Q&A with Eileen Maclean on IPA Committee membership

Insolvency Support Services’ Director Eileen Maclean is a member of the IPA’s Standards, Ethics and Regulatory Liaison Committee. She was recently interviewed for an IPA communications feature. Here’s what she said.

What is your career background?

After a couple of years in the accountancy profession, I found my spiritual home in insolvency. I stumbled into the field 30 years ago and have never left. I spent 9 years with Ernst & Young in Edinburgh, before becoming a self-employed sub-contractor to the insolvency profession in 1999. In 2009 I co-founded Insolvency Support Services Limited, and this year celebrated (another!) 10 years of providing training, compliance, outsourcing and practice support to the UK insolvency profession.

I’ve been a member of R3 and licensed by the IPA since 1996. I represented Scotland on R3’s National Council for six years, am an active member of R3’s Scottish Technical Committee and represent Scotland on the IPA’s Standards, Ethics & Regulatory Liaison Committee. I also represent the IPA and R3 on the AiB’s PTD Standing Committee and Bankruptcy Stakeholder Group and recently attended the Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Discussion Forum chaired by Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills on behalf of the IPA and R3.

Why did you join the Standards, Ethics and Regulatory Liaison (SERL) Committee?

I was invited to join SERL to ensure that any particular Scottish angle on legislation, consultations and regulation was represented and considered by the Committee. It’s important that the IPA’s committees take account of the various jurisdictions their members work in. There are often subtle but key differences in how an insolvency plays out north and south of the Scottish border, and my role on SERL is to ensure that these are reflected. My 30 odd years’ experience as an IP don’t go amiss either!

What is the role of the SERL at the IPA? 

SERL monitors industry activity and issues, including their potential impact on standards in the insolvency profession. We work with the IPA Council to recommend developments to member guidance, ethics and standards and, similarly, liaise with the Joint Insolvency Committee (JIC) to promulgate professional guidance to the wider profession. As part of this, SERL works with the IPA’s regulatory operations department to ensure that understanding is consistent across the organisation in terms of guidance and standards for IPA members.

SERL also plays a key role in formulating the IPA’s response to UK and Scottish Government consultations.

What is the value to you and your firm of being on this committee?

Being on any committee and representing your fellow IPs is a privilege. I work with some great people, and it’s always interesting and useful to hear the wider views and concerns of the others working in the profession. In turn, I can gather and relay common themes to various stakeholders, and it means that ISS’s training, compliance and practice management approach reflects current best practice. Issues that IPs raise with me and my ISS colleagues can be channelled back to SERL, the IPA generally and the AiB, among others. I really enjoy the interaction, our discussions and a well-argued alternative viewpoint.

If you were not an insolvency practitioner, what would you be doing?

The only other thing that I think could provide the variety, the challenges and the complexity of insolvency would be a career in politics. But if I didn’t have to work, I would write, garden and get a dog!