IPs' responsibilities and monitoring visits during the Covid-19 outbreak

Given the recent changes in the Government’s position on the Covid-19 outbreak, we wanted to address IPs’ responsibilities at the present time, and outline the position with our forthcoming insolvency monitoring visits.

We’re aware from enquiries we’ve received over the last week that many firms have already been implementing contingency plans to protect their staff, and to close their offices, with staff working remotely from home wherever possible. 

Given the current position, we wanted to confirm some fundamentals that remain important at this time.

Clearly IPs should ensure that insolvency funds and assets are properly protected, with assets, estate funds and data all fully secured during any periods of IP / staff absence.

We have received a number of enquiries about the approach we will take to statutory compliance in a period when staff are working remotely or there are absences as IPs and staff may be ill and /or self-isolating. While we would expect you to have robust contingency plans in place, we accept that the current position is unprecedented. While we would hope that you are able to work remotely with minimum disruption, there will inevitably be cases where statutory deadlines are missed. When carrying out future monitoring visits we will consider such issues realistically and pragmatically. Where you are unable to meet statutory timeframes at this time it would be helpful if you could document the position, the reason, and then deal with the statutory event as soon as you can.

It’s also important that you ensure that you have a nominated alternate, and that we as your RPB are aware of their identity, so that if necessary during any protracted period of inability to work, creditors and estates are not prejudiced.

If you have a monitoring visit scheduled for the next two months or so, we will contact you to explore the possibility of carrying out the visit remotely. Where you have an electronic case management system we’ll be exploring the possibility of remote access, or the possibility of you giving us a laptop with a download of the relevant files. Opening and closing meetings will be held by phone. Some firms without electronic case management systems have already offered to courier hard copy files to their reviewer.  We hope you’ll work with us at this difficult time to ensure that we can continue our work.

If you have any specific queries, please email them to me at allison.broad@icaew.com