Companies House has confirmed that it will go ahead with the closure of two of its online legacy services later this year, as it replaces them with a modernised service that meets the latest accessibility standards.
The registrar said that, “despite some delays”, Companies House Direct (CHD) and WebCHeck will be permanently decommissioned at a date still to be confirmed in 2022.
They will be replaced by the Companies House Service (CHS), also known as "Find and Update Company Information": a free online directory already live that allows users to find and update information about a company.
“Companies House will close CHD and WebCHeck to avoid the inefficiencies of running multiple historic services that are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain,” a Companies House spokesperson told Government Transformation.
“We recognise that customers may need time to switch to the new service and we have been liaising closely with them to ensure the new service satisfies their needs.”
CHD and WebCHeck are paid services that until recently allowed users to look up the details of companies registered in the UK. However, a blog post published by Companies House in 2020 announced that the services were “fossils” no longer meeting accessibility standards.
Instead of fixing the services, something that the agency said would be “a mammoth undertaking”, Companies House decided to replace them with a new system accessible to all users.
Accessibility regulations that came into force in 2018 made a legal duty for public organisations in the UK to ensure that their websites and mobile applications meet accessibility requirements. The rules also apply to internal websites that disabled employees may be using when working in or with the public sector.
The latest figures available show that there are over 4.8 million companies on the Companies House register. Finding company information was previously one of the most popular services, according to the Government Digital Service, after finding a job and renewing a vehicle tax.
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