One of the benefits of the new Beta Companies House site is that some of the flaws in the underlying data are easier to see.
For example, I’ve worked with a few clients in the past and had trouble with payment. I’ve tracked them using the Companies House WebCheck service as I was worried that they might go bust before I got paid – and that alerted me to them falling behind on submitting accounts and annual reports.
Keeping track of the individuals behind those companies proved more complex. In both cases, directors were in the Companies House system under multiple aliases. I have no idea if this was due to error on the part of them, their professional advisors or Companies House.
For example, real name “Jane Smith-Jones” appeared as:
- Jane Smith-Jones
- Jane Smith
- Jane Jones
A different wag has similarly used a middle name to create a new alias, and also appears in the register as “Dr”.
If you were only following the paper trail of one of those names, you wouldn’t see a string of dissolved companies linked to the other aliases.
Dominic Chappell is in the news now. Looking up his name in Companies House you can see SEVEN different people listed with a similar name to him and a birth date of November 1966.
The revamp of the Companies House register online is commendable. Now when are they going to use this new found transparency to clean up the data?