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Top FAQs quick answers to our most frequently asked questions

About Us


Information Fair Trader Scheme

The Chief Executive of Companies House, Gareth Jones, has made a commitment to join the Information Fair Trader Scheme (IFTS). The scheme is run by the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) and its purpose is to set and assess standards for public sector bodies.  It requires them to encourage the re-use of information and reach a standard of fairness and transparency.  Companies House is striving to achieve full IFTS accreditation, which ensures that re-users of public sector information can be confident that they will be treated reasonably and fairly by public sector information providers.

Click here for the Chief Executive's Statement of Commitment (PDF 22KB)

Before Companies House can be granted IFTS accreditation, it must undergo a verification process to satisfy OPSI that it can meet its commitment. This verification process is now underway and regular updates will be provided on progress.

The Scheme was originally launched in 2003 but was simplified in 2005 to help public sector bodies meet their responsibilities under the new European Directive on Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/1515).  The aim of the Regulations is to encourage the re-use of public sector information by removing obstacles that stand in the way of re-use, with the intention that this will stimulate the development of innovative new information products and services across Europe and boost the information industry. The Regulations can be found by visiting the OPSI website.

The Scheme supports the aim of the Regulations by adhering to 5 basic principles:

  • Openness
  • Transparency
  • Fairness
  • Compliance
  • Challenge

It requires public sector bodies to encourage the re-use of information and reach a standard of fairness and transparency.  Further information on the Information Fair Trader Scheme can be found by visiting the OPSI website.

Companies House is striving to achieve full IFTS accreditation, which ensures that re-users of public sector information can be confident that they will be treated reasonably and fairly by public sector information providers.

Copyright and Crown copyright

Copyright is usually owned by the person or organisation that created the work.  In the case of copyright works produced by civil servants, the copyright is owned by the Crown and qualifies for Crown copyright protection under section 163 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Government departments do not own copyright in their own right.

The material published by Companies House may be broadly split into two categories:

a) Material produced by Companies House
Material of this sort (e.g. guidance booklets) is subject to Crown copyright protection, and Companies House controls this copyright under a Delegation of Authority from the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO).  Crown copyright also covers database rights, logos and visual images.  Any Crown copyright protected material held by Companies House (other than the Royal Arms and departmental or agency logos) may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium provided it is reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading context. Where any of the Crown copyright items are being republished or copied to others, the source of the material must be identified and the copyright status acknowledged.  If Crown copyright is infringed, Companies House is authorised by the Controller of HMSO to take such lawful steps as may be required to rectify the situation.

b) Material on the public register
With the exception of a small category of material which is exempt from statutory disclosure requirements, the Registrar is required by law to make the information comprised in documents sent to him available for public inspection.  Information on the public register is made available by virtue of approvals issued by the Registrar in accordance with section 47 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and Schedule 1 of the Database Regulations (SI 1997/3032).  Companies House imposes no rules or requirements on how the information on the public register is used. 

Companies House Copyright Policy

Companies House and Re-use

Companies House, as a public information provider, makes all information relating to limited companies available for public inspection.  It places no restriction on how the information is used after purchase other than the following:

  • Customers must take their own legal advice regarding possible breach of third party copyright.
  • Products sold in a bulk format or on CD/DVD-ROM may not be reproduced by the customer in the exact format in which it is presented. 
  • Customers cannot reproduce the Crown insignia or use the Companies House logo.
  • If information is used from guidance notes, the website, publications or statistical tables the customer is required to credit Companies House as the source of the information.

Service Standards

Companies House public targets for 2008/09