If you’re struggling with debt and considering an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), you may be concerned about whether your friends, family, and employees will know that you’ve entered into a debt solution. While IVAs are listed on a public register, there are a limited number of people who are likely to access that register.
In this guide we’ll take a look at the IVA register – what the register is, who can see details of your Individual Voluntary Arrangement, and why it’s highly unlikely that friends and employers will ever know you’ve taken part in an IVA.
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What is an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)?
An Individual Voluntary Arrangement, or IVA, is a formal debt solution available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Someone struggling with debts they have no way of repaying can enter into an IVA and agree to repay their creditors over time with a series of monthly repayments.
IVAs can be set up by a debt charity or debt management company and are administered by an Insolvency Practitioner (IP), a debt professional who specialises in the insolvency process. It’s the IP’s job to draft your proposal, get the agreement of your creditors, handle your payments, and share your contributions among your creditors each month.
An IVA typically lasts five years. As long as you stick to the agreement and maintain your payments you will be released from the arrangement at the end of that period, and any remaining debts will be written off, meaning you’ll be free to move on from your debts.
Will my IVA be listed on a public IVA register?
In short, yes. All IVAs are a matter of public record, and will be listed on a register that can be accessed by lenders and other parties in the financial services sphere.
This register is a small part of the larger Individual Insolvency Register, a public record of all the various insolvency cases in England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own registers that perform a similar function.
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How does the Individual Insolvency Register work?
The Individual Insolvency Register is a public record of all forms of insolvency in England and Wales. This includes the major and other debt solutions available in the UK, from Debt Relief Orders and bankruptcies, to Debt Management Plans and IVAs.
The Insolvency Service has a legal obligation to maintain a record of every individual or company who is insolvent so that there is a transparent account of the individuals and businesses who have found themselves in debt.
The register can be accessed online via the insolvency service website (here), and is free to use – all you need is the name or trading name of the individual or company involved. You can also search the register by taking the same information to your local branch of the official receiver’s office.
What details are held on the IVA register and for how long?
If you have entered into an IVA or another form of insolvency, details that will be available to view on the insolvency register include:
- Your name
- Your date of birth
- Your gender
- Your last known address
- The form of insolvency (IVA, bankruptcy, Debt Relief Order etc.)
- The date your arrangement started
- The name of the Insolvency Practitioner overseeing the agreement
Details of your insolvency will usually remain on the register for three months after the agreement has been revoked, terminated, or successfully completed. That means if you’re using an IVA, and you see it through to the end, details of that IVA should remain on the register for a total period of 5 years and 3 months.
Who can access the insolvency register and view my IVA?
Because the register is accessible by the public, in theory anybody with your information and the inclination can go online and find details of your IVA. In reality, however, there are only a select group of people who are ever likely to have knowledge of the arrangement.
The first and most obvious group of people to know when you enter into an IVA are your creditors – the people you are in debt to. You can’t enter into an IVA without their approval, so whichever companies or individuals are included in your arrangement will be aware of, and a part of, your IVA process.
Future lenders (credit card companies, banks, mortgage lenders)
The next group likely to be aware of your IVA are future lenders – any organisation you might want to borrow money from in the future. Whenever you apply for a credit card, a bank loan, or a mortgage, it’s standard procedure for the lender to perform a credit check. This will probably turn up details of your IVA, making it less likely that you will be approved for your loan.
Depending on what you do, there is a possibility you will be required to inform your employer when you enter into an insolvency agreement like an IVA. If you’re a lawyer, a police officer, or work in financial services, there may be a clause in your contract that forces you to divulge information about your debts and any debt solutions you’re involved in, however it’s not common.
Will my friends or family find out about my IVA?
It’s highly unlikely, unless you tell them. Because the Insolvency Register is public, anyone could in theory search your name and uncover details of your financial records, including entering into an IVA.
In practice, however, the only people likely to search the register or ask the credit reference agencies about your financial records are those who have a direct interest in them – banks, building societies, credit card companies, and mortgage brokers.
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Where can I get debt advice and information on Individual Voluntary Arrangements?
Living with debt can be stressful, especially if you’re embarrassed about your financial situation and worried that someone might find out. Don’t be.
You can’t fight debt on your own. At IVA Plan, we’re debt specialists. We help hundreds of people like you every day, and we’re with you every step of the way. Our team can run you through your options, and give you the help and information you need to make the right decision for you.
Don’t suffer on your own – reach out for expert debt help. Get in touch with IVA Plan today.