Companies House, the official register of UK companies, has undergone a significant transformation with enhanced powers granted to it this week. These measures, implemented through the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCT Act), aim to elevate the quality of data, prevent fraud, and reinforce the integrity of the company’s register.

As of Monday 4 March, Companies House has been equipped to conduct thorough scrutiny of information, demand supporting evidence, and rectify inaccuracies. The stringent checks extend to company names to prevent the misuse of personal information, enabling the removal of inaccurate data.

Moreover, changes in registered office address regulations eliminate the use of PO boxes, promoting transparency. All companies are now mandated to register valid email addresses for secure and traceable communications.

The incorporation process now requires subscribers to confirm the lawful purpose of forming a company, with subsequent affirmation of the intended lawful activities in the company’s statement. This ensures a more accountable and legitimate establishment process.

Companies House can now collaborate with government departments and law enforcement agencies, sharing data to bolster efforts against economic crime.

Louise Smyth, CEO of Companies House, stated that these enhanced powers mark the most significant change in the organisation’s 180-year history. Smyth emphasised a crackdown on register abuse, prioritising cases where personal information has been used without consent.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake praised the reforms, highlighting their role in equipping Companies House to take a tougher stance against criminals exploiting the UK’s open economy. Hollinrake stated that the changes would enhance the UK’s reputation as a secure and attractive place for businesses.

The need for these robust measures became apparent when approximately 800 suspicious forms, indicating the discharge of financial liabilities, were submitted at Companies House. Britain’s largest banks were promptly placed on high alert, underlining the urgency of strengthening the register’s capabilities.

This marks the initial phase of Companies House’s new powers, with additional enhancements, including identity verification and accounts reform, planned for the future. The phased implementation aims to minimize disruptions for legitimate businesses, with Companies House committed to transparent communication and informative campaigns through its Changes to UK company law website.

The Financial Times reported that Graham Barrow, a financial crime expert, who has described the changes at Companies House as “seismic”, said the erroneous filings were “symptomatic of an organisation that is not fit for the 21st century and is now looking to drag itself into the 21st century by its bootstraps but without the necessary financial and human resources to do so”.

Companies House begins phased roll-out of new powers to tackle fraud