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United Kingdom - Companies House Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

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United Kingdom - Companies House Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

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The CRF Innovation Awards celebrate the spirit of innovation and honours CRF jurisdictions which have successfully put in place world-class initiatives, as well as those which have creatively implemented customised solutions, to make a real difference to their stakeholders. There are two categories of awards: CRF Innovation Award (Excellence) and CRF Innovation Award (Commendation).

The CRF Innovation Awards celebrate the spirit of innovation and honours CRF jurisdictions which have successfully put in place world-class initiatives, as well as those which have creatively implemented customised solutions, to make a real difference to their stakeholders. There are two categories of awards: CRF Innovation Award (Excellence) and CRF Innovation Award (Commendation).

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United Kingdom - Companies House Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

  1. 1. Driving confidence in the UK economy UK Companies House: Response to the COVID-19 pandemic Corporate Registers Forum March 2021
  2. 2. What we are going to cover? • Brief background to UK Companies House • The challenge we faced • Our response • A case study – 'Upload a document' service • The future
  3. 3. UK Companies House • An Executive Agency within the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Government • Our role is to maintain a register of companies in the UK – allowing companies to: • create a company (company incorporations), • maintain a company (companies fulfilling their filing obligations throughout the life of the company, at least annual accounts and confirmation statement, plus any other changes) • close a company when it is no longer needed • making this information available to the public
  4. 4. Accepted Incorporated 12.2m 665,495 document s companies Last year we...
  5. 5. We have … And the Register was searched 4.35m 9.5bn companies on the register times in 2020
  6. 6. March 2020
  7. 7. The challenge we faced • Operational colleagues were all office-based (600 of them!) • 600 + different form types • 83 end-to-end digital service – accounting for the majority of filings by volume (10.7 million) with high digital take-up (85%+). • The remaining 500+ were paper only (>1 million) o reliant on post, cheques, CH staff in the office, etc. o digital enablement planned for some but still in development / planning
  8. 8. Our response Set up a taskforce with the aims of:  safeguarding colleagues – enabling as many people as possible to work from home; and  supporting customers to utilise alternative channels of submission and payment (not paper). The approach we took involved: - Daily meetings, cross-professions (Ops, Digital, Policy, Comms, etc) - Fast-paced decision making and agile delivery Digital channels were used heavily during this period and continue to be the channel of choice for users. Paper-only routes were the challenge … we did a number of things but going to focus on one
  9. 9. A case study - ‘Upload a document’ service Aim: - To enable more colleagues to work from home - To enable customers to be able to submit documents without the need for paper (printing or post) How? Undertook a very short Discovery phase due to emergency nature - identified the problem, the existing process, users and their needs. Considered a number of options: • Email solution (allow users to send emails with form attached) – volumes and different form types were problematic, no confirmation of receipt (users need an audit trail), increased risk of entering data for wrong company or missing filings, not end-to-end (did not integrate with internal service), security implications with forms containing personal data. • Full digital journey with data input - would take too long to digitally enable 100s of forms in an emergency situation. • A simple upload facility - users select form type, correct company details and integrates with existing Companies House components.
  10. 10. The service • Users can select the form type they want to submit to Companies House • Sign in using their email address and password (and company authentication code, where appropriate) • Browse their files to upload the document • Receive email confirmation of receipt and then acceptance/rejection Internal process... • The service is fully integrated with our ‘front end scanning’ solution and automatically directed to the correct document processing team for processing at home. • Cutting out the need for manual postage receipt, sort and scanning.
  11. 11. First release of ‘Upload a document to Companies House’ • The very first release for Upload a document was a one-page service • It had basic functions, asking for the company number, upload type and to upload the completed document • It met the goal of allowing the user to carry on with their job whilst in lockdown because of COVID-19
  12. 12. Latest version of ‘Upload a document to Companies House’ • 20+ releases – continually iterating service based on user feedback and business need • 400 form types can now be uploaded • Receiving 4,000 submissions per week https://find-and-update.company- information.service.gov.uk/efs-submission/start
  13. 13. Customer comments "This is what I'm excited about. This will be a game changer for us - uploading stuff online with Companies House will be amazing." “Really easy to do, wish more processes were like this!” “I hope this service will be continued and expanded for all forms that can't be filed electronically.” “Very much preferred to having to mail in a hard copy” “You have no idea how I've been longing for this” “Very easy to submit documents. Instructions are very clear too”
  14. 14. Conclusions and the future​ We have: • Supported colleagues to be safe whilst maintaining customer services • Enabled 400+ form types for 'Upload a document’ • Maintained customer satisfaction at 86%+ throughout • Reviewed and adapted our roadmap for ongoing transformation and development of digital services • Learned lessons on how to be more agile and deliver more – involving customers and our people to get the best outcome Next steps: Continue to evaluate and iterate the services we’ve provided - some will be temporary, a number we are considering as longer-term solutions Implement the lessons learned as part of our ongoing Transformation programme

Notes de l'éditeur


  • Companies House is an Executive Agency within the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). As part of its statutory duties, it has to maintain a register of companies: creating and dissolving those companies by adding them to, or removing them from, the company register; collecting and maintaining information about those companies via event driven filing and two annual statutory filings – the Confirmation Statement and the Annual Accounts of the company; and making that information available to the public. 

  • Accepted 12.2m documents
    Incorporated 665,495 companies
  • Supported 4.35 m companies on the register
    Provided the data to enable almost 9.5 bn searches of the register
  • JM

    500 + different form types 
     most go onto the company register for public view
     a minority are just a transaction but not publicly available 
    83 form types can be filed electronically via an end-to-end digital service which account for the majority by volume (10.7 million) and the most common filing types (changing address, directors, accounts, confirmation statement, etc). High digital take-up.
    The remaining 400+ are paper only (>1 million)
    reliant on posting, cheques, CH staff in the office, etc.
    digital enablement planned for some, particularly the higher volume, but long tail will be disproportionate costs to develop
    the majority of these are prescribed forms in Companies Act




  • Coronavirus impact – taskforce created

    The taskforce reviewed all activities undertaken at Companies House, and which activities were still relying on staff to be office-based. These activities were prioritised in terms of legislative impact, volume of filings, impacts on companies etc. 
  • Amy
    Paper and online options.
  • Amy
    A simple service to act as a "digital postbox", allowing users to deliver their documents from anywhere and get automatic receipt. 
  • 19 releases – a mixture of new form types, content changes, usability changes to the file upload, problems, fixes for security.
    400 form types
    Receiving 3500—4000 submissions per week

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  • JM

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