Government set to reform Companies House

The government is set to change the way Companies House works, with the largest reform of the company registration system in more than 100 years.

The reform was outlined in an 80-page consultation report and is intended to improve the exchange of intelligence between UK law enforcement, HMRC and Companies House.

The proposals also look to limit the risk of fraud and misuse of information by increasing the information that companies must disclose, as well as increased scrutiny of the information.

A period of consultation is underway to seek views on the reforms with four sections;

  • Increased information about who is setting up, managing and controlling companies
  • Improving the accuracy and usability of data on the companies register
  • Protecting personal information on the companies register
  • Ensuring compliance, sharing intelligence and other measures to deter abuse of corporate entities

The consultation period is due to close on 5 August 2019.

News of the reform comes after more than 10,000 complaints were registered in the last three years about the current system, with concerns over their personal data a key issue.

Louise Smyth, Chief Executive of Companies House, said:  “The register already plays a vital role in contributing to the UK’s economy through the investment decisions which rely on our data.

“This package of reforms represent a significant milestone for Companies House as they will enable us to play a greater part in tackling economic crime, protect Directors from identity theft and fraud and improve the accuracy of the register.”

The government notes in the consultation that the current system is ‘not fit for purpose’. The consultation also acknowledges that because of the scale of improvements, new systems and staffing transformation needed at Companies House, it will take ‘some years’ to deliver, as well as primary legislation to enact it.