Potential changes to the way bankruptcies are decided in Scotland will not be affected by a new one year advice pilot, according to the body over seeing reform of the country’s insolvency legislation.
Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) yesterday (4 April) announced it was looking to recruit two people on secondment at Type III level of the Scottish National Standards, to look at offering early stage debt advice on a “triage” basis.
The recruitment announcement has provoked a backlash as AiB launched a consultation on how Scotland’s bankruptcy workings can be modernised in February this year that will not close until May.
The pilot, which AiB says will run for a year, is funded by the Money Advice Service (MAS). But questions have also been raised about the recruitment level of the people as Type III advisors have the ability to represent at court and appeal tribunals.
Financial advisors Carrington Dean’s legal advice and money training manager Alan McIntosh claimed the consultation was now effectively “cancelled”.
He said: “I unfortunately believe taking the steps to seek applicants yesterday was in poor judgement and will create a strong feeling of deflation amongst stakeholders that these issues have already been decided and encourage apathy about the whole consultation process.
“I was truly hoping it was a genuine consultation meaning for the first time in a generation we could modernise the rules.
“I now think the AiB is hoping to beat down the industry and create a feeling of defeatism so people will think there’s no point in opposing it.”
AiB chief executive Rosemary Winter-Scott said: “The consultation has not been cancelled.
“We are getting a couple of people to work on a pilot for a triage tool offering early advice of debt. It won’t be part of us.”
AiB executive director policy and compliance Claire Orr added: “It is a pilot project, a pathfinder funded by MAS, looking at the concept of advice triage and is completely in line with the consultation.”
The AiB also said the advisors were being recruited at the appropriate level for the work.