24 July 2019
An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland
About this release
This quarterly release contains the latest statistics on personal and corporate insolvencies in Scotland. Statistics on the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) are also reported.
The statistics are compiled by Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB), an executive agency of the Scottish Government.
The majority of the statistics presented are derived from AiB administrative records. Estimates for 2019-20 are provisional until final figures are published in July 2020. Final 2018-19 figures are summarised in this release.
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.
This release covers insolvencies in Scotland. Statistics covering England & Wales, and Northern Ireland are available from The Insolvency Service.
Debtor: any person who owes money to another.
Creditor: any person, business or organisation that is owed money by another.
Bankruptcy: (also known as sequestration in Scotland) is a legal declaration that someone cannot pay their debts. If a person is declared bankrupt, control of things that they own, is passed to a trustee who may sell them to pay money owed to creditors. A regular payment from a person's income may also have to be made.
Protected Trust Deed (PTD): a form of insolvency that transfers a debtor's estate to a trustee to be realised for the benefit of creditors.
Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS): a Scottish Government debt management tool. Allows a debtor to repay their debts through a Debt Payment Programme by giving more time for repayments free from the threat of enforcement (diligence) or bankruptcy.
Insolvency Practitioner: a person (usually, but not necessarily, a chartered accountant) licensed and authorised to act as a trustee in sequestrations or trust deeds.
Trustee: person who administers a bankruptcy or trust deed. In sequestrations a trustee can be either the AiB or a private insolvency practitioner. In trust deeds, trustees must be an insolvency practitioner.
AiB 2018-19 Annual report
Data used in this release
The data used in this statistical release are available here.
No seasonal adjustment
The data used in this release are not seasonally adjusted. We recommend you use year-on-year comparisons (for example 2019-20 Q1 compared with 2018-19 Q1) rather than making quarter-on-quarter comparisons.
We want your feedback
Responsible statistician: Ken O'Neill
Media enquires: 0300 200 2600
Next update: 23 October 2019
Personal insolvencies in Scotland increased in 2019-20 Q1 compared with the same quarter in 2018-19.
Chart 1. Statutory debt solutions by type: Scotland, April-June 2006 to April-June 2019 (provisional), quarterly data (table D1)
Main points for April to June 2019
Table 1. Summary of Scottish Insolvency Statistics for April to June 2019 (2019 20 Q1): Scotland, quarterly data (table D1)
Chart 2 shows the quarterly path of personal insolvencies within the year by presenting both quarterly and cumulative personal insolvencies in the current financial year and compares these with the previous financial year.
Chart 2. Quarterly and cumulative personal insolvencies: Scotland, April 2018 to March 2019 and April to June 2019, quarterly data (table D1)
Scottish Insolvency Statistics in 2018-19
Statistics published in the previous quarter (2018-19 Q4) included provisional annual statistics for 2018-19. Following end of year validation, the final 2018-19 statistics are available and summarised below.
Table 2. Summary of Scottish Insolvency Statistics for 2017-18 and 2018-19: Scotland, annual data (table D1)
Chart 3. Statutory debt solutions by type: Scotland, 1996-97 to 2018-19, annual data (table D1)
Personal insolvency: Awards of bankruptcy
Types of bankruptcy: debtor application A person can apply to AiB to make themselves bankrupt through a debtor application. To apply for bankruptcy a person must have received money advice from a qualified money adviser (for example from a local authority money advice unit or Citizens Advice Bureau).
The two types of debtor application for bankruptcy in Scotland are:
Minimal Asset Process (MAP): for people on a low income who do not own property and have very little in savings or other assets. Conditions for a MAP are if a person's debts are at least £1,500 and not more than £17,000, or own assets not exceeding £2,000. A debtor will be discharged after six months, if they continue to meet the MAP criteria, (cases will be converted to Full Administration where it is found that debtors do not meet MAP criteria). MAP replaced the LILA bankruptcy in April 2015.
Full Administration: when conditions set out in MAP are not met. Conditions for Full Administration are if a person's debts are over £3,000, or own assets valuing £2,000 or above.
Types of bankruptcy: creditor and trust deed petitions
A creditor or trustee under a trust deed can apply, subject to conditions, to make a person bankrupt through a creditor or trust deed petition to a sheriff court. AiB only receives debtor applications for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcies in 2019-20 Q1 decreased when compared with the same quarter in the previous year. There were 1,184 bankruptcies awarded in 2019-20 Q1, a 5.1% decrease when compared with 2018-19 Q1.
Awards of bankruptcy: debtor applications
Chart 4. Awards of bankruptcy by type (debtor applications only): Scotland, April-June 2009 to April-June 2019, quarterly data (table D1)
In Scotland, a trustee is appointed to administer each bankruptcy. The Accountant in Bankruptcy (The Accountant) will be the trustee unless an insolvency practitioner is nominated to act. In all cases awarded under MAP, The Accountant must act as trustee. In the first quarter of 2019-20, The Accountant was appointed trustee in 989 cases awarded, 83.5% of bankruptcies for the quarter.
Personal insolvency: Protected trust deeds
What is a protected trust deed (PTD)? A PTD is a formal debt solution where an agreement is made between a debtor and creditors to repay part or all of their debt.
The debtor conveys their estate to an insolvency practitioner (the trustee) to administer for the benefit of creditors and the arrangement normally includes a contribution from income for a set period.
Provided the debtor complies with the terms of their deed, the creditors can take no further action to pursue the debt or to make the debtor bankrupt. This is similar to Individual Voluntary Agreements in England and Wales, although there are important differences in the way they are set up and administered.
There were 2,336 PTDs registered in 2019-20 Q1, a 18.6% increase on the same quarter in 2018-19. The number of PTDs have followed a similar trend to bankruptcies and have been generally increasing since 2014-15 Q4 (see chart 5).
Chart 5. Personal insolvencies by type: Scotland, April-June 2005 to April-June 2019, quarterly data (table D1)
As with awards of bankruptcies, the trend in PTDs registered is likely to be affected by legislative and operational changes. For example, the BADA(S) reforms, introduced from 1 April 2015, aligned the payment period in bankruptcy and PTDs to 48 months.
Prior to this, those agreeing to a PTD were typically paying contributions for an additional year compared with those in bankruptcy. These changes have likely led to an increase in PTD activity levels. In 2019-20 Q1, more PTDs were registered than bankruptcy awards, as has been the case since 2015-16 Q1.
Debt Arrangement Scheme
The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is a statutory debt management solution administered by AiB. Under DAS, a debtor commits to a Debt Payment Programme (DPP) which allows them to repay their debts based on their disposable income while they are protected from creditors taking any action against them to recover their debt. If the DPP is approved, all interest, fees and charges on the debt will be frozen and waived if the programme is completed in full.
Approved DAS applications
In 2019-20 Q1, there were 738 approved DPPs under DAS compared with the 646 approved in 2018-19 Q1 (see chart 6). Approved DAS DPPs increased year-on-year between 2006-07 and 2012-13 likely due to changes in legislation and improvements to the DAS Administrator’s IT system (see the background section for more information on legislative changes).
Chart 6. Approved DPP under DAS: Scotland, April-June 2006 to April-June 2019, quarterly data (table D1)
The sharp decrease in DAS approvals in 2015-16 (from 4,156 to 2,043) was likely due a number of reasons including legislative changes and the availability of DAS from insolvency practitioners. The attractiveness of DAS relative to other statutory debt solutions could have also been affected by changes to regulatory procedures, operated by the Financial Conduct Authority, in relation to money advisers and insolvency practitioners.
Completed DAS DPPs
Amount repaid under DAS
In 2019-20 Q1, around £9.3 million was repaid from debtors under DAS, similar to the £9.4 million repaid in 2018-19 Q1. Through DAS, creditors receive a minimum of 90% of the debt owed to them from debtors (after DAS Administrator and payments distributor fees). After these fees have been deducted around £8.6 million was paid to creditors in 2019-20 Q1.
DAS applications and rejections
In the first quarter of 2019-20, 803 applications for a DAS DPP were received by AiB. In the same quarter, 22 applications were rejected.
Variations to a DAS
DPP If a debtor's circumstances change and they can no longer afford the agreed payments, or if they want to increase the level of payment, they can apply for a variation to their DAS DPP. Variations can also include a change to the length of the DPP or attaching a new condition.
In the first quarter of 2019-20, 785 applications to vary a DPP under DAS were approved while 31 were rejected. The number of approved variations was 6.4% of live DAS cases.
Revocations to a DAS DPP
DPP is automatically revoked if the debtor is made bankrupt or enters a trust deed which becomes protected. There are also a number of grounds where the debtor, a money adviser acting on behalf of the debtor or a creditor in the DPP can apply to revoke a DPP. If the DPP
is revoked, the debtor may be liable for all interest, fees, penalties and other charges that would have been payable had the DPP not been approved.
The AiB annual report for 2017-18 includes details on the outcome of DAS cases awarded since 2005-06 available here.
Table 3 shows corporate insolvencies by type between 2018-19 Q1 and 2019-20 Q1. The majority of corporate insolvencies are compulsory liquidations, which increased by 11.7% between 2018-19 Q1 and 2019-20 Q1. Creditors' voluntary liquidations decreased by 20.6% over the same period.
Table 3. Summary of corporate insolvencies and MVLs for April to June 2019 (2019-20 Q1): Scotland, quarterly data (table D1)
Chart 7. Total corporate insolvencies and MVLs: Scotland, April-June 2010 to April-June 2019, quarterly data (table D1)
Receivership appointments: a receiver is appointed by a lender holding a charge over some or all of the company's assets. The main responsibilities of a receiver are to ensure the appointing lender is paid off.
Compulsory liquidation: or winding up by the court is a procedure by which the assets of a company are sold, and the proceeds are distributed to the company's creditors. A court order is required to put a company into compulsory liquidation.
Creditors' voluntary liquidation: a director can propose a creditors’ voluntary liquidation if the company can’t pay its debts (it’s ‘insolvent’) or enough shareholders agree. This means the company will stop trading and be liquidated (‘wound up’).
Members' voluntary liquidation: the shareholders of a solvent company adopt a voluntary winding up resolution and appoint a liquidator to realise the assets of the business in order to distribute the proceeds to company members. A company is considered legally solvent when it is able to meet its financial obligations and the value of its assets.
These official statistics provide key information on personal and corporate insolvencies in Scotland. Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff. Further information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland is available here.
The statistics for individual insolvencies (bankruptcies and PTDs) and DAS are derived from administrative data of records processed within AiB and stored on the systems BASYS, ASTRA and DASH 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.
Corporate insolvencies are derived from administrative records provided by the courts, administrators and receivers. Note DASH was decomissioned on 30 June 2019 and its replacement, eDEN, went live on 1 July 2019.
Figures are produced from tabulation of raw data from relevant administrative systems for the number of bankruptcies, PTDs, DPPS under DAS and corporate insolvencies.
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 after the final quarterly release of the financial year and the revised figures are reflected in the first quarterly report of the next financial year.
DPP under DAS statistics are based on the date the DPP was approved. Corporate insolvencies are based on the date the insolvency was registered in AiB’s administrative recording system
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 2018-19 Q1, scheduled revisions will occur every quarter, which will provide users with data in a more timely manner and improve the accuracy of provisional estimates as more information becomes available. On the first release of the quarterly statistics, all new quarterly data are given provisional status and labelled with 'p'. These statistics will remain provisional until the data is finalised (i.e. no planned revisions). Any revisions that occur will be clearly marked with 'r' and an explanatory footnote in the relevant table. As is the current policy, revisions made for any other reason will be highlighted separately. Finalised figures will be published in the first quarter of the next financial year as the current policy states. Further details on the new revisions policy for scheduled revisions is shown in the table below.
Scheduled revisions for Quarterly Scottish Insolvency Statistics
The statistics produced by AiB are the most complete record of the number of personal and corporate insolvencies in Scotland. They include all statutory insolvency procedures available. Statistics on DAS, the only statutory debt management solution available in Scotland, 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 personal insolvencies in Scotland; the insolvency profession; debt advice agencies; media organisations; academics; creditors and the general public.
Accuracy and completeness
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 numbers of bankruptcies, PTDs and DAS DPPs 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.
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.
Checks are in place to identify and remove duplication of cases when extracting data from the administrative systems, to make sure that returns cover all debt management solutions, and to check consistency within tables and between related tables
AiB publishes year end totals of the quarterly statistics in its annual corporate report. These numbers may differ slightly to those reported throughout the year but the quarterly statistics are subsequently revised to match.
When producing statistics by local authority, numbers may differ slightly as postcodes of debtors cannot always be assigned, where this occurs these differences will be highlighted.
Overall, the annual corporate report and quarterly official statistics are the definitive source of statistics for statutory debt solutions in Scotland.
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 UK 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
Timeliness and punctuality
The Scottish Insolvency 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
Accessibility and clarity
The Scottish Insolvency Statistics are available free of charge to the end user on the AiB website. They are released via the website and ScotStat. Contact details can be found at the end of these background notes for any specific data requests
Changes in legislation and policy can affect the extent to which comparisons can be made over time for individual data series. Where such changes are known, they have been highlighted in the commentary and in the general background notes.
AiB supervises all personal insolvencies in Scotland and administers those bankruptcies where The Accountant is appointed as trustee.
Insolvent individuals in Scotland are subject to bankruptcy (sequestration) or enter PTDs under the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 (the 1985 Act). The 1985 Act was amended by the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1993 and on 1 April 2008, part 1 of the Bankruptcy and Diligence etc. (Scotland) Act 2007 came into force making changes to some aspects of bankruptcy in Scotland. Changes included the introduction of a type of bankruptcy for people with low income and low assets (LILA). The changes also took a number of processes out of the Scottish Court system, reducing costs and freeing up court time.
There were a number of changes to bankruptcy, debt relief and money advice in Scotland introduced by the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act 2014 (BADA(S)) which came into force from 1 April 2015, and amended the 1985 Act. A new type of bankruptcy was introduced through the BADA(S) for people on low income who do not own property and have very little in savings or other assets. This is known as Minimal Asset Process (MAP), and it replaced LILA.
On 30 November 2016 the new Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 2016 came into force. The Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act brought together Scottish laws on insolvency for the first time. Although no new policies were introduced, this consolidation exercise has made the complex area of bankruptcy more accessible for insolvency professionals, money advisers and those experiencing financial difficulties.
DAS is administered by AiB. A DPP approved under DAS allow individuals to repay their debts in full over an extended period of time whilst providing protection from enforcement by their creditors and safeguarding their home as long as mortgage payments are maintained. A DAS DPP can last for any reasonable length of time and, if approved, will freeze all interest, fees and charges on the debt included, resulting in them being waived if the individual fully complete the programme.
The legislation relating to DAS is contained in the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 and subsequent regulations. The Debt Arrangement Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2011 increased access to allow more debtors to apply for a debt payment programme under DAS and simplified the process, forms and notices. The Debt Arrangment Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2014 made provision for the application of the Common Financial Tool to individuals using the DAS scheme and required all qualifying debts to be included in an application by the debtor.
AiB is also responsible for receiving, extracting and recording information from certain forms relating to company liquidations and receiverships. The legislation appropriate to liquidations and receiverships is contained in the Insolvency Act 1986 and the Insolvency (Scotland) Rules 1986.
An Official Statistics publication for Scotland
The figures released today 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
For general enquiries about Scottish Government statistics please contact:
Office of the Chief Statistician
Telephone: 0131 244 0442
How to access background or source data
The data collected for this statistical bulletin are available on the AiB Statistics webpages at www.aib.gov.uk/aboutaib/statisticsdata/quarterlyreports
Details of bankruptcies, PTDs, liquidations and receiverships can be found on the Register of Insolvencies, which is maintained by Accountant in Bankruptcy and can be accessed at: https://roi.aib.gov.uk/roi/
The DAS register is an online public register which holds information about those who have a DPP under DAS, available at: https://services.aib.gov.uk/dasregister
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
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
You may use or re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. See: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/opengovernmentlicence/