Freedom of Information and Data Protection
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data protection Act 1998 give people the right to see or receive information.
The Freedom of Information Act gives the public the right to see official information held by public authorities and includes information held by Companies House.
The Data Protection Act allows a member of the public to see the personal information that is held about them by organisations of all types, including Companies House.
The Freedom of Information Act came fully into force in January 2005. It gives the public the right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, and also sets out exemptions from that right. Its aim is to promote openness in the public sector which includes government departments such as Companies House. The Act helps the public to get a better understanding of how public authorities carry out their duties, why they make their decisions and how they spend their money.
The Data Protection Act gives individuals the right to know what information is held about them, and sets out rules to make sure that this information is handled properly. Organisations, including Companies House, that hold personal information are responsible for ensuring that the information is used fairly, is kept secure, is accurate and is up to date.
Please note, that whilst the Data Protection Act protects ‘personal’ information it also contains exemptions. Section 34(c) of the Data Protection Act states that personal data are exempt from the non-disclosure provisions of the Act if the data consists of information which the data controller is obliged by or under any enactment to make available to the public. Information such as names, addresses and dates of birth of officers of companies would fall into that exemption because the Companies Act requires the Registrar to maintain this information and provide it via the public register .
For more information on these Acts visit these sites:
Companies House Information Charter