The Insolvency Service maintains two facilities which provide information to the public, the Register of Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA) and the Bankruptcy Public Search Room (BPSR).

The Register of IVAs is available for members of the public and can be inspected in person or by written request for individual entry details. Telephone requests are not accepted. Enquirers are requested to provide full details of the individual for whom they would like to search. Enquirers will then be informed of the result of any search and, where a positive match is found, will be provided with a copy of the relevant register entry together with details of the Supervisor of the IVA (who must be a licensed insolvency practitioner), whom they may contact for further details. No charge is made for searches of the Register and the supply of relevant information.

The Bankruptcy Public Search Room maintains a record of bankruptcies from 1973 to the present. Details of bankruptcies dating from 1924-1973 are available on special request but are not available for public inspection and will not be searched routinely. Bankruptcy information is held on index cards filed in alphabetical order, which contain the name and address (at the date of the bankruptcy order) of individuals who have been made bankrupt in England and Wales. The date of discharge is NOT always shown. Searches can be made in person and also by post giving the name, postal address, occupation and date of birth (or approximate age) of the individual to be searched. Requests will normally be returned on the day of receipt, by post. Search requests by telephone cannot be accepted. No charge is made for this service.

Trust Online

Trust Online is operated by Registry Trust Limited and is a great example of public information being delivered by private means.

Registry Trust Ltd

Registry Trust is a not-for-profit company which operates the Registry of Judgments, Orders and Fines for England and Wales on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, as well as similar registers for Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and Jersey. All the information in the registers is public information and anybody may access them using the Trust Online site. You can check your own records or check other people's or businesses'.

The Companies Act requires public limited companies and their large private subsidiaries to state in days the average time taken to pay their suppliers and to publish this figure in their Directors report. This information provides small suppliers with a broad indication of when they can expect to be paid. In addition, the Federation of Small Businesses league tables of the average payment times of public companies and their large private subsidiaries. This will allow small suppliers, over time, to monitor and compare the payment times of these companies.

The role of Companies House is to incorporate companies and also to gather and relay information on these companies. They hold details of all the companies registered in Great Britain including details on accounts, mortgages and directors information, including details of disqualified directors.
Information is available by visiting their offices in person for a company search or by requesting the information by fax, post or online. Companies House Direct also provides information on-line and produces a wide range of publications to help companies. They provide information to their customers, including a quarterly customer magazine.

If you use credit insurance, your credit insurer can undertake the checks for you.