The government aims to enhance transparency and ensure the UK is seen as a trusted and fair place to do business. The new Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (Act) will affect all companies in some way as new measures will change certain legal requirements, including filings at Companies House.

Companies need to be aware of when each stage will be implemented, in order to comply with their new responsibilities.

Bearer shares were abolished with effect from 26th May 2015 and any existing share warrants will need to be surrendered within nine months.

The following provisions took effect from 10th October 2015:-

1. A change to the existing ‘consent to act’ procedure was introduced, affecting all newly appointed directors and secretaries. This new measure requires the submission of a statement confirming that the newly appointed director or secretary has consented to act in such capacity;

2. Newly appointed directors will now receive correspondence from Companies House confirming the filing of their new appointments and an explanation of their statutory general duties;

3. The day element of the date of birth of new and current directors on the public register has now been eliminated; and

4. There has been a reduction in the time it takes to strike off a company from the register. Previously, if no objections were registered by creditors a company was struck off not less than three months after publication of the first Gazette notice. This has been reduced by one month resulting in strike off taking not less than two months from when the first Gazette notice is published.

The remaining provisions will now be implemented during the course of 2016 and early 2017.

Companies should be aware that filing documentation late is a breach of the relevant provisions, but can also affect credit ratings due to credit reference agencies using this data as an indication of a company’s reliability.

New Beta Search Service

In line with the government’s commitment to free data, Companies House has launched a new public Beta search service available to the public. This user-friendly database now provides free public access to over 170 million digital records currently held on the UK register of companies.

Current features now available on the Beta service include:

  • Company overviews;
  • Current and resigned officers;
  • Officer searching;
  • Document images;
  • Mortgage charge data;
  • Previous company names;
  • Insolvency data; and
  • Change registered office address.

Planned features for the future will also include:

  • Disqualified directors;
  • Company monitoring;
  • Company name availability;
  • Dissolved companies; and
  • Overseas data.

Try the new Beta service today at https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/

If you would like to discuss how these measures might affect your company, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our corporate solicitors on 0845 287 0939. Alternatively please complete an online enquiry form.

 

This article was originally published in the Solicitors Journal.