Consumer affairs minister Kim Howells said the hotline had been a great help in catching up with directors: ‘Over 2300 calls have been take by the hotline since it started in January 1998 and nearly one in three of those callers has provided information which led to an investigation.’
A DTI spokeperson said the the phone line enabled anyone to inform the DTI where they knew of someone ‘acting as a director and going against their ban’.
‘If you start acting as a director it’s contempt of court,’ she explained. Once a director is disqualified they are not allowed to continue acting as directors for a period of time depending on the reason for disqualification.
The line allows the caller to remain anonymous, although this can make it difficult to prosecute.
‘We don’t actively advertise the hotline as anonymous because you have to leave your name and number and a lot of the time we rely on people for evidence in the case against the director,’ said the spokesperson adding that the person giving the tip-off is never forced to give evidence.
Last year, the DTI disqualified a record 1,500 directors and is currently in proceedings against a further 1,593.