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Under the Insolvency Act 1986, ICAEW is a recognised professional body and the Insolvency Licensing Committee (ILC) carries out certain regulatory responsibilities. The main work involves reviewing Quality Assurance Department (QAD) reports on visits to insolvency practitioners (IPs), responses to these reports and deciding if any regulatory action is needed. The committee may need to consider other information to satisfy itself that IPs remain fit and proper to be licensed. The committee also deals with new applications for an insolvency licence, and considers complaints against IPs in the regulated area of insolvency.

The committee carries out its responsibilities within the framework of the general duties and procedural requirements for committees set out in Annex 6 of the Scheme of Delegations. It also carries out its responsibilities in accordance with the Insolvency Licensing standards and guidance, the Insolvency Licensing Regulations, its terms of reference and any guidance issued by the ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB).

The committee has a minimum of eight members, of whom at least half must be lay members. The chair of the committee can either be a lay member or an accountant. For these purposes, a ‘lay member’ means someone who is not and has never been a member, affiliate or employee of ICAEW or any other accountancy body. The requirements of the constitution of the committee are contained in its Terms of Reference. Members are appointed for a term of three years which may be renewed once, with a further option for extension for one additional term.

The committee may not include any person who is a member of the Investigation, Disciplinary or Appeal Committees. Members of Council do not serve on the committee. 

Function of the committee

The primary function of the committee is to ensure:

  • IPs licensed by ICAEW are fit and proper persons to act and meet acceptable requirements for education, practical training and experience; and
  • the good reputation of licensed IPs with the public is maintained.

The committee is responsible for:

  • granting applications for authorisation and for insolvency affiliate status;
  • granting applications for authorisation and for insolvency affiliate status subject to restrictions or conditions;
  • refusing applications for authorisation and for insolvency affiliate status;
  • dealing with applications for renewals of insolvency licences;
  • granting or refusing dispensation from the requirements of these regulations; 
  • requesting undertakings from a licence holder;
  • imposing restrictions or conditions on the acceptance of appointments or on the conduct of insolvency work by a licence holder;
  • ordering a targeted visit to the office or offices of a licence holder and deciding the terms of reference of the visit and the charge or basis of the charge for the visit;
  • proposing a regulatory penalty it considers appropriate to a licence holder;
  • withdrawing authorisation and insolvency affiliate status;
  • reviewing the returns and reports made under these regulations and investigating failure to make returns or reports;
  • making appropriate enquiries into the eligibility of a licence holder or an applicant for authorisation or for insolvency affiliate status (by writing, visiting the office or offices of a licence holder, or in any other way);
  • making appropriate enquiries to confirm that a licence holder or insolvency affiliate is complying with these regulations (by writing, visiting a licence holder’s offices, using a periodic return, or in any other way);
  • reviewing all reports and complaints about a licence holder or insolvency affiliate;
  • requiring a licence holder or an applicant for authorisation or for insolvency affiliate status to disclose and/or submit any information which the ILC considers appropriate. Such information may include books, papers and records about the licence holder or applicant or any firm with which he is connected and about the licence holder’s appointments;
  • publishing, in any manner it decides, its orders or decisions if it considers this appropriate;
  • making such orders as may be necessary to effect an orderly winding down or transfer of appointments.

Operation of the committee

The committee normally meets six times a year, usually at Chartered Accountants’ Hall. The quorum for a meeting of the committee is four members, two of whom are ICAEW members and two lay members. 

At each meeting, the committee is assisted by a committee administrator and a committee secretary. The committee secretary is a solicitor who supports the committee by providing both legal and procedural advice, when required. 

The committee may also seek advice from any source that it considers appropriate to enable it to discharge its responsibilities.

All decisions relating to the granting of applications (unless otherwise delegated) and to the restriction or withdrawal of a licence may be dealt with by a sub-committee but must be ratified by the full committee (which does not, however, need to meet for the purpose).

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