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Companies House: Protecting personal identity

17th Jan 2017
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The Companies Act requires certain personal information to be collected and made publicly available. This includes historical and current records for limited companies. This means details remain on the register even after a company has been dissolved or an officer has left their position.

Technology lets us access information more easily. The Companies House Service (CHS) had 6.5 million visits in December.  Easy access to company information is important for business.

To help secure personal details, information can be protected by following a few simple procedures. Company officers have to give their usual residential address (URA) to Companies House. Since 1 October 2009, companies can also give a ‘service address’ for display on the public record. URAs must still be provided, but we keep them on a secure database and they’re only available to credit reference agencies and specified public authorities

From 10 October 2015 we have suppressed the day of birth from our data output products and only display the month and year. For example, December 1980. This was due to changes brought in by the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act. It doesn’t change the current law which requires the full date of birth to be given where required, but the registrar now doesn’t make the full date of birth available for public inspection. 

Any document that was registered prior to the new law coming into force on 10 October 2015 will still show the full date of birth, as Parliament decided the law wouldn’t be retrospective.

For officers at risk from the public because of the sensitive nature of their work, they can apply to remove home address details shown on historic documents from the public record. This is known as a section 1088 application. This doesn’t include removal of officers’ names, dates of birth or the company’s registered office address. A section 1088 application can only be granted where a director can provide proof they’re at significant risk of harm. A successful application will remove home address details from any historic document(s) and replace the home address with a service address. There is a fee of £55.00 per form. Applications to amend historic documents are only valid for documents that were registered at Companies House on or after 1 January 2003. In order to make a section 1088 application, a guidance booklet is available on our website.

If you’re acting on behalf of a company or any officers, it’s important to explain the full implications of publicly disclosing personal information.

Companies who electronically submit documents to us can help to protect their company information by joining the PROtected Online Filing (PROOF) scheme in Webfiling. This means we’ll only accept certain documents electronically, and we’ll reject any of these documents if sent on paper.

The forms are:

  • Registered office address
  • Officer details (appointments, resignations or personal details)
  • Annual return / Confirmation statement.

This free service protects your company by stopping any unauthorised persons making changes to your records.

To join the PROOF scheme, the following steps must be completed:

  1. Select the ‘Join PROOF’ link near the padlock icon at the top of the overview screen
  2. Agree to the terms and conditions
  3. Select ‘Protect this company’. We’ll send you an email to state that the application has been successful. We’ll reject any paper versions of the listed forms and send them back to the registered office address.

If you would like more information, please visit us at our Website Companies House