Government shelves Companies House six-year data wipe plan

Controversial plans for Companies House to delete records of dissolved companies after six years rather than the current 20-year threshold have been shelved

Under the plans, accountants including insolvency practitioners and mergers and acquisitions advisers would have been denied access to key historical records, potentially concealing evidence of wrongdoing and incompetence by directors.

The move had the potential to make it harder for directors’ track records to be assessed. A litany of company failures is often considered a warning sign about a director, but had the plans gone ahead, only a relatively small snapshot of a director’s past would be available should the proposals go ahead.

It is estimated approximately 2.5 million records were under threat. The proposal was primarily driven by data protection concerns and complainants citing the right to be forgotten. Complaints have risen significantly since Companies House moved to a free service in 2015.

Police investigators, the National Crime Agency, the Serious Fraud Office, lawyers, journalists and bank compliance teams all make extensive use of the data in the course of their work.

In a statement to CCH Daily, Companies House said:

The government has no current plans to bring forward proposals to reduce the period of time that Companies House retains records of dissolved companies.

We will continue to keep the retention period under review. Any future proposal to change the retention period would be subject to public consultation but there are no current plans to do this.

Published on: 07 March 2017 - By: CCH Daily

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