Keep Companies House files available
Release time: 11 August 2016
The Chartered Institute of Journalists is urging Companies House to preserve access to files on all businesses that have failed and been dissolved in the last 20 years.
Britain’s longest established professional association of journalists warns that a proposal to restrict provision to only 6 years will deny the public vital information on the record of company directors.
CIoJ President Mark Croucher warned: “All journalists need to be able to research the background of business people taking decisions that affect the working lives and consumer experience of ordinary people.”
He added that ‘telescoping down the access period so drastically amounts to a default cover-up of behaviour and conduct that dodgy directors would prefer to be expunged.’
Companies House manages databases for UK companies, listing all directors, shareholders and annual returns of accounts. It is required by the Companies Act 2006 to maintain this information and the Institute believes this requirement should be kept.
The agency’s proposal to reduce the time it keeps records is the result of lobbying from directors with failed businesses who want to restrict personal information. They have also made representations to the Information Commissioner.
The Data Protection Act Section 34(c) states that personal data is exempt if the data controller is duty bound to make it available to the public. The Institute believes this exemption should be maintained to ensure there is maximum transparency about the activities of those involved in failed or fraudulent businesses.