The Act introduces measures allowing individuals whose details appear on the public register at Companies House to apply to have certain personal information suppressed from public disclosure.

The detail relating to these measures will be confirmed in secondary legislation (yet to be published), but the Government’s aim is to strike a balance between transparency over who is running companies and ensuring that the register does not become a tool for abuse.

What personal information can be protected?

The Act introduces a process whereby any individual listed on the Companies House register will be able to apply to have specified information suppressed from public disclosure, including the following:

  • usual residential address (URA) – in most instances where the address appears on the register (e.g. when used as a registered office address);
  • signature;
  • business occupation; and
  • day of date of birth for documents filed before 10 October 2015 (after this date only month and year of birth are shown on the public register).

Each of these measures will need secondary legislation before they are implemented. 

The first set of regulations – The Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (Protection and Disclosure of Information and Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2024 (the Regulations) – will come into force on 30 September 2024. They set out the procedure for a person to apply to protect their URA where it was formerly a registered office address. (It is not currently possible to protect a URA if it has been used as a registered office address.)

The Regulations will not allow an individual to hide their URA if it is a company’s current registered office address, and if the company in question has been dissolved, the individual will need to wait six months from dissolution before applying.

Individuals who are at personal risk of physical harm or violence as a result of their personal information being on a Companies House public register (for example, domestic abuse survivors) will be able to apply to have additional information protected from public view. The information that can be protected in these circumstances includes:

  • name (or previous name);
  • sensitive addresses where evidence is provided that public disclosure puts its residents at risk (for example, a women’s domestic abuse refuge); and
  • in the most serious cases, all other details may be protected, for example, service address and partial date of birth.

Again, these measures will need secondary legislation before they are implemented.

Access to suppressed information 

Access to suppressed information is currently available to certain groups, such as law enforcement agencies and other public authorities and this will continue to be the case. The registrar will have greater powers to share data with these groups when the relevant provisions of the Act come into force and will, therefore, be able to share any suppressed or protected information if deemed necessary.

Regulations will also be introduced which provide exceptions to the restrictions on the registrar disclosing suppressed information. These exceptions are expected to allow:

  • persons with current or prospective legal proceedings to apply to Companies House for access to a suppressed address used as a registered office address, or a signature, if they can provide evidence of the legal proceedings; and
  • other third parties to apply to the court for access to certain suppressed information. They will need to satisfy the court of their legitimate need to access this information.