Changes in Sources and Services Affecting What Our Clients are Ordering
Whilst we have maintained normal service within unchanged time frames, for the most part, here are some changes that have occurred since March 2020.
1) Companies House Payment Accounts
Companies House has advised us that they are not aware of any proposals to move away from payment by account for filing forms like MR01, CS01, NM01, or any of their current web filing services.
Updated in May 2021
The latest information is that when Companies House Direct and WebCheck are discontinued, all Companies House accounts for certified documents pre-1995 and other documents will cease. Companies House have informed us that this discontinuation will only occur when CHS has been enhanced to a satisfactory level. In future, users will have to pay for these services via CHS and the Companies House call centre via credit or debit cards.
We have expressed our concern with Companies House over their proposal not to replace the current CHD account process for ordering certified copies and documents, to which we received the following statement:
“That is the current position, but it has been logged as a customer requirement with our IT team for possible future deployment. We will continue to review the payment options in line with the feedback received from our customers and this has been raised by a number of customers.”
2) Upcoming changes when Companies House Direct and WebCheck are terminated
Update in July 2021
Companies House have been working on the Dissolved Search functionality for companies dissolved prior to 2010, but, before this is released, they have asked my team at CRO Info to be involved with assessing and providing feedback on this iteration to their User Research Team.
As a result of the feedback we and others have provided, Companies House have enhanced the system by adding in a great deal of previously missing images. They have also loaded dissolved company records dating back to January 2010, created a (private) release of Dissolved Search functionality for testing and added other enhancements – these bring the CHS up to a level that is as good, if not better, than the current functionality of CHD.
The following steps planned by Companies House are to complete the loading of pre-1995 images that have been previously scanned but not yet made available. This adds the ability to order the company report to the Dissolved Search service and releases enhanced search and reporting functionality on CHS, allowing users to search for sets of companies that match various, flexible search criteria.
Sam Lloyd is on the board of ACRA (The Association of Company Registration Agents Limited) and has regular meetings and discussions with the Registrar of Companies and her team. Many of our clients using company formation and company registration packages welcome updates as they happen. If you would like to be on the list of recipients for these update reports, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Filing of Hard Copy Documents
Working from home magnified challenges for legal professionals in raising cheques for fee bearing documents and organising delivery of documents to be filed at Companies House. Hence, we continue to evidence demand for Company Registrations Online’s corporate secretarial services – where we act for clients by physically presenting documents to be filed, paying fees on behalf of clients and collecting evidence of filing.
At a recent meeting, Companies House was challenged over the loss of posted or presented documents and cheques being separated or lost from the filings to which they relate. Their response was conciliatory, and they have already put in place additional IT functionality and procedures to improve their workflow.
Insolvency and Companies List (formerly known as the Companies Court)
Since March 2020, there has been limited service available for physical attendance at the Court. Our service to provide online court searches with the CE file remained unaffected, and we continue to meet 30-minute timescales even with surprisingly increased demand. Raising queries with the Court staff was not available or was restricted (and continues to be so).
Historically, our practice for High Court Bankruptcy petitions was to check the CE file and, for extra diligence, check the Bacchus system for any entries submitted through the Central London County Court. The Bacchus system has not been available and remains inaccessible. Our Reports for High Court Bankruptcy searches display a note to this effect.
On 26th June 2020, The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 introduced new procedures and measures seeking to rescue companies in financial distress. As a result, we initiated reporting any Moratorium filed under Part A1 Insolvency Act 1986 or Restructuring plan under Part 26A Companies Act.
Many of our clients opt for extra due diligence beyond the content of a Winding Up Search. Full Insolvency reports ensure clients are informed of actions filed in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Wales, and regional Courts. A full company insolvency search also reveals actions for companies registered in Scotland and notices of any voluntary winding proceedings, including a Companies House check, and checks of The London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes.
International Reports and Registry filings
This area of our business has seen a significant increase, reflecting the positive activity of the global business our legal clients are involved in. We continually seek and find new official Registry online access and other recognised sources for reports and data on companies worldwide.
Amongst the many improvements we encounter with our international sources, the following are just two examples of recently improved information available through international company search:
Cayman Islands – Director details are now available online at the General Registry of the Cayman Islands.
China – We now are able to offer reports on Chinese Companies within two hours, as well as include beneficial ownership where available.