Masterclass: The Insolvency Service – “Lifting the Mist”

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Addleshaw Goddard, 3 Sovereign Square Street, Leeds, LS1 4ER

We are delighted to welcome the Insolvency Service for our first Masterclass of 2020. The Insolvency Service will be demystifying its principal functions, including how the service is structured, its internal processes and its powers, including statutory powers to investigate insolvencies, investigations into the conduct of directors involved in failed companies and criminal investigations.

The aim of the session is to promote better collaboration between organisations and The Insolvency Service and ensure that organisations know what help is available.


09:00Registration and refreshments
09:30Welcome & introductionBen Lowans, YHFF
09:35Introduction from The Insolvency ServiceClaire Entwistle, Assistant Director of Operations, North
09:40Official Receiver’s investigationsTerri Kelly, Official Receiver (Leeds)
10:10Insolvent investigationsRobert Clarke, Chief Investigator Insolvent Investigations North
10:40Confidential enquiries into limited companiesLee McKenna, Senior Investigator, Companies Live
11:30Criminal InvestigationsJohn Townsend, Criminal Investigator, North
12:00Financial Investigation UnitRichard Farthing, Senior Investigation Officer, FIU
12:30Buffet Lunch

09:40 – 10:10

Terri Kelly – Official Receiver (Leeds)

Whilst the majority of insolvencies are genuine financial failures, official receivers’ investigations identify those who cause financial harm to others. The culprits’ behaviour may range from negligence or mismanagement of their affairs to serious dishonesty and fraud. Terri is familiar with using statutory powers to investigate such cases, to recover money for creditors and take civil action against those involved.

10:10 – 10:40

Robert Clarke – Chief Investigator, Insolvent Investigations, North

Rob will provide an overview of The Insolvency Service’s investigations into the conduct of directors involved in failed companies, the common types of unfitness encountered and the nature of the outcomes achieved. Investigations undertaken within Rob’s command produce upward of 150 disqualifications each year, with an average ban of 5.6 years. The teams also refer criminality to internal prosecutors and work closely with criminal investigators to support the criminal enforcement regime. Their powers also extend to Scotland.

10:40 – 11:10

Lee McKenna – Senior Investigator, Companies Live

The Live Investigations Team has civil powers to conduct confidential enquiries into limited companies where it has received information which indicates that the company is not trading in the public interest or there is serious corporate abuse taking place. They receive complaints from a wide variety of sources including members of the public, employees and other regulators and prosecutors. Where misconduct is identified, they may apply to the court for the company to be wound up and/or for the directors to be disqualified. They may also refer information to other prosecuting or regulatory bodies where those bodies have more appropriate powers to deal with any misconduct identified. They also cover Scotland.

11:30 – 12:00

John Townsend – Criminal Investigator, Criminal Investigation Team

The Criminal Investigations Team was an addition to The Insolvency Service’s range of in-house services from January 2018. They provide the lead in tackling criminality within the insolvency regime. With teams based in four regions of England and Wales, each teamcontains a wealth of expertise gained within the law enforcement community. John will describe their processes and role within The Insolvency Service and, importantly, how to refer cases, presenting best evidence, whilst negotiating evidential pitfalls along the way. This is an area of “work in progress” within the Service and this session will allow you the opportunity to influence and steer that development.

12:00 – 12:30

Richard Farthing – Senior Investigating Officer, Financial Investigation Unit

The Financial Investigation Unit uses Accredited Financial Investigators to conduct confiscation investigations under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. These investigations are conducted to establish whether a person convicted of a criminal offence has benefitted from their criminal conduct, or the extent, or whereabouts, of their benefit from criminal conduct. The Accredited Financial Investigators then send their evidence to the Crown Court to proceed to Confiscation under Section 6(3a) of the Act. The unit also has a Gateway Liaison Officer who deals with requests for information on behalf of Criminal Investigators from several external organisationssuch as HMRC, DWP, Passport Office and UK Border Agency.

Data protection

Please see our privacy policy for details of how we and the YHFF partner organisations process your data and keep it secure when you become a YHFF member. You may update your communication preferences at any time by emailing us at