Trading Disclosures - legislation

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy did not have the information requested.

Dear Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy,

Part 6 of The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015, made under Section 82 of the Companies Act 2006, makes specific requirements in respect of information that must be displayed by limited companies and by other legal entities in their "business correpondence" and on their Web sites, and Regulation 28 makes it a criminal offence to fail to comply, committed by the legal entity and, where appropriate, personally by each of the directors in default. The information required by Part 6 is essential for anyone seeking to enforce their rights as a consumer but non-compliance is widespread, even by large companies, almost certainly because of a lack of enforcement.

Paul Scully MP, as Minister for Business, has stated that Companies House will refer such complaints to the Insolvency Service for investigation and, if appropriate, prosecution. Rather surprisingly, a Freedom of Information request reveals that the Insolvency Service has never investigated or prosecuted such a complaint because it claims that it has never received any (a claim that - as a previous such complainant - I know to be untrue). Subsequent correspondence from the Insolvency Service in response to my enquiry about whether or not these Regulations are to be repealed because they have never been investigated or enforced since they were created seven years ago states that "... this is not insolvency-related legislation and therefore this is not something the Insolvency Service Policy Team are [sic] able to comment on."

My question to you is therefore "As Regulation 28 offences have never been investigated or enforced by the public body responsible for such investigation and enforcement in the seven years since these Regulations were created, despite widespread non-compliance, is the repeal of Regulation 28 planned, and if not, why not?"

FOI Requests, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Dear R M Crorie,

Thank you for your email dated 30 August.

Due to the nature of the information you are seeking your email has been passed to Companies House, an Executive Agency sponsored by BEIS who will provide a response to you directly

Yours Sincerely,

BEIS Information Rights Unit.

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R M Crorie left an annotation ()

Companies House has already stated to me, in relation to this legislation, that:

"As primarily a registry of company information, we are not an arbiter of fact and do not have the investigatory powers to discover who may be right or wrong..."

It is therefore unsurprising that this legislation has never been enforced since it was created, and that there is widespread non-compliance.

Information Rights,

Dear R M Crorie

I refer to your request made to Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. As advised, this has been transferred to Companies House for response. Your request has been considered under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

You have asked in relation to Regulation 28 offences, whether repeal is planned and if not why not.

As you will be aware, the FOIA provides access to information already recorded by public authorities, I am of the view that you are asking a question about policy which does not constitute a valid request under the Act.

However, to be of assistance. I can advise that Companies House does not hold any information in relation to the intention to repeal Regulation 28.

Yours sincerely,

Information Rights Team

Companies House

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R M Crorie left an annotation ()

The response from Companies House confirms that this is "zombie" legislation: it has never been the basis for any investigation of the offence created, there has never been any enforcement or any prosecution using this legislation since it was created seven years ago, there is widespread non-compliance by businesses big and small right across the UK, and that non-compliance is a direct driver of on-line fraud - however, there is no intention to repeal this.

I'd mention the Monty Python "dead parrot" sketch, but having legislation on the Statute Book that has no purpose whatsoever isn't really very funny.