William Eichler 30 May 2019

Companies House reforms to make detection of criminal behaviour ‘easier’

The Government has launched a consultation on proposals it says will bring about the ‘biggest changes’ to Companies House in nearly two centuries.

The proposals aim to make it easier to know who is in charge of a company. They also seek to improve the accuracy and usability of data, and make it easier to detect possible criminal behaviour.

A recent report from the fraud investigation technology provider HooYu identified loopholes at Companies House that enables individuals to register as a director even after being struck-off from holding company directorships.

The research found that of the 6,700 currently disqualified directors, over 800 – or one in eight – still appear to have an active directorship.

The Government’s proposed changes to Companies House, the biggest since it was established in 1844, would mean that directors, people with significant control (PSCs) and those filing information would have to have their identity verified.

The proposals would also mean extending the powers of Companies House to query information before it is entered on the register and making it easier to remove inaccurate information.

Access to the register will be carefully managed, allowing only identified or authorised people to file information.

The proposed changes also aim to make the exchange of intelligence between organisations easier, so that possible criminal behaviour can be detected.

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