Recruitment process begins for insolvency service staff

Sat, Oct 13, 2012, 01:00

THE ESTABLISHMENT of the long-awaited personal insolvency service has moved a step closer with the announcement from the Department of Justice that it is recruiting up to 80 staff to work with the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) from early next year. *

This follows the recent appointment of Lorcan O’Connor as director-designate of the new service. He will formally take up his position on October 22nd.

Mr O’Connor is a chartered accountant and prior to his new post was a director in Deloitte restructuring services. He was appointed following an open competition conducted by the Public Appointments Service.

Up to 80 staff are likely to be recruited for the ISI and it is expected that they will mainly be staff who have been redeployed from other areas within the public service.

Arrangements are also being made for the administration of bankruptcy to be transferred from the Courts Service to the ISI.

The processing of applications to the courts will be centralised and automated but a number of specialist staff will be required on either short- or long-term contracts. The recruitment process for specialist staff, in particular for a number of accountants and an in-house solicitor, has now begun.

The Department of Justice said that if suitable staff could not be redeployed from across the public sector, they would be recruited through an open process organised by the Public Appointments Service.

Just over one in five home loans were in some kind of distress at the end of June and the legislation has been designed to help people to resolve their situation around debts they will never be able to repay.

The new legislation will reduce the bankruptcy term from 12 years to three, and will set up an out-of-court debt settlement system where mortgage debt of up to €3 million can be written down to affordable levels.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said more than 21,000 people could use the legislation in the first year of its operation.

“Important progress has already been made in progressing the Insolvency Bill through the Houses of the Oireachtas and enactment of the Bill is one of my key priorities during the current Dáil session,” Mr Shatter said.

He said he wanted the service to be in a position to open for business “as soon as possible after the necessary legislation is passed”. He said the approval by the Government of the staffing resources was “a key step”.

However, the service will not be operational until next January at the earliest, according to Government documents submitted to the IMF and EU authorities.

Considerable emphasis is being placed on developing the information and communications technology aspects of the new service and priority attention is being given to the design and development of the necessary case management, financial management and management information systems.

The process of identifying and securing an appropriate office premises for the insolvency service is also under way.

*  This article was edited on October 13th, 2012