Alert: Insolvency Practitioner identity fraud and scam websites – click here

Apply for an IPA licence

The IPA licence application can be found here.
Licence applications are considered by the IPA Regulation and Conduct Committee.

Licence Criteria

Applicants have to be individual ordinary or fellow members of the IPA; but they may apply for individual membership and licence at the same time. 

Applicants are required to show that they are fit and proper to act as IPs; that they meet acceptable requirements as to education and practical training and experience; and that they have in place security or caution for the proper performance of their functions. 

Only individuals – not companies or partnerships – can be authorised as IPs. 

Period of Licence: Licences are issued for a period of not more than twelve months ending on 31 December. 

An applicant may specify a forward date on which he/she wishes his/her licence to be effective; but he/she may not act as an IP until his/her application has been granted. 

A licence cannot be backdated. 

Continuity of Licence: An applicant seeking to move his/her licence from another recognised professional body or the Secretary of State to the IPA should ensure that his/her application is received by the IPA no later than eight weeks before his/her current licence is due to expire to allow time for checks and any queries to be cleared, and for consideration by the Regulation and Conduct Committee. 

In the event that such an application is granted, the applicant will be required to relinquish any current licence issued by the other recognised professional body or the Secretary of State from the date that his/her IPA licence is effective. 

Licence upgrade from non appointment taker to appointment taker is available at any time during an individuals career as an IP. Complete our licence upgrade form to apply to the Regulation and Conduct Committee. 

Information: The IPA may pass all and any information about a licence holder and his/her practice as it considers appropriate to The Insolvency Services or to other recognised professional bodies under the published Memorandum of Understanding between The Insolvency Services and the bodies, and may receive information about him/her and him/her practice from them. 

In the event of removal of a licence or a licence holder’s incapacity or death, the IPA will pass such relevant information as it may have about the cases to which he/she was appointed to the IP(s) appointed to succeed him/her as office holder. 

Setting Yourself Up in Practice

The IPA aims to visit you in the first six months of starting your own practice to ensure that you understand what is required, and have in place the procedures and systems for the effective management of cases and the ongoing training and development of your staff.

Insolvency Practitioner Application Forms

Insolvency Practitioner licence application form

Form to upgrade licence from non appointment-taking to appointment-taking licence

IP Amendment Form for the Insolvency Service

Insolvency Practitioner Licence Criteria

[Approved by the Board 27 September 2018 and effective from 15 October 2018]

An applicant for an Insolvency Practitioner Licence is required to show that he/she:

  • is fit and proper to act as an insolvency practitioner (IP);
  • meets acceptable requirements as to qualifications and practical training and experience;
  • has in place security or caution for the proper performance of their functions; and
  • has undertaken relevant continuing professional education.

Qualifications should be evidenced by letters or similar documentation issued by the Joint Insolvency Examination Board (JIEB) or as provided by The European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007 (EC Qualification Regulations).

Practical training and experience should be certified by one or more insolvency practitioners.

Security or caution should be evidenced by lodging the original of the general penalty (enabling) bond with the IPA and submitting monthly cover schedules (bordereaux) to the IPA.

Capability to carry out unsupervised the functions and duties of an IP should be confirmed by an insolvency practitioner.

Records of continuing professional education should be kept and available for production.

Fit and Proper: The Regulation and Conduct Committee will take account of the matters set out below; and it may

  • require such further information and explanations from the applicant and from (each of) the certifying and confirming insolvency practitioner(s); and
  • make such further and other enquiries of third parties

as it considers appropriate as to the applicant’s fitness and probity to be an IP licensed by the IPA.

Qualifications: An applicant for licence is required to have passed the Joint Insolvency Examination (JIE) set by the JIEB; or in the case of an eligible applicant from another member state of the European Economic Area, that he/she complies with the requirements of the EC Qualifications Regulations.

If the applicant passed the JIE more than ten years before his/her application, he/she may be required to re-sit it unless he/she can show that in the intervening period he/she has maintained his/her knowledge and understanding of personal insolvency law, procedures and practice at a level and to the extent required by the JIEB.

Practical Training and Experience: An applicant for a licence, whether based on having been previously licensed or on having passed the JIE or having satisfied the EC Qualifications Regulations, is required to show his/her ability to carry out unsupervised the functions and duties of an IP based on having been engaged during the three years immediately before applying in work relating to the administration of estates in respect of which an insolvency practitioner has been appointed involving not less than 600 hours higher experience in insolvency administration.  Generally, an applicant will be expected to have been engaged in insolvency administration for not less than 100 hours in each of the three years before applying.

The Regulation and Conduct Committee may at its discretion consider whether and to what extent advisory work experience and/or regulatory work experience at an equivalent level may be taken into account in its assessment of the adequacy of the applicant’s overall experience; and it may at its discretion accept engagement in insolvency administration of less than 100 hours in any of the three years before applying.

The applicant should set out in his/her application information about the insolvency work which he/she has undertaken in the three years immediately before applying which should be certified by the insolvency practitioner(s) for whom he/she has worked.

The application should be accompanied by confirmation by an insolvency practitioner (who may be the same as the certifying insolvency practitioner) that the applicant is capable of carrying out unsupervised the functions and duties of an IP.

The Regulation and Conduct Committee may require such further information and explanations from the applicant, from (each of) the certifying and confirming insolvency practitioner(s) as it considers appropriate as to the applicant’s ability to undertake unsupervised the functions and duties of an IP.

An applicant must have a good command of the English language, both spoken and written; and the Regulation and Conduct Committee may ask to be satisfied as to his/her proficiency in English.

Security or Caution (Insurance and Bonding): An appointment taker IP is required by the IPA Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) Regulations to have PII cover; and by the statutory Insolvency Practitioners Regulations to have a general penalty bond for £250,000, together with specific penalty bonds in relation to individual insolvencies to which he/she is appointed.

The original of the general penalty bond is required to be submitted to, and is retained by, the IPA.

Copies of monthly cover schedules submitted to the IP’s insurers are required to be sent to the IPA.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE): The IPA requirement in relation to CPE is set out in its CPE Guidance: essentially, it requires a minimum 25 hours relevant structured CPE during each year which may include attending or speaking at courses, conferences, seminars and lectures organised by the IPA, other commercial course and conference providers, in-house or by other professionals and their firms. Relevant in this context means that for example an IP who acts or intends to act in relation to individual voluntary arrangements would be expected to have undertaken an appropriate proportion of CPE covering personal insolvency including advice on alternative non-statutory solutions.
An applicant for licence and a licence holder should be able to produce details and evidence of courses and conferences attended and of other CPE undertaken in relation to the three years prior to applying for or renewing his/her authorisation.

Administration of and Records of Cases: An applicant for a licence is required to provide details of the address(es) where the cases to which he/she is or will be appointed are or will be administered and where the records required by the legislation are or will be maintained.

A licence holder is required to immediately notify the IPA of any change(s) in the address(es) where the cases to which he/she has been appointed are administered or where the records required by the legislation are maintained

Continuity of Practice: A licence holder in sole practice  is required to provide details of an appointment taker IP who has agreed to provide continuity in relation to the administration of his/her cases in the event of his/her incapacity or death.

A licence holder in a partnership or company where there is more than one IP should have arrangements for continuity set out in a partnership or company agreement; and is required to provide details of any appointment taker IP nominated to provide continuity in relation to the administration of his/her cases in the event of his/her incapacity or death.

Declaration: An applicant for a new or renewal of licence is required to disclose all and every facts and circumstances which are relevant for consideration of his/her application; and to immediately notify the IPA of any material change in the information provided whether it arises before or after the issue of a new or renewed licence which may be relevant to consideration of whether he/she continues to be fit and proper to hold an insolvency licence.

An applicant for a new or renewal of a licence is required:

  • Not to practice as an IP without Professional Indemnity Insurance at an appropriate level
  • Not to act as an IP unless there is in force security or caution as required and prescribed by legislation, generally and in relation to every case to which he/she is appointed
  • To promptly send to the IPA his/her original general penalty bond and renewal slips evidencing that it remains in force, together with copies of the monthly cover schedules submitted to his/her insurers

Any false, inaccurate or misleading information provided by an applicant for a new or renewal of a licence or failure to notify any material change in information provided may lead to a refusal of a new or renewal of a licence, or revocation of a granted licence, as well as disciplinary action in relation to, and suspension or withdrawal of, his/her membership of the IPA.

Appendix I – Insolvency Practitioner Licence Criteria

  • Whether the applicant and/or his/her firm/partnership/company has maintained the specified level of professional indemnity insurance
  • Whether the applicant has maintained the required levels of general and specific penalty bonds; has deposited the original general penalty bond with the IPA; and has submitted by the specified time monthly cover schedules to his/her insurers and to the IPA
  • Whether the applicant has submitted by the specified time reports and returns required by The Insolvency Service, the Accountant in Bankruptcy and the Registrar of Companies
  • Whether the applicant has remitted by the specified time sums required to be paid into the Insolvency Services Account (ISA)
  • Whether the applicant has paid over promptly unclaimed dividends
  • Whether the applicant has been the subject of proceedings brought by The Insolvency Service or the Accountant in Bankruptcy or the Registrar of Companies for failing to submit or delay in submitting reports and returns, paying estate funds into the ISA or paying over unclaimed dividends
  • Whether the applicant has applied for a licence to act as an IP to another recognised professional body or to the Secretary of State which has been refused
  • Whether the applicant has had a licence to act as an IP which has been restricted, lapsed or removed
  • Whether the applicant has been refused admission to, or been removed from, any professional body or similar association; or any action is pending
  • Whether the applicant  has been the subject of any adverse findings by the IPA or another professional body or any government, statutory or regulatory authority (including The Insolvency Service) in relation to any matters, whether by way of financial penalty or other disciplinary action (including reprimands, warnings and undertakings and suspension/removal from Official Receiver rotas or lists of interim trustees); or any matters (including complaints) are currently being considered by any of them
  • Whether the applicant has been or is the subject of a bankruptcy order, sequestration order, voluntary arrangement, deed, scheme, composition or other form of agreement or debt management plan with his/her creditors; or any proceedings are pending
  • Whether the applicant has been or is a director of, or involved in the management of, a company which has gone into liquidation, administration or administrative receivership or entered into a company voluntary arrangement, scheme, composition or other form of agreement with its creditors; or which has been or is the subject of a statutory or regulatory investigation
  • Whether the applicant has been the proprietor or partner in any business or been a director of or involved in the management of, any company which ceased trading leaving creditors unpaid
  • Whether the applicant has had any judgments entered against him/her; and any are still outstanding
  • Whether the applicant has been or is the subject of proceedings alleging negligence, misconduct or other liability in relation to an insolvency or other professional matter; or any proceedings are pending
  • Whether the applicant has been convicted of any criminal offence, other than a minor motoring offence not resulting in disqualification; or any proceedings are pending
  • Whether the applicant has been or is subject to a disqualification order or undertaking in relation to a company or office or subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking; or any proceedings are pending
  • Whether the applicant has been removed or dismissed from any form of employment or engagement on grounds of misconduct, incompetence or unfitness or from any fiduciary office or position of trust (whether or not remunerated) including as an insolvency office holder; or any action is pending.
  • Whether the applicant has been or is a patient within the meaning of the Mental Health Acts

Whether the applicant has committed any breach of any of the IPA Articles, Rules, Regulations or Guidance, including its Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics and Statements of Insolvency Practice adopted by the IPA, or has been or is engaged in any conduct or practice likely to bring discredit upon him/herself, the IPA and its membership or the insolvency profession; or he/she had or has  any relationship or dealings with any individual, firm, partnership or company which has been or is the subject of complaint to or investigation by it (the IPA), another professional body or any government, statutory or regulatory authority (including The Insolvency Service).

Please note that higher experience in insolvency administration is defined as engagement in work relating to the administration of estates in respect of which an IP has been appointed where the works involves the management and supervision of cases on behalf of the IP or regulatory work at an equivalent level.