The introduction last month of The Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016 was the biggest change in insolvency legislation since the 1986 Insolvency Act. The aim of the rule changes was to simplify procedures, reduce costs and to promote creditor engagement. It is of course early days yet. With so many changes involved, the industry is currently having to adapt to comply with the new rules and firms are assessing how to apply them correctly for new jobs. In order to make this transition easier, we have created many new options within IPS and have issued new diary templates. These changes were included with the IPS upgrade released on 31st March 2017.
The most significant change as a result of the new rules is the replacement of creditor meetings with ‘decision processes’. In essence, if an IP wants or needs a decision from the creditors on a case, the creditors are now notified of the process and they can then do one of two things. They can either vote on the decision (decision process), or object to a decision created under the ‘deemed consent’ provisions. Options have been added within IPS to enable recording and reporting on the outcome of all decision processes. An IP may only call a virtual meeting, however creditors still have the right to request that a physical meeting be held.
Another major change for IPS users is the complete redesign of our creditor portal https://www.ips-docs.com incorporating a more streamlined, secure login for creditors. The new look portal gives IPs the ability to upload decision processes and meeting details (virtual or physical) thus allowing the creditor to vote, object and link to virtual meetings from one central location. The redesign was achieved by involving both IPS users and creditors to ensure we have an efficient and compliant solution. Since the release of the latest IPS upgrade, the increase in uptake and use of the creditor portal has demonstrated to us that the changes are extremely beneficial. And of course, there is no additional charge to use the portal.
Documentation has also changed. Previously all Companies House forms were created as Word documents whereas now the new forms are PDFs. A huge amount of effort has gone into ensuring that these PDF forms merge smoothly with IPS data.
The new update signals the withdrawal of prescribed forms, with the exception of Companies House forms, court forms and some Insolvency Service forms. Due to this change, we worked with our professional compliance advisors to re-code all existing forms, removing or replacing legislative references to ensure that the documents were compliant.
The use of email to communicate and the use of websites to host documents were formalised in the new rules. It is hoped that this will result in greater creditor engagement in the process and is to be actively encouraged. This has been demonstrated on our part with the IPS creditor portal, which now allows creditors to vote and claim.
Since the update, all of us at Turnkey have been monitoring user feedback to ensure that any issues reported are quickly resolved.
In addition to the IPS software update, we also held our inaugural user webinar in April. This proved to be extremely popular with our users and was also recorded and sent to those who were unable to attend on the day. A further webinar is planned for the end of May and then monthly thereafter.
For our part, the new rules have meant a lot of time spent understanding requirements before we could then work to incorporate these changes within IPS. The development time should not be underestimated! This was a substantial program change and user input in the preceding months was much appreciated. As per our recent marketing message ‘You speak, we listen’… and that’s how we get it right!