Avante Recruitment Ltd was incorporated in February 2015 as a company that specialised in recruiting candidates for finance, accountancy and insolvency roles.
From mid-2016, however, Avante Recruitment failed to make adequate tax payments and did not always file tax returns when due. This eventually led to the company entering into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation in September 2017.
The winding-up of Avante Recruitment triggered an investigation by the Insolvency Service, which found that former director, Simon Anthony Charles Wooding (52), of Altrincham, had been acting as director while disqualified from doing so.
Simon Wooding had previously been disqualified in May 2016 for three-and-a-half years over his conduct while director of a separate company, AMS Search and Selection Limited. Simon Wooding signed a disqualification undertaking in which he did not dispute he caused AMS Search and Selection not to pay appropriate taxes, mirroring conduct in the case of Avante Recruitment.
Though he officially resigned his role as director of Avante Recruitment in November 2016, investigators established that Simon Wooding still acted as a director up to the date of the company’s liquidation in September 2017.
On 15 May 2019 the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Simon Wooding for nine years after he did not dispute that he had acted in the management of Avante Recruitment while being a disqualified director and caused the company not to pay appropriate taxes.
Effective from 5 June 2019, he is banned from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
His wife, Julie Ann Wooding (60), also of Altrincham, signed a disqualification undertaking on 15 May 2019. She did not dispute that she had caused Avante Recruitment Ltd not to pay appropriate taxes, and is banned for a period of 3 years and 6 months, effective from 5 June 2019.
Anthea Simpson, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said:
The Insolvency Service has turned the spotlight on a disqualified director who thought he could flout his ban by operating in the shadows.
Company directors should be under no illusion that it is a criminal offence to act in the management of a company whilst banned, and we will investigate those who choose to ignore this warning.
Simon Anthony Charles Wooding is of Altrincham and his date of birth is November 1966.
Julie Anne Wooding is of Altrincham and her date of birth is February 1959.
Avante Recruitment Ltd (Company Number: 09424074).
AMS Search and Selection Limited (Company Number: 07054707).
A disqualification undertaking has the effect that, without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:
- act as a director of a company
- take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership
- be a receiver of a company’s property
Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.
Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of other restrictions.
The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.
Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.