Changes to rules for companies – the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (the Act) brings in changes to provide greater transparency and increased trust in UK companies, as well as streamlining some Companies House filing processes.

The changes will be brought into effect on a staggered basis and the government has published implementation dates which may be subject to change. The following changes will be brought in by the Act:

October 2015

Directors’ dates of birth

Enable Register of Companies to omit day of date of birth for company directors from information available for public inspection, which will reduce the potential threat of identity fraud.

Accelerated strike-off

Reduction in timescales under which the Registrar may strike off companies from the register will be reduced to approximately 4 months.

Consent to act as a director or secretary

There will no longer be a requirement for companies to provide the Registrar of Companies with consent by a company director or secretary to act in that capacity. A statement will now be added by Companies House to the relevant forms to confirm that the person has consent to act.

Companies House will now write to newly appointed directors to make them aware their appointment has been filed on the public register and to explain their duties.

December 2015

New processes will be brought in to deal with getting falsely appointed directors’ details removed from the register, and to deal with a company using an address for its registered office which has not been authorised.

April 2016

Companies will be required to keep a register of people who have significant control over the company (a PSC register). A person with significant control of a company is someone who holds more than 25% of the shares and voting rights in the company, or who exercises or has the right to exercise or holds significant influence or control over the company.

June 2016

Companies will be required to send the information contained in the PSC register to Companies House. Private companies will be able to opt to keep certain information on the public register only.

October 2016

A prohibition on appointing corporate directors will be introduced. Companies with existing company directors will need to meet the conditions for an exception or give notice to the Registrar that the person has ceased to be a director.