Changes in sources and services affecting what our clients are ordering
Whereas we have maintained normal service within unchanged time frames for the main part these are some changes that have occurred since March 2020.
1) Companies House Payment Accounts
We have been advised by Companies House that that they are not aware of any proposals to move away from payment by account for filing of forms like MR01, CS01, NM01, nor any of their current web filing services.
May 2021- The latest information we have is that when Companies House Direct and WebCheck are discontinued which we have now been informed by Companies House will only take place when CHS has been enhanced to a satisfactory level, all Companies House accounts for certified documents, pre-1995 and other documents will cease, and users will have to pay for these services by credit or debit cards via CHS and the Companies House call centre.
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 is 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 the feedback we and others have provided, Companies House have enhanced the system by adding in a great deal of previously missing images, loading dissolved company records back to Jan 2010, created (private) release of Dissolved Search functionality for testing and other enhancements that are bringing the CHS up to a level and beyond that should be equal, if not better than the current functionality of CHD.
The next steps planned by Companies House are to complete the loading of pre 1995 images that have been previously scanned but not yet made available, adding the ability to order the company report to the Dissolved Search service and releasing enhanced search and reporting functionality on CHS that will allow users to search for sets of company 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 welcome updates as they happen and if you would like to be on the list of recipients for these update reports please email email@example.com
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 a demand for us to act for Clients in 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 addition IT functionality and procedures to improve their work flow.
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 on-line checks 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 restricted and continues to be so.
Our practice for High Court Bankruptcy petitions was historically, to check the CE file and for extra diligence check the Bacchus system for any entries that had been submitted through the Central London County Court. The Bacchus system has not been available and remains to be 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 to seek to rescue companies in financial distress. As a result we initiated the reporting of any Moratorium filed under Part A1 Insolvency Act 1986 or Restructuring plan under Part 26A Companies Act.
(Many of our clients opt for the extra due diligence beyond the content of Winding Up Searches, that Full Insolvency reports offer to ensure being informed of actions filed in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Wales as well as regional Courts. Full insolvency reports also reveal actions for companies registered in Scotland and notices of voluntary winding proceedings, include a Companies House check together with checks of The London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes.)
International Reports and Registry filings
This area of our business has seen a significant increase which can only reflect the positive activity of global business that our legal clients are involved in.
We continually seek and find new official Registry on-line access and other recognised sources for reports and data on companies worldwide
In amongst the many improvements we encounter with our international sources the following are just two examples of recently improved information available
Cayman Islands- director details are now available on-line at the general Registry of the Cayman Islands.
China- we now are able to offer reports on Chinese Companies within 2 hours and include beneficial ownership where available.
Celebrating Success: A Look Back at 2019
To kick start 2020, at Company Registrations Online, we are going to be taking a look back at our successes and achievements from the previous year.
It’s important to reflect on years gone by so you can be ready for the year that lies ahead. By looking back at everything we achieved in 2019, we can better look forward to 2020 and prepare to have even more successes and accomplish more than ever.
In 2019, we were thrilled to be awarded the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) Supplier of the Year Award.
BIALL is a professional body that promotes better management of law libraries and legal information units in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. They have over 800 members, both personal and institutional, who work in courts, government departments, higher education, law firms, professional bodies and other organisations with legal information units.
BIALL awarded us their Supplier of the Year Award back in June, for providing consistent, outstanding customer service where we were commended for going above and beyond what is normally required. According to one member of BIALL who voted for us, they chose to award us because we are: “like an extension to our team”.
This is our second time in three years that we have received the accolade, having also been honoured with the award back in 2017. We consider it a testament to our commitment to providing stellar customer service, and we hope to continue wowing our customers throughout 2020 and beyond.
Aside from receiving the BIALL Supplier of the Year Award as a testament to our commitment to customer service, we also love to hear directly from our customers about how we’ve been doing. Here are just a few testimonials from our customers about our performance:
“With the changes made by Companies House on the availability of UK company information, it was becoming hard to justify to our clients that we charged them for single documents that were now free in the public domain. Responding to client expectations, CRO Info has quickly become our first port of call for UK Company information across our Firm. We now have the flexibility of free information, along with time-saving and economical document packages. The CRO developers have listened to our feedback, and we have an interface that works easily for our lawyers. For international company searches, the expertise that CRO have behind the service is second to none, and we consider CRO an extension of our Research Team.”
“CRO Info have proven to be an invaluable resource in the provision of winding up searches at the Companies Court. Reports are delivered rapidly, at a cost-effective price, saving our clients a great deal of money as well as providing a reliable paper trail for their transactions. You will not find a better service as they are professional, extremely knowledgeable and above all deliver outstanding customer service levels.”
Fiona Fogden, Library Manager EMEA, Reed Smith LLP
“Company Registrations Online Ltd provide an invaluable service that is second to none. They make sure we get what we want, how we want it, when we need it and, above all, they save us money and time. You will not find better; they are professional and knowledgeable and polite.”
New - Court Docket Service
Following the withdrawal of Bloomberg Law’s UK Court Docket Services on the 1st of August, we have created our new Court Docket service to bridge this gap for our clients. Our service provides alerts when a key word or company name appears at specific courts. You can also search for cases and monitor cases for claims forms or any other filings that are available for public inspection. We also provide a service that provides the retrieval of office copy documents relating to case filings.
The service covers Courts covered by CE-File (HM Courts & Tribunals Public Search & Office Copies) for England and Wales at the High Court of Justice relating to cases that are dealt with at The Business and Property Courts and Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court.
The following services have been created in in relation to our new service:
Provides an alert service for a party/participant name or names. We will monitor on schedule dates the name or names for any future case listings and provide an alert when any cases appear containing the party/particiant name or names.
2. Court Docket Prospect Alerts
Provides an alert for new case listings at a specific court or courts. We will monitor on scheduled dates the selected court(s) for all case listings and provide an alert when any new cases are listed.
A Party/Participant or Case Number search of the CE-File records showing any cases, filings and what office copy documents are available.
4. Court Docket Monitoring
Provides a monitoring service for any new office copy case document filings. We will monitor a case and let you know when any new office copy case documents become available.
Provides an office copy case document ordering service for office copy documents that are available for public inspection for any case.
CHS Beta – Latest news from Companies House
A further update from the Applications Support Manager at Companies House:
"The CHS filing history and resolutions fix was successfully implemented on 19th June, we are currently correcting the re-registrations going back to when CHS went live, there are 6500 in total and this will be completed over the coming weeks. We are also in the process of identifying the resolutions that need to be corrected in the past, this is a more complex process and I’ll give an update when we know rough timescales.
The meeting with GDS went well, as in the technical people we spoke to completely understand why our site is more complex and the approach we’ve taken. We have presented them with three options to progress the issue, one of which is go-live as-is (remove the beta status), the others involve varying amounts of work for us to do before we can go-live. We await a response from GDS, the decision is still with the assessment team."
CHS Beta – Latest news from Companies House
Hers is the latest update/statement from the from the Applications Support Manager at Companies House.:
Resolution and re-registration display issue with CHS filing history
Development work is complete on both of these issues and they are in test, we aim to get them implemented by the end of June pending successful testing. We’ve slightly changed the way CHS performs the filing history listing for this which is why it wasn’t as straightforward as we would have liked. Following the implementation we will be looking to correct the historical data starting with the most recent first, once we start this we will be able to give firmer timescales on how long it will take to complete.
Resolved, no occurrences since Monday 23rd April when it was fixed, site also performing better on average. No further service issues have occurred with CHS and we maintain 100% service availability this far for the financial year.
Assessment has been delayed due to issue with domain migration, we are the first to move to the GDS domain with a multi-service website so it’s not a straightforward migration, it is an issue we’ve been discussing with GDS for many months so it was unexpected that it’s a must do for the assessment. We have a meeting with GDS architects next week in an attempt to progress. We’ve also made the CHS website code repository public on GitHub so this covers off the public code aspect of the assessment. Other code repositories will be made public in due course and we will progress on a “public by default” basis going forward.
We have been working on improvements to the main search facility on CHS to improve how the results are returned, this has in part been driven by an essential update to the software used but we have taken the opportunity to further improve the searching as part of the upgrade. This change is currently being tested.
As mentioned in our catch up the number of CHS data requests averaged at just over 17 million per day in April (data requests, image requests and searches), just to give an indication of the volume of access to free data. We also now have over 510,000 companies being followed using the follow service.
As discussed recently we have high level plan to have a dedicated team working on developing CHS search further, following on completion of current work they’ll pick up prioritised backlog. The initial high level work plan has the streaming API development and improvements such as items raised on the developer forum in the backlog.
Following the addition of abridged accounts to the CHS platform, work has now started on developing small full accounts, accounts for companies limited by guarantee and Community Interest Company (CICs) accounts. The CIC accounts will also include enabling the annual report filing (CIC34) and payment of £15 fee. For this we are working with GDS to integrate the GOV.UK pay platform into CHS. The CIC accounts alpha assessment has taken place and we await the result."
CHS Beta – Latest news from Companies House
Here is the lastest update/statement from the Head of the Chief Executive's Office at Companies House. We have provided a narrative to some of points below, so as to interpret some of the terms used and provide some clarity to the statement.
"The abridged accounts development work has been continuing with the recent addition of save & resume, related party transactions, and the ability to change the accounting reference date. The GDS beta assessment was completed on 12th March and over 10,000 sets of abridged accounts have been successfully filed using the service." GDS stands for 'Government Digital Service'.
"Progress towards the live assessment for CHS search and output is ongoing but has been pushed back while EU exit service assessments take priority." This refers to the GDS live assessment. The assessment was due to take place in March/April. However, following this statement we were subsequently informed at the Companies House working meeting that the assessment will take place on the 9th of May and providing Companies House pass the GDS assessment, the CHS website has the potential of going live a few days later.
"The development work to address the accessibility issues has been completed and the retest undertaken." This refers to CHS code check which was required to be completed by a third party (The Digital Accessibility Centre), whereby a number of medium and low priority issues were raised, and have now been addressed.
"Follow usage continues to increase with over 400,000 companies being followed."
"In February the work was completed to ensure that resolution images are available from the CHS Filing history going forward." This has fixed the Resolution indexing and image issues for all filings going forward but Companies House have yet to schedule a fix for previous years. At our subsequent working meeting, we were informed that they are actively trying to schedule in some time to provide a fix for previous years.
Furthermore, at the working meeting, we also brought up the issue surrounding missing documents for re-registrations (re-registrations from private to public and visa versa). Following this meeting we received the following statement from Kean Jones the Companies House Application Support Manager:
"I’ve ensured that we have some resource agreed to progress this and the team believe they have identified a fix, they are progressing this now but it will need thorough testing. I’ve spoken to the analyst this morning and based on our discussion and other work that’s ongoing I estimate that we’ll be able to implement a fix by the end of June. It may be before this but as you know we need to be cautious pending successful testing. I’ve also engaged with the support team regarding correcting historical records for both resolutions and re-registrations, this is currently under investigation."
"At the end of February packages of pre1995 documents and mortgage documents for companies and Limited Partnerships pre2014, have been made available on the CHS Filing History, as a single pdf containing multiple images e.g. LP011004 & 2220410." This refers to the fact that all scanned pre 1995 document images (pre 2014 for Limited Partnerships) are now available free on the CHS system. However, any pre 1995/2014 documents that have not been scanned remain available on the CHD system at a cost of £4.
"The next addition to the CHS platform is Small Full Accounts for private limited companies and Community Interest Companies which is currently in the Discovery / Alpha stage."