HC Deb 30 April 1998 vol 311 cc238-9W
Mr. Derek Twigg

To ask the President of the Board of Trade when the revised framework document for the Insolvency Service is to be published. [40804]

Mrs. Beckett

The document has been published today. Copies of the document and of the evaluation of the agency's performance have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Mr. Ruane

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what targets she has set her Department's Insolvency Service Executive Agency for 1998–99. [40806]

Mrs. Beckett

Against the Insolvency Service's planning assumption that compulsory insolvencies will total 26,000 in the year to 31 March 1999, I have set it the target of completing 26,500 cases so that the number of cases outstanding as at 31 March 1999 is no more than 17,000 (around 8 months input), with no more than 9% of cases being more than 36 months old. I have also set it the target of reducing administrative costs of bankruptcy and compulsory liquidation case administration in 1998–99 by 1%. The Services's investigation resource is being maintained at 1997–98 levels, and I would therefore expect it to continue to take proceedings against unfit directors and to report on cases of criminal misconduct at least at the levels achieved in the year to 31 March 1998.

In addition, I have set the Service the following quality of service targets for 1998–99: to report to creditors on assets and liabilities within 8 weeks in at least 96% of all cases, and within 12 weeks in 98% of all cases; to hold the initial meetings of creditors within 12 weeks in 96% of all appropriate cases, and within 4 months in 98% of all appropriate cases; to submit reports within 10 months in at least 90% of bankruptcy cases, and at least 80% of company liquidation cases where there is evidence of criminality; to submit disqualification reports within 15 months in at least 80% of cases where there is evidence of unfit conduct by directors; and to check and action at least 97% of Insolvency Services Account payment requisitions within 4 days or by the due date.

I also expect the Service to action 97% of invoices for payment within 30 days of receipt and the Agency Chief Executive to reply within 10 days to all letters from Members of Parliament delegated to him for reply.