Removal of Dissolved Company Records

Companies House will shortly be reviewing the timescale for retaining dissolved company records, which currently stands at 20 years. We will be consulting with our customers and depending on the outcome of those discussions, may well seek to amend the current retention policy in line with any decisions reached.

As an interim measure, we have taken the decision to not make information on companies dissolved more than 6 years ago available on the new CH beta service. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

1 Like

I wish to make the follow submission on this issue.

All records should be retained, and be publicly available, indefinitely. They are of interest to historians, statisticians, academics and, not least, current and future customers, creditors, suppliers and employees (suppliers of labour) to companies directed by the same individuals as those companies which were, for whatever reason, dissolved. Some people leave a trail of dissolutions behind them, and the public has a right to know (see the recent European Court of Justice case re Salvatore Manni on this point).

Academics would wish to answer questions such as “how many companies does the average director direct over a lifetime” and “how long does the average company survive?”, and “how has the distribution of corporate lifetimes changed over time?”. Did companies formed in the post-war economic boom of the 1950s last longer? How about companies formed in the dotcom boom of the late 20th and early 21st century? Do directors of dotcoms have more directorships over time, flitting from one start-up to another, or is this just a myth? Do directors of successful (surviving) companies tend to replicate that success based on the financial performance of their next company, or are they just lucky? There are thousands of potential academic papers from studying these data, and from this research may come better policy-making, but only if the data are available and the research is done.

The current situation, in which some records are available via WebCheck or the URI, and the CH Beta is only a subset of those, is unsatisfactory, as users have to know about the older services and go hunting around to find information.

So please, please, put all the data online via the API, not just a rolling 6-years worth, and don’t ever delete it.

David Webb