First of all, the Companies House register is a listing of all UK companies and within each company’s profile, there is various information available. The Companies House website that shows this company information is also known as the public register. In addition, this index of public register information is maintained by Companies House and they update it throughout the course of the year, when each company makes an update. Furthermore, they also add new companies to the register and, periodically, remove those that no longer exist.
Nowadays, most company registrations are carried out online. However, a new company can still be set up through the post, although this is more expensive. When you set up a company, its registered office address must be in the same part of the country where it is incorporated -either England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. The Companies House register contains companies from the all of these parts of the UK.
There are hundreds of thousands of companies on the Companies House information index. Please note, you can view the public register on the Companies House (ROC) website.
Every limited company needs to send ROC information about:
- What it does in terms of trading activities.
- Who controls the company -Persons with Significant Control (PSC).
A good accountant will take care of the filing of official documents for you although officially this is part of a director’s duties.
Companies House register -what to think about
The first thing to think about, before you set up a new company, is which address you would like to use for your new business.
What’s more, when you incorporate a new business, company law as stated in the Companies Act 2006 will require you to provide an address for each of these:
- The registered office address. Important to note, this is the formal registered address is where the business will receive its official post.
- A service address for company officers. To clarify, this address is where company officers (directors and secretary) are officially contactable.
- The usual residential address’ for the directors.
- A service address for PSC’s. This stands for Person with Significant Control. Once again, this address is where PSCs are officially contactable.
- The usual residential address’ for PSC’s.
- The usual residential address of the initial subscribers (shareholders).
As mentioned above, the Companies Act requires a company officer and PSCs to provide their residential address. In most cases, this will be their home address. Please note they do not show the residential address on the public register.
Choosing your registered office and service addresses
When you set up your company, please note, if you choose to use your home address as either:
…then it will always show as a part of the Companies House register. Importantly, this is also the case, even if you change it at a later date. To sum up, you should have a careful think about this before you set up your new company.
Please to note, most company formation agents, solicitors, and accountants often offer an address hosting service for a small fee or no fee in the case of a lot of accountants.
UK companies also need to keep and maintain statutory records. In most cases, your contractor accountant will do this for you.
What is the Companies House public register?
ROC’s public record is a list for all UK companies. In return for the benefit of limited liability status, a company must be open and transparent, with regards to certain aspects of its affairs. As a result, various details show up as part of the Companies House information.
Therefore, when you set up a new company, ROC will review and register specific information about the company. Consequently, this data is then made available to the public.
The collection of Companies House information is often known as the public record or public register. What’s more, the details are at hand online, for the public and businesses to search for, free of charge. A person using this may need to look up some data, or they may be looking to do business with a company.
During a company’s lifetime, Companies House expects you to keep these details up to date, at all times.
To sum up, a person who becomes a director or officer of a company must be ready to have some of their private details show up on the public record.
Companies House retains all records of companies as long as they are active. The records of dissolved companies are also retained for 20 years, before they are transferred to the Public Records Office at The National Archives (TNA). Notably, this includes all of the information that relate to company directors or its officers. Therefore, once you have closed your company, Companies House will keep the details of your dissolved company for a period of 20 years.
The director’s details that show up on the Companies House public register
The five pieces of information, that show up on the public record for all UK directors, are:
- The month and year of your date of birth.
The details above are also shown for PSCs, except their nationality and occupation.
The director’s address and what you need to bear in mind
As we mentioned earlier, a director needs to provide two addresses, a service address, and a residential address.
A service address is one that a director can use to receive mail for the business. What’s more, this address can be the same as the registered office address, or it can be somewhere else.
The residential address is a director’s usual home address, and a director will need to inform ROC of this. Please note, it will not show up on the public record for all to see, as Companies House keep this on a private register.
ROC may however provide home address details to credit reference agencies and certain public bodies if there is a requirement to do so.
Therefore, to re-iterate, if a director or PSC use their home address as their service address or the registered office address, it will appear on the public register.
To sum up, if you do not want your home address to show on the public record, you should show a different address from the outset. Please note, the address that you choose will then show as your registered office and your director’s service address. The address that you choose could be that of your accountant, a service provider, or perhaps somewhere else.
An overall summary of the details on the UK public record
The details, that ROC displays online for each UK limited company, are as follows:
- The date of incorporation.
- The address of the registered office.
- Service address (s) of the directors.
- The month and year of birth of the directors.
- The nationality of the directors.
- Line of work of the directors.
- The name of the secretary.
- Service address of the secretary.
- Service address (s) of PSCs.
- The month and year of birth of the PSCs.
- The details of how the PSC controls the company.
- The nature of the business, i.e., the trading activity (s) (this is signified by the SIC code).
- The details of any official documents filed. The documents will include any accounts and Confirmation Statements. It will also include any changes to the company’s details. These details include the changes in directors, secretary, registered office, year-end, issue of new share capital, etc.
How can you change the details on the public register
When you need to find and update company information, such as your company registered office address or director or PSC address, or indeed any other changes, you can do so by these two methods:
- File a change via the Companies House service online which is called the WebFiling service. To do this, you will need to create an account on their website; or
- Make a change via the annual Confirmation Statement. Again, you will need to have a WebFiling account to be able to do this.
It is good to know, the Companies House Public Register is open and at hand, for anyone to see. Notably, ROC cannot prevent any third parties from being able to find certain details on here. However, certain information for all UK companies shows up as part of the public record, as we explain above. Therefore, if you would like to hide your home address, please consider our advice above.
Finally, ROC does not actively index information from its search services. Further to this, it is also good to know that they do not have any features on there that make it easier for search engines to collect or save this data.
Link to Contractor Advice UK group on