Companies House WebCHeck service is a free search facility that provides access to UK company data on the central public register. Users of WebCHeck can search for information using a company name or company registration number. In addition to this search facility, Companies House WebCHeck provides access to companies’ filing histories. Copies of these filed documents and reports can be accessed and purchased online by any member of the public.
The central public register at Companies House holds information on over 4.1 million companies. The corporate data that is available to the public includes details of company directors, secretaries, and members (shareholders and guarantors), as well as statutory company records and financial accounts.
Information available through Companies House WebCHeck
The purpose of disclosing information about companies is to provide the public with an open, true, and fair view of business activity and performance. This enhances corporate transparency and trust, encourages greater compliance, and allows challenges to be made where appropriate.
With the exception of a small category of material exempt from statutory disclosure requirements, the information provided to Companies House during the company formation process will be displayed on public record, in addition to all statutory documents filed after incorporation. This includes:
- Registered office details
- Company name and registration number
- Date of incorporation with Companies House
- Legal form of the business – company limited by shares, company limited by guarantee, limited liability partnership, etc
- Primary business activities
- Trading status of the company – active (trading), dormant, dissolved
- Directors’ details
- Company secretary details
- Shareholders’ details
- Information about People with Significant Control (PSCs)
- SAIL address details
- Statutory company records held at the registered office or SAIL address
- Company reports
- Key filing dates
- Annual accounts, annual returns and Confirmation Statements
- Any actions against the company
- Insolvency details
- Details of disqualified directors
In most cases, information that is placed on the public register remains there indefinitely. This includes the details of people who are no longer involved with a company. In exceptional circumstances, however, you may apply to Companies House and have your details removed as a matter of personal security.
Applications may be made to remove an address that has been provided to the registrar since 2003, if the availability of such information poses a significant risk or threat to an individual. Restrictions were further relaxed in the summer of 2018, providing a fairly simple procedure for removing your home address if it has been used as your service address.
Director information available on Companies House WebCHeck
The following details about company directors are disclosed on public record:
- Full name
- Date of birth (only the month and year will be available to the public)
- Service address (residential or other)
A director’s usual residential address must be provided to Companies House. It will only be placed on public record if it is used as a registered office or director’s service address, otherwise this information will only appear on a restricted private register held at Companies House.
Are shareholders’ and guarantors’ details held on public record?
Yes, certain information about shareholders and guarantors will be displayed on the public register. The original members (‘subscribers’) who form a private limited company must each agree to take shares in the company (or guarantee a sum of money to the company if it’s limited by guarantee) and provide the following information:
- Full name
- Contact/service address (this does not have to be a residential address).
- Class of shares held
- Number of shares held
- Currency of the shares
- Nominal value of each share
- Amount paid or unpaid on each share
All of this information will be displayed on public record. However, members who join a company after incorporation do not have to provide address details, unless they are also a Person with Significant Control (PSC). Only their names and share details will be available to the public.
How to find information through WebCHeck
It is relatively easy to find details about limited companies using Companies House WebCHeck. The majority of this information can be obtained free of charge. Other information may require a £1 fee when using WebCHeck.
Basic company details are free to view, such as:
- Registered office.
- Date of incorporation.
- Nature of business
- Details of previous company names
- Company legal structure
- Trading status
- Insolvency details or actions registered against the company
- Key filing dates, i.e. for annual confirmation statement and annual accounts
A fee is required to access or buy copies of additional information, such as:
- Document images
- Company reports
- Document packages
- Company appointments
- Personal appointments
- Mortgage index
- Certified documents and certificates
- Dissolved company details
- Disqualified directors
- Insolvency detail
How is this corporate information used?
Companies House imposes no rules or requirements for the way in which this corporate information is used by the public. If you are considering company formation, be aware that using your home as your registered office or service address may have implications like unsolicited mail or unexpected visits from clients and lenders. Furthermore, there may be a clause in your rental or mortgage agreement that prevents you from using your home address for business purposes.
How to protect your privacy
Professional address services
Providing non-residential address details is one of the best ways to protect your privacy. Rapid Formations offers professional Registered Office Services and Service Addresses in London and Glasgow. This is a cost effective solution and includes the scanning and emailing of all official government mail, free of charge, within one working day.
How can I keep my home address off public record?
Service address details are displayed on the public register of companies. Therefore, you should avoid using your home as a service address or registered office if you want or need to keep this information private.
Your residential address details will not be made available to the public. Companies House will store this information on a private register that can only be accessed by predetermined organisations, such as credit reference agencies and public authorities.
Restricting the disclosure of your address
If you are a company director, LLP member or PSC, and you (or someone who lives with you) are at serious risk of violence or intimidation due to the activities of the business with which you are involved, you can apply to Companies House under section 243 of the Companies Act 2006 to protect your personal information on the Companies House register.
Note: If your home address is already disclosed on public record, however, you should apply to Companies House under section 1088 of the Companies Act 2006 to request the address be made unavailable for public inspection. Form SR01 will help make this application.
Grounds for making an application
Certain organisations that operate in particular sectors of commerce or industry can attract negative attention and threats from activists or extremists. In such cases, individuals of these companies may be targeted and blamed for the activities of the business.
These types of situations are common within organisations which carry out scientific research on animals, or conduct activities that are considered harmful to people, animals, the environment, and/or wildlife.
Provided that you have evidence to support the grounds of your application, your protected information can be made unavailable to the public.
How to make an application
- Directors must complete Form SR04: ‘Application under section 243 by an individual’.
- LLP members should complete Form LL SR03: ‘Application under section 243 by an individual member of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)’.
- Anyone who is a director or permanent representative of an overseas company can make an application for higher protection under the Overseas Companies Regulator by completing Form OS SR01: ‘Application for higher protection by a director or permanent representative of an overseas company to prevent disclosure to a credit reference agency of protected information’.
The director, LLP member, or permanent representative who wishes to prevent the disclosure of protected information should provide the following information on the appropriate form:
- Full name.
- Usual residential address.
- Date of birth.
- Name and registered number of the limited company or LLP to which the individual is currently or about to be appointed.
- Statement of the grounds for making an application.
- Name and registered number of the limited company or LLP whose activities may place the individual at risk of violence or intimidation.
- If requested, evidence must be provided to support the application. This may be a police incident number; documentary evidence of a threat or attack; or evidence of disruption, violence, or other targeting by activists.
If you are making an application at the same time as being appointed to a limited company or LLP, you should include the appointment forms with the application to ensure the protected information is kept private.
Applications and supporting evidence should be sent to The Registrar of Companies in Cardiff. You must pay a fee of £100 at the time of making the application.
The registrar may have to refer questions to a relevant body to assess the nature and extent or the risk; therefore, it may take up to 4 weeks to process an application. When a decision has been made, the registrar will notify the appropriate individual within 5 working days.
Companies House Service
Companies House Service (formerly known as Companies House BETA) is a relatively new offering from Companies House which in the fullness of time will replace WebCHeck. The Companies House Service allows you to search the public record, but unlike WebCHeck does not charge for you to view most filings.
Whilst WebCHeck continues to provide some services that the new site cannot, Companies House Service is due to eventually replace its predecessor.