposals.

Its consultation document states: “We decided that in the short to medium term it would be necessary to close a small number of offices to address some of the issues which have arisen from the financial situation we find ourselves in.”

It identifies Bournemouth, Canterbury, Gloucester, Medway, Stockton and Swansea as being at risk of closure.

But it adds that because funds do not currently exist to close or merge offices, it is unlikely that any offices will close this financial year. Any office closure programme will have to be spread over a small number of years starting in 2012, the document reveals.

London, St Albans and Watford offices are also identified as locations where there is a need to take action to cut costs.

The consultation also highlights areas in which the service has already made savings or where further cuts are required.

It investigation and enforcement services unit faces a cut of 22 per cent to its administration spend during the spending review, while the redundancy payments services unit is facing cuts of 25 per cent.

The service has made savings in the region of £25m through staff redundancies and releasing non permanent staff – with 470 people exiting the organisation. The service now has around 2,000 full-time staff, but an overcapacity of around 1,500 workstations.

Along with falling case numbers and lower values of assets in bankrupt estates, The Insolvency Service points out that HM Courts and Tribunals Service is looking to exit court work which is uncontested, including most cases that end up with the official receiver.

As well as withdrawing from its role of regulating individual IPs, the service is working with HM Courts and Tribunal Service on taking debtor petitioning out of the courts, and integrating it into the work of the official receiver.

The consultation started on June 27 and will run until Friday August 5.



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