Dear Companies House,
I recently uncovered that MP Esther McVey had been fraudulently registered as a company secretary of THE LOYAL SCOTS COMPANY LTD.
This was apparently filed electronically without her knowledge.
Can you please confirm the number of fraudulent registrations you have uncovered between 2015 and 2018?
If possible could you break this down by
Online and paper.
Secondly can you advise if senior officials have discussed the issue of not verifying online registrations. If so can you Release minutes of these discussions?
If someone registers an individual as a company secretary, is any form of confirmation or correspondence sent to the newly registered secretary and if so within what timescale is it sent?
Dear Mr Tiffin
With reference to your email dated 05 November 2018 in which you have requested:
1.the number of fraudulent registrations between 2015 and 2018
2.Minutes of any discussions between senior officials regarding the issue of not verifying online registrations and
3.Information regarding any notification sent to new secretaries.
Your request has been considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). I have responded to your questions in the same order as they appear in your request.
1. Companies House does not identify fraud as such. Companies House may, as part of its function as a registry, remove a document from the register but this does not necessarily mean fraud has taken place. Companies House does not hold information that falls within the scope of your request.
2. I am of the view that any information held by Companies House in relation to your request for minutes to be exempt from disclosure by virtue of section 35(1)(a) of the FOIA.
Section 35(1)(a) provides that information held by a public authority is exempt information if it relates to the formulation or development of government policy unless there is sufficient wider public interest that would tip the balance in favour of disclosure. We take the view that any minutes of internal discussions between senior officials on this topic would inevitably engage the section 35(1)(a) exemption, and we do not consider that wider public interest factors exist which would cause the benefits of disclosure to outweigh the importance of preserving the space and freedom in which to discuss and develop Government policy.
3. Companies House does not issue a notification to newly appointed company secretaries.
If you are dissatisfied with the result of your request for information you may request an internal review within two calendar months of the date of this email. The case will be reviewed by a senior member of staff who has had no previous involvement in this case. The internal review will only consider the way your request for information has been handled and whether the exemptions used have been correctly applied. The reviewer will not look at any other issues you may have with Companies House.
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
If you are then not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Further information can be found at www.ico.org.uk
Information Rights Team
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