Monthly statistics

Experimental Statistics

This publication series contains the latest monthly statistics on statutory debt solutions in Scotland. The statistics are compiled by Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB), an executive agency of the Scottish Government, and are derived from AiB administrative records. Estimates for April 2020 to March 2021 are provisional until final validation that will be published on 28 July 2021.

Non-statutory debt solutions, where debtors make their own arrangements with creditors or enter informal debt management plans with a debt management firm, are not included in these statistics.

These statistics presented in this have been classed as ‘experimental’ - see below for more information on Experimental Statistics. The work programme has focused on user needs, completeness of the data collected and quality assurance processes.
 

 Edition  Release date  Bulletin  Tables  Next release
 May 2021  09 June 2021  May 2021  May 2021  N/A
 April 2021  12 May 2021  April 2021  April 2021  09 June 2021
 March 2021  14 April 2021  March 2021  March 2021  12 May 2021
 February 2021  10 March 2021  February 2021  February 2021  10 April 2021
 January 2021  10 February 2021  January 2021  January 2021  10 March 2021
 December 2020  13 January 2021  December 2020  December 2020  10 February 2021
 November 2020  09 Devember 2020  November 2020  November 2020  13 January 2020
 October 2020  11 November 2020  October 2020  October 2020  09 Decvember 2020
 September 2020  14 October 2020  September 2020  September 2020  11 November 2020
 August 2020  09 September 2020  August 2020  August 2020  14 October 2020
 July 2020  12 August 2020  July 2020  July 2020  09 September 2020
 June 2020  08 July 2020  June 2020  June 2020  12 August 2020
 May 2020  10 June 2020  May 2020  May 2020  08 July 2020
 April 2020  13 May 2020  April 2020  April 2020  10 June 2020
 Financial year 2019-20  08 April 2020  2019-20  2019-20 data  13 May 2020

Why this publication series is being published?

As the demand increases for statistics and data to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Accountant in Bankruptcy has had to change its data gathering and release practices, focussing efforts on priority analysis and statistics. In line with guidance from the Office for Statistics Regulation, on Friday 20 March 2020, the production and publication of the main quarterly Scottish Insolvency Statistics were temporarily suspended until further notice. This action was necessary due to an urgent shift of resource within Scottish Government to help manage immediate issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, AiB ensured that we continued to produce vital data and statistics needed to response to the impact of this COVID-19 pandemic on our economy and society. Therefore, the monthly publication series titled “Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions” was created for this purpose.

Since January 2021, AiB is currently publishing the quarterly publication series. Please note this publication series will be renamed as “Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics”. Please see the following link for further information on upcoming official statistics publications:

Upcoming official and experimental statistics publications - March 2021 | Accountant in Bankruptcy (aib.gov.uk)

Meanwhile, Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) produces data and statistics to support decision-makers in Scotland and our trusted, impartial information is more important now than ever.

The COVID-19 outbreak is a significant challenge for the UK and we are working to ensure that AiB continues to produce vital data and statistics needed to respond to the impact of this pandemic on our economy and society.

This means we will need to ensure that information is provided faster, and we need to change how we produce and publish in order to ensure we provide the information necessary as the situation unfolds.

These changes to our work could affect the quality of some of our statistics, such as lower accuracy, or it could mean there is less detail available due to lack of resources.

Decisions will be made on a case by case basis, taking into account what information is currently relevant given the situation, with the three pillars of the Code of Practice for Statistics (Trustworthiness, Quality and Value) guiding our decisions. Giving everyone access to statistics at the same time remains a fundamental principle of the Code, but where this cannot be maintained we will be open and transparent about this and any other potential effects on our statistics.

Caveats

  1. Since the COVID-19 outbreak in Scotland, it is expected that the number of awards of bankruptcy, protected trust deeds and approved Debt Payment Programmes under the Debt Arrangement Scheme may go down while comparing with previous figures. The subsequent monthly releases will confirm either way.

    Nevertheless, it is important to note that if these numbers do go down, then these do not imply any information about the state of people's personal finance. In other words, it is not correct to interpret these as the number of individuals with problem debts being low.

    A possible explanation is, during the outbreak, creditors may cease to chase debts, and there are lack of available approved money advisers and insolvency practitioners people required to meet in order to apply for any one of the statutory debt solutions.
     

  2. The data used in this release are not seasonally adjusted. We recommend to use year-on-year comparisons (for example April 2019 and April 2020 etc.) rather than making month-on-month comparisons.

What are 'Experimental Statistics'?

Experimental statistics are a type of official statistics that are undergoing development. This is the first time Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) has produced monthly statistics on statutory debt solutions where the experimental statistics label has been used with the aim for compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Experimental statistics and the Code of Practice: Defined in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics - https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/code-of-practice/ - as ‘statistics undergoing evaluation and published to involve users and stakeholders in their development’. The Code promotes and supports the release of experimental statistics to involve users in their development at an early stage and achieve continuous improvement in statistical processes.

It is possible, however, that the statistics will not be fully compliant in all areas due to their nature as ‘data being developed’.
 

Background Information

Data Sources

The statistics for individual insolvencies (bankruptcies and protected trust deeds (PTDs) and debt payment programmes (DPPs) under the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) are derived from administrative data of records processed within AiB and stored on the systems BASYS, ASTRA and DASH & eDEN respectively. The exception to this is creditor and trustee petition bankruptcies which are sourced from the courts that grant them and subsequently stored on the BASYS system.

Note DASH was decommissioned on 30 June 2019 and its replacement system, eDEN, went live on 1 July 2019.

Methodology

Figures are produced from tabulation of raw data from relevant administrative systems for the number of bankruptcies, PTDs, and DPPs under DAS. The numbers of personal insolvencies reported are based on the date of the court order, agreement of the insolvency procedure or approval date. For creditor petitions, the published figures will be influenced by, for example, the late reporting of court orders which may lead to underestimating the number of creditor petitions awarded. Creditor petitions statistics are subsequently adjusted in the subsequent monthly releases until July 2021.

DPP under DAS statistics are based on the date the DPP was approved. 

Revisions

Revisions are usually made as a result of data being sent to AiB and logged on to the administrative systems after the cut-off date for data being extracted from the systems to produce the statistics. These revisions tend to be small in the context of overall totals.

From April 2020, scheduled revisions will occur every month (whenever possible), which will provide users with data in a more timely manner and improve the accuracy of provisional estimates as more information becomes available. On this release, all monthly data are given provisional status and labelled with ‘p’. These statistics will remain provisional until the data is finalised (i.e. no planned revisions) -- the date is to be confirmed.

Quality

 

Relevance

Relevance is the degree to which statistics meet the current and potential needs of user.

The statistics produced by AiB are the most complete record of the number of statutory debt solutions and statutory moratorium on diligence. Statistics on corporate insolvencies are also included.

The statistics presented here do not include non-statutory debt solutions. This is where debtors make their own arrangements with creditors or enter informal debt management plans with a debt management firm. The demand for statutory debt solutions should be seen within the context of the overall debt solution market (both statutory and non-statutory solutions).

This demand will be affected by changes in the legislative and regulative environment. For example, changes to regulatory procedures operated by the Financial Conduct Authority could affect the supply of non-statutory solutions and in turn the demand for statutory debt solutions.

Key users of AiB’s insolvency statistics are: AiB itself, which has policy responsibility for statutory debt solutions in Scotland and devolved areas of corporate insolvency; the insolvency profession; debt advice agencies; media organisations; academics; creditors and the general public.

In early 2020, AiB launched an online survey asking users for feedback on this official statistics publication series, which remains available indefinitely. AiB will address user feedback in order to investigate how well the current set of statistics meet user needs.

 

Accuracy

Accuracy is the closeness between an estimated result and the (unknown) true value.

All formal insolvency procedures entered into by a company, a partnership or an individual are required by law to be reported to the appropriate body, so the statistics should be a complete record of statutory insolvency in Scotland.

The number of statutory debt solutions and statutory moratorium on diligence are based on the date of the order, agreement of the insolvency procedure or the approval date, not on the date it was registered on the administrative recording system. This does not have any implication for cases processed within AiB. However, the published number of creditor petitions will be influenced by, for example, the late reporting of creditor petitions court orders, which may lead to missing data. Under the current revision policy, figures on the number of creditor petitions are revised quarterly to account for late reporting or missing cases.

The number of corporate insolvencies are based on the date the insolvency was registered on the AiB corporate insolvency recording system (BASYS). The corporate insolvency figures will be influenced by, for example, the late reporting of orders which may lead to a quarter’s figures containing cases awarded in the previous quarter. This should be noted when making comparisons of trends over time or comparing with other sources of data published by The Insolvency Service, and Companies House.

Data validation processes are in place to identify and resolve erroneous data inputs and duplication of cases or when extracting data from the administrative systems, to make sure that returns cover all debt solutions, and to check the accuracy and consistency within tables and between related tables.

 

Timeliness and punctuality

Timeliness refers to the time gap between the publication date and the reference period for the statistics.

Punctuality is the time lag between the actual and planned dates of publication for the statistics.

The Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics are published on the fourth Wednesday of the month following the end of the quarter being reported on. This publication date allows receipt of all the data inputs and sufficient time for quality assurance of the data extracts, tabulating records and completing the compilation of the statistical release. This means there is an approximate one month lag between the end of the financial quarter and the publication of the Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics.

The exact publication date will be pre-announced through a 12-month release calendar, giving a specific release date at least four weeks in advance where practicable – Official statistics: forthcoming publications - gov.scot

 

Accessibility and clarity

Accessibility is the ease with which users can access the statistics and data. It is also about the format in which data is available and the availability of supporting information.

Clarity refers to the quality and sufficiency of the commentary, illustrations, accompanying advice and technical details.

The Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics are available free of charge to the end user on the AiB website. They are published as HTML and PDF via the website and ScotStat. The accompanying tables are also published in the Excel format. We continue to aim to make our publications and accompanying tables as accessible as possible, if there are users who wish to receive our publication in a specific format please do not hesitate to contact us. Contact details can be found at the beginning of our publication report for any specific data requests.

It is important to ensure that statistics are presented in a clear, unambiguous way that supports and promotes use by all types of users. To this end, we have adopted the use of plain language as much as possible. The main findings are presented using a series of text and charts. Technical terms, acronyms and definitions are defined and explained when this is appropriate. These approaches would ensure that the statistics can be used effectively.

However, AiB does want readers and users’ feedback on any aspect of these statistics, and encourage them to complete our online survey or get in touch with us. Contact details and link to the online survey can be found at the beginning of our publication report.

 

Comparability

Comparability is the degree to which statistics can be compared over time, region or another domain.

Statutory debt solutions statistics can be compared between different type of debt solutions. They can be used to identify trends over time.

However, changes in legislation and policy may affect the extent to which comparisons can be made over time for individual data series. Such change might cause breaks in time series so that statistics from before and after the change are not comparable. Where such changes are known, they have been highlighted in the commentary and in the general background notes along with the implications for use made clear.

 

Coherence

Coherence is the degree to which the statistical processes that generate two or more outputs use the same concepts and harmonised methods.

Overall, the Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics are the definitive source of statistics for statutory debt solutions in Scotland. The Insolvency Service include figures from the Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics publications in their official statistics releases on individual insolvencies - Individual Insolvency Statistics Releases - GOV.UK

It is important to note that the operational, policy and legislative differences in all nations of UK, and users should be mindful of this caveat when making comparisons with other parts of the UK.

AiB publishes year end totals of the quarterly statistics in its annual statistics publication series. These numbers may differ slightly to those reported throughout the year, but the quarterly statistics are subsequently revised to match. In these annual statistics publications, statistics by local authority areas are included and this is achieved by matching the postcode with the Standard Geography Code Register: statistics.gov.scot : Standard Geography Code Register. By adopting the standard geography code, this ensures geographical harmonisation and coherence, and thus the data to be consistent over time between local authority areas within Scotland. Note, when producing statistics by local authority areas, numbers may differ slightly as postcodes of debtors cannot always be assigned, where this occurs these differences will be highlighted.

AiB is required to be notified of all company liquidations and receiverships in Scotland, and publishes quarterly official statistics based on its own administrative records. These differ from the Insolvency Service’s Insolvency Statistics publications, which use data from Companies House as the source. Differences are due to AiB using its own administrative system’s data rather than the start date of the insolvency.

 

Can figures in this publication series be compared with published statistics in Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics publications?

Please note that, prior to January 2021, the quarterly publication series was named “Scottish Insolvency Statistics”.

Figures for April 2020 to February 2021 presented in this release remain provisional until final validation in July 2021. Therefore, caution is needed when interpreting these figures.

With this caveat in mind, both sets of quarterly and annual figures can be compared. Detailed time-series data for the latest Official Statistics publication can be found in the following link:

Quarterly statistics | Accountant in Bankruptcy (aib.gov.uk)

 

An Experimental Statistics publication for Scotland

The figures released today are classed as Experimental Statistics though these were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics; they undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs.

Correspondence and enquiries
For enquiries about this publication please contact:

Ken O’Neill, Statistician, Accountant in Bankruptcy
Email: Ken.O'Neill@aib.gov.uk

For general enquiries about Scottish Government statistics please contact:
Office of the Chief Statistician
Telephone: 0131 244 0442
Email: statistics.enquiries@gov.scot
 
Complaints and suggestions
If you are not satisfied with our service or have any comments or suggestions, please write to:
The Chief Statistician, 2W, St Andrews House, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG
Telephone: (0131) 244 0302
Email: statistics.enquiries@gov.scot

If you would like to be consulted about statistical collections or receive notification of publications, please register your interest at: www.gov.scot/scotstat

Details of forthcoming publications can be found at: www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/ForthcomingPubs
 
Crown Copyright
You may use or reuse this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. See: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/