Insolvency Service Newsletter Winter 2020


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Winter 2020


Dean Beale confirmed as Insolvency Service head

dean beale

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has confirmed Dean Beale as Chief Executive and Inspector-General of the Insolvency Service following a competitive recruitment process.

Dean has been acting as interim chief executive since September and was previously a member of the agency’s senior management team as Director of Strategy and Change, where he was responsible for overseeing policy development, regulation of the insolvency sector and leading the agency’s transformation programme. He has worked in insolvency for over 20 years in both the public and private sectors. Previous roles include being an Official Receiver and a forensic accountant.

The Chair of the Insolvency Service Board, Steve Allinson, said Dean has been an integral member of the Insolvency Service management team for a number of years and his wide range of operational and corporate experience make him uniquely placed for this important role.

“The agency is charged with performing important and high-profile public functions and I am very pleased on a personal and professional level that Dean has become the new Chief Executive after a very detailed and thorough appointment process. I know that he has a clear vision on how he wishes the Service to deliver its crucial and wide-ranging work.

“In addition, he is committed to ensure, with the Board and his senior team, that we continue to improve and move forward as an organisation for the benefit of all those many individuals, businesses and stakeholders with whom interaction occurs on a very regular basis”.

Supporting Thomas Cook employees

Thomas Cook aircraft

The liquidation of Thomas Cook had a major impact on hundreds and thousands of travellers and suppliers – as well as its more than 9,000 employees.

The Redundancy Payments Service was able to use our new bulk processing facility to streamline the processing of redundancy and other claims. Most employees were entitled to claim for several components (for example redundancy payments, arrears of pay, accrued holiday pay) which require different authentication information.

To ensure former employees received some payments as soon as possible a decision was taken to prioritise the processing of redundancy payments, rather than wait for all information to be received enabling a single payment covering all elements. Within the first month of the liquidation over 98% of employees had received at least 1 payment. RPS has now paid over £40,900,000 to former Thomas Cook employees, processing payments on average within 3-4 days, well in advance of our 14 day average target.

In addition to focusing on paying claims as quickly as possible, RPS also partnered with DWP, Citizens Advice, local councils and the Pensions Advisory Service and participated in two separate job fairs for former Thomas Cook employees in Peterborough and Manchester. Over the two events our staff spoke with 400 people on a one-to-one basis and thousands in group settings. The focus was on how to make claims, what payments we can make, how much we can pay and the timetable for receiving money.

BHS investigation concludes

The Insolvency Service’s investigation into the collapse of the BHS department store chain has concluded, with the final of 4 directors targeted for disqualification giving an undertaking to not run or be involved with the promotion of any other company until 2025.

The liquidation of BHS in December 2016 triggered the largest investigation to that time by the Insolvency Service into the cause of the company’s failure and the conduct of its directors. A total of 37,000,000 electronic documents were secured, 1,400,000 of which were subjected to further analysis, face-to-face interviews with directors and third parties yielded thousands of additional pages of evidence, and our investigators liaised closely with other regulators who were also examining matters to do with the company’s collapse.

In January Lennard Henningson agreed to provide a 5 year undertaking ahead of scheduled proceedings in the High Court bought by the Insolvency Service. In 2019 his fellow directors Dominic Chappell and Joseph Chappell were handed director bans by the Court for 10 and 5 years respectively, and Colin Sutton provided a 5 year disqualification undertaking in 2018.

First compensation order made

The High Court recently made the first order in an insolvency case under new powers to seek compensation from disqualified directors.

Kevin William Eagling, was disqualified for the maximum 15 year period in May 2019 for transferring £559,484 from Noble Vintners Limited to a second company he was sole director of, in the year before the wine investment vehicle entered a creditors’ voluntary liquidation in June 2017.

Compensation orders were introduced in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and enables the Insolvency Service to seek compensation for misconduct occurring after that date in companies in insolvency proceedings. The additional power provides an avenue for us to seek redress for creditors who have lost a clearly identifiable amount.

Mr Eagling now resides in Northern Cyprus and the Insolvency Service is attempting to enforce recovery from him.

We’ve launched our new blog!

Insolvency Service Blog frontpage

Since our last newsletter, we’ve launched our new Insolvency Service blog.

The blog let’s those either working or with an interest in the Insolvency Service share their thoughts and experiences. The aim of the blog is to not only drill down into the valuable work we do for our users and the economy, but also tell the stories that do not often get told.

Staff from across the agency will use it to provide insights into the work they do and how we are contributing to corporate social responsibility. The blog has already featured how we investigate company director misconduct, a personal perspective from inside the Debt Relief Order team and what we are doing to champion diversity at the Insolvency Service, amongst other subjects.

We’re planning lots of content for 2020, so be sure to subscribe for updates when new posts are published.

Insolvency Live! 2020

We will be hosting our annual stakeholder forum for debt advice and insolvency professionals again this coming July.  At present we are developing the programme for the 1-day event. If you have ideas about workshops you would like to attend, or issues for discussion with our senior staff, we would welcome hearing from you. Please email We will invite registration for Insolvency Live! in May.

Customer service recognised

The Insolvency Service recently achieved reaccreditation of the Customer Service Excellence standard – gaining our highest rating of the 21 annual assessments we have now completed.

Our submission to the independent assessor was made up of 100 pieces of evidence from across the agency, demonstrating how we incorporate customer perspectives in our service delivery. The assessor also visited 2 of our offices to see how we operate first hand, meeting both our staff and customers.

HQ on the move: from Westminster to Stratford in 9 months

1 Westfield Avenue

In our last issue we told you about our plans to move our London office out of Westminster to modern premises in Stratford, in the newly built International Quarter on the edge of the Olympic Park.

After 9 months of planning, the move took place during November. The end of the lease at our previous premises in Westminster provided the opportunity to create a new, modernised office space which has halved our ongoing running costs, is futureproofed, and delivers an improved working environment for our 250 London-based colleagues.

Our new address is 1 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London, E20 1HZ.

Fraud masterclass

A masterclass run by our criminal investigation team in partnership with the Midland Fraud Forum brought together over 70 insolvency practitioners, lawyers, accountants, civil servants and law enforcement officers to learn about how the Insolvency Service’s role in tackling financial wrong doing.

The Insolvency Service is involved in a number of regional fraud fora which bring together law enforcement, business and professionals in the fight against fraud. The recent masterclass aimed to better equip professionals to work together so as to pose a genuine threat to those who act unlawfully within the insolvency regime.

Insolvency statistics

View our latest statistics releases on company and individual insolvencies.

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