A compliance check is conducted on a single visit to complete an independent compliance review based on the latest technical up-dates. You get –
- a written report which sets out any issues, both by case and system, with graded recommendations for improvements. The format is adaptable for reporting requirements at all three of the main RPBs.
- a follow-up discussion / meeting on any practical issues, including any points on which further thought is required. If there are systemic issues that require more in-depth attention, then I will also help you identify priorities and outline a plan of action.
- if there is the need, the report will then be re-drafted after about a month, to incorporate comments on remedial work already done or planned actions to come (see my article “Learning from my clients” for why this can be a good idea).
This is the package that most clients will start and most likely, stay on. It involves the least intrusion on your practice, and it leaves you to decide and make any changes yourself. If need be, we can attach various aspects of my compliance support package later on, but I suspect most clients will want to do these things themselves, at least at first.
Compliance checks are 90% based on cold reviews of active and closed cases. I use checklists based on the ICAEW templates (many of which I helped to design). If the results of the case reviews highlight any systemic issues, I can go on to look at particular systems in detail, such as check-lists, cashiering routines, case review programmes, etc. but only at your direction. The length of a visit and therefore its cost depends on the number and complexity of the cases to be reviewed and the condition of the files. I am happy to visit you for a couple of hours, free of charge, to discuss the firm’s needs and provide an estimate.
Some clients will want a bit more support than the simple compliance check. Compliance Support is a regular, annual service that is focussed on improving/developing check-lists, case-management systems, letter packs, etc. After each annual compliance check we will discuss any remedial work to be done, together with improvements and updates that may be required to meet new statutory or SIP requirements. Once a programme of work has been agreed to fit your budget, including any staff-training or other assistance, I will set to work.
This package is best suited to either –
- a smaller practice with sound systems but limited management resources which needs a regular technical support facility as well as compliance checks,
- a firm that has discovered some significant systemic or management issues and needs some external help in putting them right, perhaps at the direction of their RPB.
Incidentally, if I think that the documentary side of the compliance work can better be addressed by bringing in one of my larger competitors, I will happily make that recommendation, rather than re-invent the wheel at significant extra cost.
This service is intended for any firm that wants to re-address its overall practice management or any part of it -case management, staff training, marketing, practice development, etc. This service can either be integrated with our compliance work or be provided as a separate package. You may have a perfectly good compliance service provided either internally or externally, but want some extra help, beyond that. It will be my job to work on improvements that help save costs and improve overall performance, hopefully releasing you to spend more time getting in and directing the work.
The initial consultation is free of charge (sound familiar?) – but two hours rather than one, so we both get adequate time to think about what is really needed and what it should cost to do.
I believe that the insolvency profession is one of the most demanding in the country, with little room for error. During my years at ICAEW I saw how much damage could be done to a firm if it didn’t manage a significant interruption quickly and sensibly. In my experience, if a difficult situation is allowed to drift it gets exponentially harder to put right. Also, while RPBs will generally give IPs the benefit of the doubt and time to put things right, they will react sharply if they don’t see an IP move quickly to sort problems out.
Subject to existing commitments, I am available to help at short notice, and can act in a range of capacities –
- Act for an Alternate (you have appointed one, haven’t you?) to help review, plan and assist in the management of a practice until the emergency is over.
- Advise and assist in discussions with an RPB over remedial steps needed to avoid suspension or loss of an IP licence.
- Carry out specific tasks in the practice that might include supervision of a problematic class of cases (e.g. overdue closures, IVAs in breach, etc.) or the introduction of new systems with the training and subsequent reviews to make them stick.