In an effort to increase corporate transparency Companies House is to make all of its digital data available free of charge. This will make the UK the first country to establish a truly open register of business information.
As a result, it will be easier for businesses and members of the public to research and scrutinise the activities and ownership of companies and connected individuals. Last year (2013/14), customers searching the Companies House website spent £8.7 million accessing company information on the register.
The change will come into effect from the second quarter of this year (April – June).
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“The Government firmly believes that the best way to maximise the value to the UK economy of the information which Companies House holds, is for it to be available as open data. By making its data freely available and free of charge, Companies House is making the UK a more transparent, efficient and effective place to do business.”
Anything that makes data more accessible is to be applauded, and it will be interesting to see how this impacts on the many data-searching agencies currently accessing much of the same information