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Addresses in the Public Domain
At present, the names of all Directors of UK registered companies must be filed at Companies House. As all information filed at Companies House is in the public domain, these records are available to purchase by any member of the public. Obviously, with the advent of the Internet it has become arguably easier and definitely quicker for the general public to access this information.
Once the Company Act 2006 is fully in place, then Directors and Secretaries will be allowed to file a contact address other than their home address, although the record of the home address will still have to be stored by the company itself.
The main reason for having easy access to these addresses was always that there should be some form of accountability of directors to their companies' creditors. The less than honest directors would not simply be able to wind up a company and leave no trail.
Given the number of people who have contacted checkSURE over the years who feel as though they have been duped by unscrupulous companies (and the directors behind them), we fully subscribe to the sentiment behind this reasoning. Therefore we will not alter the director information that emanates form Companies House in any way.
checkSURE also has information on resigned directorships and on directorships in dissolved companies because this information is rightly in the public domain. Obviously there were exceptions to the rule and those directors who thought that their home address details could constitute a safety risk for either themselves or others at that address could apply to the Secretary of State for a confidentiality order. If this was granted then a service address could be used in the public domain with their home address still registered but only able to be viewed by designated competent authorities.
The new legislation in the 2006 Company Act will give all directors a similar right in that they will all be able to register a service address in the public domain but their actual address can now be stored in a secure register.
We think this is a step backwards in terms of both transparency and regulatory good practice with respect to the benefits afforded individual directors who claim limited liability for their business activities. However, whilst we view this as a highly regrettable development in terms of finding out which individuals are behind UK Companies we recognize that is now an option that directors wishing to conceal their contact addresses can exercise. Any address update made at Companies House will subsequently be reflected in the data that we hold and display.
If you are a company director and want to change your address details you will need to fill in Companies House Form 288c. An example can be seen here.
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