Complaints procedure

How to make a complaint about the Insolvency Service.

We’re committed to providing a professional, fair, efficient, courteous and helpful service to all our users including creditors, insolvency practitioners, bankrupts, directors, redundant employees or indeed anyone we interact with.

However, if you are not satisfied with the service you have received from us, we want you to tell us. We can then try to resolve your complaint and ensure it does not happen again. This guide tells you how to make a complaint about the service we provide.

How do I make my complaint (Tier 1)?

In the first instance you should try to resolve the complaint by taking it up immediately with the person you have been dealing with or their immediate manager. If you can’t resolve the problem this way then you can write to one of the following people depending on the nature of your complaint:

Office/Section Address complaint to
Official Receiver’s office The Official Receiver
The Insolvency Adjudicator’s Office The Deputy Adjudicator
Long Term Asset & Distribution Team The Official Receiver
Debt Relief Order Team The Deputy Official Receiver
Redundancy Payments Office The Office Manager
Companies Investigation Section The Supervisor
Headquarters The Section Head

Full address details can be found on our website at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/insolvency-service.

Alternatively you can complete our online complaint form.

If you are unsure about who to contact, you can get the relevant details from the Insolvency Enquiry Line.

Insolvency enquiry line

For information about the insolvency process contact the Insolvency Enquiry Line during office hours (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday). Emails sent outside of these times won’t be received until the next working day.

We can give you general information about: insolvency, what official receivers do and where you can go to get the information or advice you need.

We can’t give you: legal or financial advice, information on specific insolvency cases, information or advice on matters directly relating to other government departments.

What should I include in my complaint?

Please include:

  • your name and address
  • if applicable, the name of the bankrupt or insolvent company, including the court reference and/or case reference if known
  • details of what has led to the complaint, if it is not about an insolvency case
  • copies of any correspondence or documents about your complaint
  • the name of the member of staff you first wrote or spoke to and when. This will help us find the relevant information as quickly as possible
  • details about what has gone wrong or has not been handled to your satisfaction
  • how you would like us to resolve your complaint.

What if I am not satisfied with the initial response (Tier 2)?

If you are not satisfied with the initial response to your complaint, you should write to one of the following people depending on the nature of your complaint:

Office/Section Address complaint to
Official Receiver’s office The Senior Official Receiver
Long Term Asset & Distribution Team The Head of Section
Debt Relief Order team The Official Receiver
Redundancy Payments office The Head of Section
Companies Investigation Section The Director
Headquarters The Director

By then you should have been given their details but if not you can contact the Insolvency Enquiry Line for assistance.

Insolvency enquiry line

For information about the insolvency process contact the Insolvency Enquiry Line during office hours (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday). Emails sent outside of these times won’t be received until the next working day.

We can give you general information about: insolvency, what official receivers do and where you can go to get the information or advice you need.

We can’t give you: legal or financial advice, information on specific insolvency cases, information or advice on matters directly relating to other government departments.

What if my complaint has still not been resolved (Tier 3)?

If you remain dissatisfied with the response you can ask the Insolvency Service Chief Executive to look into your complaint. The Chief Executive has overall responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Insolvency Service and is accountable to Parliament for the Insolvency Service’s performance and use of public money.

This is normally the final tier of the complaints process. You can contact the Chief Executive by sending details of your complaint to: insolvency.complaints@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk or

Chief Executive (Complaints)
The Insolvency Service
4 Abbey Orchard Street
London, SW1P 2HT

The Chief Executive will not be able to help if your complaint is about either a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or a subject access request for personal information under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Can I take my case to the Ombudsman?

If you are dissatisfied with the Insolvency Service’s final response from the Chief Executive, you can ask your Member of Parliament (MP) to raise your concerns with the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

Before you contact your MP, however, please note that the Parliamentary Ombudsman will expect you to have first completed any relevant internal complaints and appeals processes unless there are exceptional reasons for not having done so.

You cannot put a complaint directly to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman is independent of the Government. You will find information on the Ombudsman’s role from www.ombudsman.org.uk or in its leaflet ‘What to do if you’re unhappy with UK government services’.

What standards of service can I expect from you?

We aim to give a high standard of service but we may occasionally make a mistake. If this happens, you can expect any or a combination of the following:

  • an apology
  • an explanation
  • an assurance that the same mistake will not happen again
  • details of the action taken to put things right
  • in certain circumstances, financial compensation

We aim to reply to 85% of tier one and two complaints within 10 working days of receipt. Where this is not possible, we will write to you within five working days to explain and tell you when a full reply can be expected. We aim to fully reply to 95% of tier one and two complaints within 20 working days.

As tier three complaints tend to be more complex in nature, we aim to investigate and conclude 80% of these complaints within three months of receipt. We aim to acknowledge receipt of tier three complaints within five working days.

We recognise that each complaint is different, so we will deal with it in a way that is appropriate.

Claiming back your costs from us

If we make a mistake or cause an unreasonable delay, you may be entitled to claim any additional costs you have incurred as a direct result. The compensation will depend on the nature and circumstances of the mistake, and the actual loss or costs you incur as a direct result. Each claim is considered on its own merits.

Compensation for worry and distress caused directly by the Insolvency Service

Unfortunately the nature of our business sometimes leads to stress and worry for our customers. We have no control over this, but we recognise that any mistakes or unreasonable delays could cause you inconvenience or irritation. If our actions have affected you in this way, please let us know. We may be able to pay you some compensation to acknowledge and apologise for the way we have treated you.

These payments, which are not intended to put a value on the distress you have suffered, usually range from £25 to £250.

Further mistakes or delays in dealing with your complaint

If we handle your complaint badly or take an unreasonable amount of time to deal with it, we may pay you compensation on top of any reasonable costs. Again, these payments usually range from £25 to £250.

What if my complaint is not about the Insolvency Service?

If you have concerns about the conduct of a bankrupt or director, you should contact the official receiver (or the insolvency practitioner if one has been appointed as trustee or liquidator). They will consider whether it is right to investigate or take other action.

Alternatively, if you feel that a disqualified director or undischarged bankrupt is not complying with the restrictions imposed on them, you may register your concerns by calling the Investigations Hotline on 0300 678 0017. The Hotline is open 24 hours a day to take your call, and you can find more information about it on our website.

Again, we will consider whether a full investigation would be right.

If you want to complain about a particular government policy or legislation on insolvency or employment rights, you can write to the relevant minister or your local MP. For help in identifying the minister or your MP, you can contact your local library or Citizens Advice Bureau, or you can find their details on the House of Commons website.

If you want to complain about an order made by the court, for example if you consider the court should not have made you bankrupt, you should approach the court.

If you want to complain about any error or decision by a private-sector insolvency practitioner trustee or liquidator, you should approach the court that is dealing with the bankruptcy or winding-up. Only the court has the power to reverse or alter an insolvency practitioner’s decisions or give them directions.

If your complaint is about the professional conduct of a private-sector insolvency practitioner trustee or liquidator, you should contact the Complaints Gateway.

All complaints relating to regulated work carried out by an insolvency practitioner authorised by a participating Recognised Professional Body should be forwarded in the first instance to the Complaints Gateway.

The guidance may help you determine if you actually need to make a complaint and help you through the process.

Complaints can be made online, by email, or letter.

More information

Complaints are monitored to ensure we meet our standards in dealing with complaints and that we identify necessary improvements.