Regulatory review - Red Tape Challenge spotlight falls on company law

In April 2011 the Government launched its Red Tape Challenge, designed to give businesses and the public the chance to have their say on some of the more than 10,000 regulations that affect their everyday lives.  For the next three weeks, the latest phase of the Red Tape Challenge will focus on more than 120 company law regulations, guidance and enforcement processes that businesses deal with on a daily basis. The campaign asks for a variety of suggestions about how regulations can be improved, simplified or abolished, whilst maintaining a company law framework that gives companies the flexibility to compete and develop effectively.  Areas open for comment include the internal workings of companies and partnerships, accounts and returns, business names and disclosure of company information.

To accompany this, BIS has produced a discussion paper entitled: ‘Company Law – providing a flexible framework which allows companies to compete and grow’.  In particular, this discussion paper invites responses in relation to the following:

  •     Company names: whether the process of registering a company name is time consuming and bureaucratic and whether there is scope for reducing the number of words that need prior approval as well as strengthening the law in relation to misleading names.
  •     Company filings: in line with BIS’s aim to reduce companies’ filing obligations, whether it would be beneficial to be able to file the annual accounts and annual return together.  BIS also notes that the government often asks for duplicate or similar information to be sent to more than one government organisation and asks whether there are benefits to be gained from submitting that information only once.
  •     Right to inspect registers and require copies: BIS believes that the current requirement to maintain registers available for inspection is a good one but welcomes suggestions as to how the burdens associated with this requirement could be reduced, including whether better use could be made of company web sites.
  •     Penalties and enforcement: whether the existing method of achieving compliance by levying fines could be improved or whether the same levels of compliance could be achieved in other ways.
  •     Employee share schemes: whether changes should be made to simplify the design and operation of company share ownership schemes.

To access the Red Tape Challenge web site click here:

To access the discussion paper “Company Law – providing a flexible framework which allows companies to compete and grow” click here:

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