Government bankruptcy chiefs shed 440 jobs

MORE THAN 400 jobs are to go at a division of the Insolvency Service.
Official Receiver (OR) offices nationwide will see 440 posts go, a spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union told Accountancy Age.

The government body has been inundated with 680 applications from staff seeking to take voluntary since the cuts were revealed to staff. At the end of March 2010 the Insolvency Service employed 3,132 people including permanent, casual and agency workers.

A union spokesman said morale is low in OR offices which has suffered a high percentage of sick or absent employees over the last year.

There are 36 OR offices around the country. The OR deals with most bankruptcy cases and some corporate insolvency cases, such as company liquidations.

The government department believes bankruptcies will decline this year. However, personal insolvency experts expect bankruptcies to stay at record levels as public sector cuts take effect.

Insolvency ServiceA spokesman said: “The Insolvency Service has launched a voluntary exit scheme for its staff. Applications have been invited from all staff outside the senior civil service with an expectation that we will release around 400 staff.

“The scheme has become necessary principally because of further falls in the levels of new bankruptcies, which means that we must reduce our costs to reflect falling income from insolvency case administration fees. We hope to avoid any redundancies as far as possible.”

The deadline for employees to submit a redundancy application ended earlier this week. The maximum redundancy payout for an employee would be two years wages.

The PSCU is meeting with the Insolvency Service today to discuss redundancy packages and how the OR will function going forward.

“One concern we have is that there is a danger of cutting staff levels to such an extent that the agency cannot fulfil its purpose,” said the spokesman.

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