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Insolvency Service of Ireland Hosts Conference to Develop Protocols

Wednesday, 12th February 2014:

The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) is bringing together more than 300 creditors and practitioners for a conference in Dublin Castle today. The purpose of this operations-focussed conference is to encourage information sharing between Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIPs), Approved Intermediaries (AIs), and representatives of creditors; to provide them with updates of any emerging trends, issues, solutions and best practice and to concentrate on the practical aspects of acting as a practitioner and making applications. A major aim of the conference is to initiate development of protocols for two of the new debt solutions under the Personal Insolvency Act, the Debt Settlement Arrangement and the Personal Insolvency Arrangement.  Protocols will make the insolvency application process simpler and faster for creditors, practitioners and debtors.  

The development of these two protocols does not require any amendments to existing legislation and is in line with best practice in other jurisdictions. In fact, a similar protocol was developed in England and Wales for the Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), which is comparable to the Debt Settlement Arrangement (DSA) in Ireland. Once agreed and adopted, it resulted in significant acceptance rates by creditors – exceeding 90%.

Speaking about the event, Lorcan O’Connor, Director of the ISI said:
"Significant progress has been made in the area of personal insolvency in recent months and today’s conference is the next step. We’re starting a conversation on best practice among the practitioners who prepare applications and the creditors who receive them.  Developing a protocol is a gradual process and takes time and careful consideration from stakeholders. However, once agreed it will make the debt solutions more efficient and less time consuming for everyone involved. We’ve seen from other jurisdictions that having a protocol works. It streamlines the application process and increases acceptance rates. This is good news for people who are struggling with debt."

Alan Shatter T.D., Minister for Justice and Equality will deliver the opening address at today’s conference, followed by an update on the Insolvency Service of Ireland from the Director Lorcan O’Connor.  Insolvency experts from both Ireland and the UK will present their insights, experiences and perspectives in a series of presentations. Speakers include Nick Howard, Head of Insolvency Practitioner Regulation at the Insolvency Service of England and Wales, Gill Bradshaw, UK Collections and Recoveries Specialist and Consultant with Permanent TSB, Tom Kennedy, Chairman of the Association of Personal Insolvency Practitioners (APIP) and representatives from the ISI. The conference will be followed by a practical workshop for PIPs in the afternoon.

"Over the past number of months, we have authorised 115 Personal Insolvency Practitioners who can provide services to debtors in the furtherance of a DSA or PIA application. In addition we have authorised 30 MABS companies as Approved Intermediaries with 72 people trained and recognised by the ISI to provide services to debtors in the making Debt Relief Notice applications.  They are reporting a significant increase in the numbers of enquiries from people who need their services," said Lorcan O’Connor.  "The number of cases being submitted to the ISI and the Courts is expected to increase considerably over the coming months and protocols will help to streamline the new debt solution arrangements."

The ISI plans to complete a Debt Solution Arrangement (DSA) protocol in April of this year, followed by a Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) protocol. A Debt Solutions Protocol Steering Group is being established by the ISI, consisting of representatives from practitioners, creditors and debtors.  The Insolvency Service of Ireland is seeking applications from: 

  • Small and large firms of Personal Insolvency Practitioners;
  • Creditors representing a wide distribution of creditor interests; and 
  • Individuals or organisations representing as wide a range of debtors as possible .

Members must be suitably qualified and available for regular meetings over the coming months. Further information on the Debt Solutions Protocol Steering Group is available at http://www.isi.gov.ie/en/IS I/Pages/WP14000010

ENDS