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Departmental Accountants

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 13 January 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department takes to prevent conflicts of interest arising in the activities of accountants appointed by his Department in relation to companies entering into administration. (310295)

The Department does not appoint accountants in relation to companies entering into administration. Administrators are appointed by court order; the holder of a qualifying charge; the company or its directors.

Only insolvency practitioners can act as administrators and they are required to comply with an ethical code which was revised on 1 January 2009. This provides that they should take reasonable steps to identify circumstances that could pose a conflict of interest and have regard to the safeguards that may be applied to reduce these to an acceptable level. It applies to any professional work that may lead to an insolvency appointment, in addition to work undertaken as a result of a formal insolvency appointment.

The insolvency regulators, including my noble Friend the Secretary of State, will consider any potential breaches of the ethical code and take any necessary disciplinary action.