API Documentation: Officers and Directors

Good afternoon,

Firstly, I wanted to understand, which of the ‘officer_roles’ indicate natural persons and which indicate legal entities (e.g., ‘corporate-secretary’, ‘director’, ‘general-partner-in-a-limited-partnership’, etc.).

Secondly, it would be great to know if there is a way to distinguish which of the ‘directors’ is the company CEO.


Assuming you’re looking at an officer item or the officers list then the key field is the officer_role. You’ll see in the documentation (You can also see a list of these in the “enum constants”) that this can contain a range of values, some of which are the same except for “corporate” e.g.:

corporate-director vs director
corporate-secretary vs. secretary

Those starting with “corporate” are corporate entities. There may be some other differences also e.g. comporate entities may have a identification member with details about the company / entity, while “natural persons” may have date_of_birth and former_names with forenames and surname members. In general do not rely on these appearing and check / validate any values you do find there! Companies House dataset is essentially one that the public fill in themselves…

There is a similar but not identical system for PSCs / RLEs and Legal Persons. In the PSC list resource the kind field conveys “what this is”. The start of this string is one of “individual”, “corporate-entity”, “legal-person” or “super-secure”. The last means “there is one but we are not giving any more information”. These strings then end in either “-person-with-significant-control” or “-beneficial-owner” - so 8 possibilities.

Your second question - I’m not aware of any consistent way of marking the CEO in the data. The CEO would normally be expected to be a company director. However I believe this is not necessarily a legal requirement. Consult the relevant companies law on this, I am not a lawyer!

Hi there,

Thanks for the response!

Do I understand correctly that only those roles starting with “corporate” are considered legal entities or are there other ones as well?

All the best,

You’ll see from the lists that the ones which don’t have a “corporate” version are:


I’m not 100% sure that those legally have to be natural persons. One example suggested by a quick search is that it may be possible for a corporate body to be a partner in some kinds of partnerships. I am not an expert on the law here though and I don’t work for Companies House - just another user of their API. Hopefully someone else can confirm this (or explain further).

None of the above should be taken as a guarantee that you will find this given correctly in the data set. The role of Companies House is a recorder e.g. they record the information the public tells them. I’m not sure what checks (if any) are carried out!