Companies House information is the source of checkSURE
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Who is Companies House?
Companies House, the UK's regulatory body for company registrations and financial records, is an impressive regime and held up as a model of best practice around the world. The remit for Companies House is to regulate the corporate sector and provide company information on UK companies.
Companies House has two main functions: the administration of the companies’ registry and the provision of company information to the public. In fact, whilst it is often thought that Companies House is a government department it is an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry.
Companies House - Main Office in Cardiff
Birdseye View of the main office in Cardiff
Companies House – World Class
As an agency, Companies House operates within an increasingly dynamic public sector environment with demands for rising levels of efficiency and accuracy. Companies House aims to satisfy regulatory obligations and customer needs efficiently and economically and is generally accepted to be world class. In practical terms, Companies House produces products and services information, guidance booklets, FAQs and company information to any one who contacts them. checkSURE takes delivery of Companies House information in ‘raw’ form through an intermediary, ICC, and then reformats for ease of use, storage and display in various report formats through its world beating web service.
Companies House is also one of the few government organisations that can say that it is at the forefront of digitising its information so that it can be accessed online.
In fact, over 103 million company documents received in Companies House over the last 15 or so years are available through the checkSURE service. Apparently, the total grows by more than 5 million documents per annum, making it one of the world's largest publicly-accessible repositories of electronic image-based information.
Companies House – Internet Savvy
Companies House is also one of the few UK government organisations that dominate the URLs associated with their name. Clearly someone Internet savvy within the Companies House organisation has decided that these should not be available to just anyone.
All recent and current records of millions of live companies, together with those of directors and company secretaries, are covered. Given the Government's plans for the delivery of public sector services through the web by 2005 Companies House is well advanced.
checkSURE's data relies on the accuracy of information supplied and held by Companies House since the directors of companies are legally required to submit certain types of information and keep this data up to date. Even though the data is acquired raw it can be analysed either by computer or by the mark one human eyeball.
The information is only as good as what the law can induce, cajole or enforce individual directors and owners of the Companies and businesses that it covers to submit to Companies Housefor addition to the their database.
However, since the legal measures taken against those who do not submit accurate information in a timely manner is taken reasonably seriously in the UK, Companies House has a better record than similar bodies in other European countries.
For example, in Germany many limited companies choose to pay a fine rather than reveal their profit and loss numbers to the German equivalent.
Arguably, this is a sensible course of action on their part - company information is sensitive at the best of times and meeting these requirements might compromise business plans.
Nonetheless, when individuals choose to protect the extent of their liability behind a legal personality such as that of a limited company, they should expect to provide data on their activities, which is publicly available.
Any analysis of the respective worldwide regulatory regimes for limited companies would throw up some deficiencies in the way that the UK Companies House operates. Nonetheless, there is an organisation that the UK should be very proud to promote as being amongst the best in an increasingly sophisticated globalised economy Companies House.
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