After four years, Companies House Services has finally come out of beta.
Released in 2015, Companies House Services (CHS) was designed as a replacement to Companies House Direct (CHD) as part of the government’s commitment to being more transparent and open. While the new system did give access to millions of free records it was missing some vital features that could be found on CHD. These features may not be something the general public would benefit from but for legal firms performing regular in-depth searches they were essential.
What are the outstanding issues?
Although CHS is now out of the beta phase, the same outstanding issues still exist:
- CHS filing history not matching CHD filing history
- Documents not instantly available and costing £3
- Can only download one document at a time
- Missing documents
- No document packages
- Dissolved company information only goes back 6 years
While CHS is a great service for quick searches for more in-depth ones it was missing the packages feature that could be found on CHD. The packages feature in CHD, although not perfect, at least allowed you to order a set of documents where you could then download each section. CHS, on the other hand, is a lot more time consuming when order more than a few documents.
There is no doubt that CHS is a massive step forward when it comes to government registrars and is setting the standard for the digitalisation of company records on an international scale. One of its big issues when it first launched was it capacity to handle non-digital documents. While over the years since its release, they have added some older document they still haven’t replaced the vast majority of them. You will need to call them to obtain any missing documents, there’s no easy way to order them online and you could be charged a fee up to £3. CHD used to over the same service but for only £1, the price hike wouldn’t affect the casual user but for super users it easily adds up.
Dissolved history records
Currently, CHS records will only go back 5 years, whereas, CHD records stretched back 20 years, and beyond. These documents can still be obtained from CHD but there’s no quick way to get from CHS to CHD without starting your search all over again.
Is there an alternative?
Despite coming out of beta CHS still has its issues which were prevalent when it launched. In response to these issues, we built our own solution that brought together the data from both CHS & CHD in place. Our Companies House Complete solution allows you the best of both worlds so you can quickly create packages combining the records from both systems in one easy, instant download. You can also order any missing documents for only £1 compared to the CHS charge of £3.
Our Free service, Companies House Complete (CHC), should not be viewed as an alternative; rather the only place you need to go for any Companies House Documents. Why?
All documents in one place
It’s impossible for our CHC service to have missing documents because it accesses both CHS and CHD data sources. There is nowhere else to search. Why search two data sources when you only need to use one CHC. On CHC our dissolved company data goes back over 20 years, just like CHD and not like the 6 years on CHS. Why use a service with only some of the information you need when you can CHC and have all the information that you need.
Discrepancies in fillings are easily brought to your attention
CHC will compare filing histories, for every search, between CHD and CHS. For instance, a company on CHS that has lines of filings missing but are present on CHD, will appear in red on CHC so you can be made aware of the discrepancies. The only other way to do this is to manually compare the two and even then, discrepancies could be missed. Best of all, if the documents are available on CHS, you get them for free, if they are only available on CHD you only pay £1 instead of £3 on CHS.
Get missing for only a third of the price of CHS
Because we’ve taken the “Best Bits” from CHS & CHD, our filing history goes way back just like CHD. Now, documents such as the below, may appear on the filing history of CHS but they are not available! You have to phone up pay £3 and then wait 2 hours for them to be scanned. This is crazy because they are likely to be already available on CHD and for only £1.On CHC you will always get the information for the lowest cost and quickest delivery time.
You can order as many documents as you wish, all at once. We also have more filters for you, making it easier to focus on the information you require.
On CHC you can have as many document packages as you like. You can design your own, and call them whatever you like, or you can use our favourite packages use by Magic Circle firms.
If you would to learn more about our system or see a demo please get in touch