AiB Statistics User Consultation - May 2021

Since March 2020, AiB has temporarily changed its data gathering and release practices, focussing efforts on priority analysis and statistics.  At the time, this was a necessary measure to meet an increased demand for statistics to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In line with guidance from the Office for Statistics Regulation, on Friday 20 March 2020, the production and publication of the main quarterly Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics (formerly the Scottish Insolvency Statistics) were temporarily suspended. This action was implemented due to an urgent shift of resource within Scottish Government to help manage immediate issues arising from the pandemic.

Since then, AiB has continued to produce vital data and statistics on statutory debt solutions and in particular issues arising from the introduction of emergency legislation in this area through the Coronavirus (Scotland) Acts. Consequently, the monthly publication series titled “Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions” was created for this purpose. These can be found here: Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics | Accountant in Bankruptcy (aib.gov.uk).

As of January 2021, AiB re-introduced the publication of quarterly statistics which are now also titled as “Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions”. These can be found here: Quarterly statistics | Accountant in Bankruptcy (aib.gov.uk).

These quarterly statistics now include all the information published as part of monthly statistics series, as well as more detailed statistics on statutory debt solutions in Scotland such as debtor and trustee discharge and the amount repaid under the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS).

They also contain information on the emergency measures introduced under the Coronavirus Acts and the measures introduced on a permanent footing under the new Bankruptcy regulations that came into force in March 2021. These statistics provide users with a longer time-series of statistics on bankruptcy application fees and statutory moratorium on diligence.

Next steps

As we begin the transition towards greater normality, we are now looking to consult with our users on the continued need for monthly publication series.

While publishing on a monthly basis is useful in providing a high level summary of bankruptcies, Protected Trust Deeds  and Debt Payment Programmes (DPPs) under the DAS, these figures are more susceptible to fluctuation throughout the year due to issues including the availability of resources and time for money advisers and insolvency practitioners, the time taken to process the application form for any statutory debt solutions, and the late reporting of creditor petitions by the courts.

The quarterly series has allows us to provide more detailed and more beneficial statistics than those published in the monthly statistics. Publishing on a quarterly basis enables more rigorous quality assurance checks, ensuring that the published statistics are of the most value to the user.

Given the reintroduction of more detailed quarterly statistics publications, it is now our intention to discontinue the publication of monthly statistics in the coming months.  Hence, the May 2021 edition which is scheduled to be released on Wednesday 09 June is expected to be the last monthly statistics publication.

Before this action is confirmed, we do wish to seek your feedback and thoughts as an AiB stakeholder/user of our statistics on how ceasing the monthly publication might impact on you or your organisation.

If you wish to provide feedback or share your thoughts with us, please complete our user survey: Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics Publication User Survey (surveymonkey.co.uk) or contact the AiB communications team.

As part of our ongoing commitment to user engagement, we aim to publish the findings of this consultation and using this evidence as part of decision making. Please note that all information will be anonymised before it is passed to the statistics team and subsequently published.