On 5th May the Government announced further changes to the Companies House service in an attempt to ensure the safeguarding of personal data of business owners, improve the accuracy of the register and contribute to UK efforts to tackle economic crime. Companies House was accessed 6.5 billion times last year and includes over 4 million limited companies.
The reforms will increase the traceability of company ownership and management, while offering business owners and businesses greater protection from fraud.
The changes include:
- Knowing who is setting up, managing and controlling companies: Those who have a key role in companies will have their identity verified.
- Improving the accuracy and usability of data on the register: Companies House will now be able to query and corroborate information before it is entered on the register. This will also mean it is easier and quicker to remove inaccurate information from the register.
- Protecting personal information on the register: Directors will be given additional rights over their information, for example personal home addresses, while ensuring this information is still available in a transparent manner to public authorities where appropriate.
- Improving the detection of possible criminal behaviour: Better information sharing by Companies House, other Government bodies and financial institutions will better protect businesses and ensure faster and more sophisticated identification of possible criminal activity – benefitting businesses and consumers.
Any improvement to the current process for rectifying errors on the register will be warmly received by business owners, businesses and their advisers. In some circumstances, costly and time consuming court applications are required to rectify filing inaccuracies. The removal of such an onerous requirement and the streamlining of the process will be a step forward in the ongoing effort to cut red tape.
The timing of the reforms is currently unknown, but we will keep you updated with these developments.
Mark Daly is a Partner in the Corporate team at Greene & Greene solicitors. Contact him on 01284 717500 or [email protected] For more information on Greene & Greene please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow @greenegreenelaw.