Changes to business law designed to reduce red tape and increase transparency start in October - our business lawyers outline the changes

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015, with certain provisions affecting company transparency and filing expected to be implemented in phases over the next year. The principal aims of these provisions are to reduce red tape for businesses whilst increasing the quality of information on the public registers and to generally improve transparency.

The measures implemented by the Act will have an impact on all UK companies, with significant changes being made to legal requirements and filing at Companies House.

The government has recently published an updated timetable detailing the three stage implementation of the changes. The following is the latest position of the main changes to be employed:

October 2015

  •  Directors will no longer be required to publish the day of their birth on the public register but simply the month and year
  • The time taken for companies to be struck off will be reduced to two months from publication of the first Gazette notice, as opposed to the current position of three months
  • Newly appointed directors and secretaries will no longer be required to “consent to act” by providing a signature on paper forms and personal authentication on electric filings. Instead, a statement that the person has consented will be added to the necessary Companies House forms

December 2015

  • New processes will be implemented to remove falsely appointed directors from the register and to provide a remedy where a company uses a registered office without authorisation

April 2016

  • Pushed back from January 2016, companies will be required to keep a register of persons with significant control (PSC register). Companies will need to file this register at Companies House from 30 June 2016. The PSC register will be filed on incorporation and updated at “check and confirm” (See below)

June 2016

  •  Companies will be required to file a “confirmation statement” at least once a year to “check and confirm” the company information.  Companies will no longer need to file an annual return as a result of this new statement
  • Private companies will be able to elect to keep certain information on their public registers only, instead of on their statutory registers
  • Simplified statement of capital requirements will be implemented

October 2016

  • With limited exceptions, the appointment of corporate directors will be prohibited. Companies which have existing corporate directors will have to prove they fall within an exemption or give notice that the person has ceased to be a director

If you have any questions regarding this article or require any further information, please contact our business services team.