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We visit all our appointment-taking insolvency practitioners (IPs) as part of our monitoring process. For our larger firms that have consolidated their licensing with ICAEW or where we license several IPs in a firm, we will discuss the most efficient way to structure our visit. All our reviewers have had extensive experience of insolvency casework so are able to provide support and share experiences and best practice.

Your Insolvency Monitoring Review

Monitoring is an essential part of ICAEW’s role as a Recognised Professional Body (RPB). It’s used to ensure the insolvency practitioners (IPs) we license, remain fit and proper to hold their insolvency licence. And as an improvement regulator, we aim for our monitoring work to be constructive. We monitor all our appointment-taking IPs. If you work in a larger firm that has consolidated its licensing with ICAEW or in a firm where we license several IPs, we will discuss with you the most efficient way to structure our monitoring work.

All of our Quality Assurance Department (QAD) reviewers have had extensive experience of insolvency casework, and several are licensed IPs, so are able to provide support and share best practice.

During your review we will assess the procedures, processes and controls used to administer your insolvency cases. We will also review your most recent insolvency compliance reviews and a sample of your insolvency appointments.

We have a cycle-based approach for reviews, operating annual, three-yearly and six-yearly cycles. These are driven by the nature of the firm that IPs work in. We are required to review individual IPs at least once every six years. We also take a risk-based approach and may select IPs for more frequent monitoring reviews, depending on factors, such as:

  • regulatory intelligence we receive
  • increases in or significant caseloads
  • previous regulatory history.

If your firm is an ICAEW firm or has a contract with ICAEW for anti-money laundering (AML) supervision, we may carry out a Practice Assurance (PA) visit to your firm at the same time as your insolvency monitoring visit. Please refer to our leaflet Your Practice Assurance onsite review for more information.

Scheduling the review

A reviewer will contact you by phone to agree a date for your monitoring review. This will generally be around six weeks before the proposed review start date. After that call, you will receive confirmation of the review dates and will be asked to provide some prereview information.

Preparing for the review

Please provide all the requested prereview information by the deadline. Further information is in our leaflet: Your Insolvency Monitoring Review.

In the case of unforeseen circumstances in the days leading up to your visit, please email qadvisits@icaew.com, and we can agree an appropriate solution.

What you can expect from our visit

For guidance to support the work of ICAEW licensed IPs and their staff in conducting insolvency compliance reviews, including frequently asked questions, helpsheets, forms and checklists, along with a case analysis proforma that is available to download, further information can be found on our webpage, Your insolvency compliance review.

Annual return

The annual return is an integral part of ICAEW’s regulatory relationship with firms and IPs. There is a dedicated section of the return for information about the firm's insolvency practitioners and their work.

Insolvency monitoring process

The Memorandum of Understanding and the Principles for Monitoring agreed between the Insolvency Service and the recognised professional bodies (RPBs) underpin the insolvency licensing and monitoring regime.

The Memorandum of Understanding establishes the requirement for RPBs to monitor their insolvency licence holders, and the Principles for Monitoring set out criteria which the RPBs need to consider in their monitoring processes.

  • Monitoring cycle

    With the exception of IPs in larger insolvency practices (which have a significant number of IPs and dedicated compliance teams), we aim to see all our IPs on a three-year cycle. 

    We visit IPs in the larger practices over a six-year cycle, but visit some IPs in their firm each year. 

    We may select you for an earlier monitoring visit if you have a high volume of cases, or if there are other risk factors which suggest that an earlier visit might be appropriate, such as a high number of complaints. 

    We visit our IPs in volume IVA operations more frequently.

  • New licence holders

    If you’re a new licence holder, or have recently transferred your licence to ICAEW, you will be invited to a New IP Roadshow. These events are usually held in the first quarter of each year. 

    At the roadshow we outline the regulatory framework, explain what you can expect from a monitoring visit and share findings from our recent visits, so you can take steps to avoid them. 

    Your attendance at the roadshow will be followed by a phone call with a QAD reviewer. The reviewer will discuss your caseload; the technical and compliance support available to you; and your plans for an insolvency compliance review (ICR) or, if you’ve already had an ICR, the findings from that review. The reviewer will document the matters discussed and ask you to confirm their understanding.

    The timing of your first on-site visit will depend on the business environment in which you’re working, and your caseload. 

    If you’re in a firm whose IPs we have reviewed recently, or whose systems we know, your first monitoring visit will take place any time in the three years after your first appointment. 

    If, however, you’ve set up a new practice, or are working in a practice where we have no regulatory experience, your visit is likely to be much earlier. IPs in new practices find an early visit useful, especially as their systems are often still being developed, and they can benefit from our reviewers’ experience at other practices.

  • Follow-up calls

    If your previous visit was referred to ICAEW’s Insolvency Licensing Committee (ILC), you'll get a follow-up phone call around 18 months after your previous visit. 

    In this call the reviewer will discuss:

    • any changes within the practice since your last visit;
    • the issues at the time of your last monitoring visit and how they have been addressed;
    • issues from your latest ICR.

    After the call, the reviewer will document the matters discussed and ask you to confirm their understanding. There won’t be any formal correspondence after that.

  • Targeted visits
    ICAEW’s Insolvency Licensing Committee (ILC) can order a targeted visit to be carried out to the office or offices of a licence holder. The ILC decide the terms of reference for the visit and the basis of the charge for the visit. While the scope of a targeted visit will be determined by the ILC, the format of the visit will be similar to that for a routine visit. The reviewer will generally review a sample of case files and will give you details of the areas they want to discuss with you. Once we’ve reviewed the cases and discussed our questions with you, we will summarise our findings. We will then discuss them with you at a closing meeting. We will ask you to send us your written response to the findings in the closing meeting notes within 15 business days, by email.  Once we've received and reviewed your responses, we can finalise the visit. If the visit was ordered by the ILC we will need to report back to the ILC on the outcome of the visit. We will send you a copy of the report for your comment, before the ILC sees it.

Insolvency monitoring report

Prepared by ICAEW's quality assurance reviewers, this report is an invaluable resource for ICAEW IPs, whether you are preparing for your next insolvency monitoring review, or need to ensure you are complying with the latest Statements of Insolvency Practice (SIPs) – England and Wales.

It covers the key issues identified from insolvency reviews carried out in the last 12 months and points to the support and resources that are available.

Your Insolvency Monitoring Review

Information on what to expect at your insolvency monitoring review.

Download the leaflet