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Companies House looking to take a more robust role on company filings

16 November 2020

The changes currently proposed by the Government to Companies House are likely to be amongst the most significant since the Companies Act 2006 originally came into force and expand on the PSC and other filing regimes already in place. Each proposal builds on the goals of Companies House to be a more robust and accurate depository of company information. Underpinning the majority of the changes is the drive to improve transparency concerning the ownership and senior officers of a company. Whilst Government agencies (and certain credit agencies) have previously been able to access Companies House information held in private (such as director’s residential addresses and full dates of birth), there is now a greater drive to share and compare that information. Therefore, companies will need to be mindful that information held at Companies House is increasingly likely to cause complications if that information is not accurate. Rather than being a casual afterthought, the accuracy of information filed at Companies House going forward should be considered as important as an audit.

Changes to the regime for appointments of directors are also proposed - going forward such appointments are likely to take place on registration at Companies House following ID checks taking place, rather than at the point of any board/shareholder/investor approval. Given that a director appointment by registration will therefore be a clear question of fact going forward, companies should be careful to ensure these appointments are filed promptly and accurately and if time is of the essence also ensure that any ID checks are carried out in advance wherever possible. For example, failure to register a director at Companies House could call into question whether that person is “a statutory director” and whether this could impact on them qualifying for cover under any existing insurance policy (such as D&O insurance).

Ultimately, filings at Companies House in the future are going to carry far more importance and relevance than previously - if a company does not currently have any framework in place to provide support and guidance on filings at Companies House, now would be a good time to reconsider this. If your company or group is interested in this type of support, please contact Rob Hallmark who heads up the CoSec (Company Secretarial) team at Browne Jacobson LLP - we support over 500 companies with all of these requirements and would be very happy to assist you.

For a full analysis of all major changes being proposed please see our previous article from Emma Grant, Knowledge Director at Browne Jacobson LLP.

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