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The number of people entering Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) to resolve their debt problems has fallen from the record highs experienced earlier this year, according to today’s official insolvency figures.

There were 13,143 IVAs in the third quarter of 2014 – down by 9.8% on the record numbers seen in previous quarter and 1.9% on the same period last year. According to the insolvency trade body R3, the continued growth in the number of IVAs may now have peaked.

The government figures show that there were 24,837 individual insolvencies in England & Wales in the third quarter, down by 4.6% on last year. Overall the personal insolvency rate for the 12 months to the end of September was the lowest since 2006.

Richard Wolff, North West chair of R3 and Head of Corporate Recovery and Insolvency at JMW Solicitors, says: “The recent spikes in personal insolvency numbers have been partially driven by people who were previously in unrecorded debt managements switching into formal processes – usually IVAs. It may be that the bulk of this ‘switch’ has now taken place.

“However until debt management plans are officially recorded, it will be difficult to establish the full picture of personal insolvency in England and Wales. R3 research shows 40% of North West adults said they were worried about their level of personal debt, so falling insolvency numbers do not necessarily mean the personal debt issue is going away.

“There are a few factors in the pipeline that could have an effect on future insolvency levels. A 2015 rise in interest rates might put too much pressure on household finances, while accelerated tax payment demands from HMRC could have an impact further down the line too.

“There is still much scope for personal insolvency reform. The current regime does not do enough to protect creditors from reckless debtors, while it is sometimes too hard for debtors to access a debt solution appropriate to their needs.”