From the desk of Gavin McCosker – Continuing our service improvement journey

No doubt many people will be happy to say goodbye to what has been another difficult year, for some of us personally, for the country and for the world more broadly.

On the positive side, we have remained adaptable and resilient in the face of ongoing challenges. I am proud that AFSA has continued to serve the community to a high standard and progressed our transformation journey, despite the challenges many of our staff have faced during COVID-19 related lockdowns this year. I am also mindful that members of the community and many of our stakeholders, particularly some insolvency practitioners, have been struggling over an extended period due to the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. 

In keeping with our purpose of striving to be a firm and fair regulator delivering world-class services, we are transforming our services to make it as easy as possible for our users. This involves redesigning and digitising every element of our services; a project which is expected to continue into 2023 and will involve working with external stakeholders to integrate data and streamline processes. This work will also underpin our 2021-22 compliance goals to support vulnerable users, drive willing compliance and engagement, and strengthen trust and confidence in the profession.

A key part of redesigning and digitising our services is ensuring the right distribution of work between AFSA and the private sector. In July we implemented a new distribution model for bankrupt estates including a process to support increased gender diversity in the insolvency profession. This involves offering estates which meet certain criteria to registered trustees to administer. We will be reviewing feedback and data in relation to the new process towards the end of January 2022 to identify opportunities to improve how the distribution model operates. 

Demand for our personal property security services has remained high. With supply chain issues supporting a booming second-hand car market and businesses wishing to assess risk in times of increased uncertainty, usage of the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) has continued to be very strong. We’ve looked at ways to improve the experience for infrequent users of the PPSR, with the support of the Australian Government’s Behavioural Economics Team, and we initiated a process to identify even more opportunities to leverage the PPSR to support increased productivity in the economy. 

We have also been working closely with the Attorney-General's Department to explore proposals canvassed in ‘The bankruptcy system and the impacts of coronavirus’ discussion paper released early this year. We will engage closely with our stakeholders should law reform commence. 

We owe a great deal to you, our stakeholders, whether you are from industry, government or represent the community, for engaging positively with us. Your input is vital to ensuring the personal insolvency and personal property securities systems fulfil their purpose and continue to improve. Thank you for working with us throughout the year. 

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the leadership of our former Chief Executive, Hamish McCormick, who formally retired last month. He made a significant contribution to AFSA and to our ongoing work to be a firm and fair regulator and world-class government service provider.

I wish you all the best for the holiday period and look forward to working with you again in the new year.