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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Improving the accuracy of the Companies House register

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act will introduce a number of changes to UK company law.

In our last blog post, we shared more information about new rules for registered office addresses, the registered email address, and the new lawful purpose statements.

This time, we’re focusing on our new and enhanced powers to query information and request supporting evidence.

We expect these powers to come into effect on 4 March 2024. The introduction of these changes needs secondary legislation so this date is still dependent on parliamentary timetables.

Check boxes with a question mark, a tick and a cross in them.


Registrars’ objectives

Our powers to query information and request supporting evidence are strongly linked to the new objectives introduced by the act for the 3 company registrars:

  1. To ensure that anyone who is required to deliver a document to the registrar does so (and that the requirements for proper delivery are complied with).
  2. To ensure information contained in the register is accurate and that the register contains everything it ought to contain.
  3. To ensure that records kept by the registrar do not create a false or misleading impression to members of the public.
  4. To prevent companies and others from carrying out unlawful activities, or facilitating others to carry out unlawful activities.

These new objectives will help shape our decisions when we receive information, and our new and enhanced powers will give us the tools we need to act on these decisions. Over time this will improve the accuracy and integrity of the information on the register and safeguard against misleading or unlawful activity.

What this means  

Companies House currently has limited powers to correct or query information. From 4 March 2024, we’ll take a more robust approach to dealing with information that’s provided to us:

  • before it’s accepted and published on the register
  • after it’s accepted and published on the register

We’ll also be able to query information that was already on the register before these measures come into effect.

Queries may arise from our own investigations or because we’ve had information from elsewhere which raises questions about the accuracy of the information.

A ‘query’ will start with a request for more information and supporting evidence. For example, we could ask more questions about a share capital figure that seems too high or the age of a director that seems unusual.

Our powers to query information will not necessarily stop false, misleading or incorrect information being accepted and published on the register, as this type of activity is not always obvious. However, we can still ask for more information and supporting evidence after the information has been published.

Once we identify false, misleading or incorrect information, we’ll be able to remove it more quickly than we can at the moment. We’ll also have more powers to share information with law enforcement agencies and other government departments from 4 March 2024. This will make a big difference to the integrity of the information of the register – and to individuals and companies who have been impacted by false, misleading or incorrect information.

We will not be able to act on all the information we receive, and we’ll prioritise those cases that pose the biggest risk to the integrity of the register – using the registrars’ objectives to help us to prioritise.

Additional changes, such as identity verification, will come into effect later and will strengthen these earlier measures.

What to do if we ask you for more information  

It’s important that you respond quickly when we ask you for more information so that we can decide the next steps. If your case escalates to a formal query for information and you still do not respond, this is a criminal offence and there could be serious consequences including:

  • a financial penalty
  • prosecution

We’ll give you 14 days to respond to a formal query.

This is a brand new approach for Companies House which will grow and evolve as we introduce new processes and ways of working. We’ve already spent 24,000 hours training 730 colleagues to make sure we’re ready to deal with the opportunities ahead. We're confident that, over time, these new powers will make a difference to the accuracy and integrity of the information on the register.

Read the GOV.UK factsheet about the role and powers of the registrar of companies.

We're not able to provide answers to complex queries or comment on individual cases on our blog. Read our comments and moderation policy.

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  1. Comment by Venkata Panchumarthi posted on

    Hi, I am Venkata Panchumarthi. I read this article and it is very informative. I like the way you explained about the topic. Thank you so much for sharing all this wonderful info. It is so appreciated!!!

  2. Comment by Alistair W posted on

    Long overdue - too many horror stories of fake companies springing up everywhere, the Covid frauds still leave a particularly nasty taste in the mouth ...

  3. Comment by Clive Mence posted on

    The scandal of doubtful company registrations and closed circle managements has long needed correcting.
    Why don't you use 'crowd science' and allow those with the time and patience to trawl data to help you in discovering dubious submissions?

  4. Comment by Morapeli J Moupo posted on

  5. Comment by Steve posted on

    Although I welcome the changes, I still find it a massive security risk that personal details of a company director and shareholders are plastered all over the internet indefinitely for anyone to find. This cannot easily be removed even once a business has ceased trading, as mine did almost three years ago. Once again it feels like we are all being treated with suspicion because of a minority of dubious registrants.

  6. Comment by Graham Ross posted on

    I resolve disputes between shareholders. A very common problem is when onw or more shareholders inform Companies House that a director has been removed or resigned when this is not the case i.e there has been no resignation nor a properly convened meeting of shareholders passing a Resolution to remove the Director . This means that the Register displays false information which currenlty can only be corrected either by the agreement of the person posting the information or in accordance with an Order of Court.

    I hope that with the new powers that the Registrar will avoid the necessity to clog up our courts by reinstating on failure of the company to provide the evidence (written resignation or minutes of a Resolution at a meeting, for which Special Notice had been given, to support the change,