PSC register guidance consultation

I’m pleased to be able to update you on the current progress on the development of guidance around the new requirement for companies to maintain a register of people with significant control (the PSC Register), which was introduced by section 81 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and will come into force from 6 April next year.

Throughout the year, I have been chairing a Working Group, drawn together by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) comprising business, legal and civil society representatives, which was asked to help BIS develop guidance for use by business and individuals in order to comply with the new requirements. Together we have developed a suite of guidance products to explain the provisions to companies and Limited Liability Partnerships and I am delighted that we can now publish this draft guidance for comments in order that it can be tested and improved before BIS publish it early in the new year.

This guidance covers the process of identifying and recording PSCs. It does not cover the detail of how to complete filings in relation to PSC information at Companies House. Companies House will provide separate guidance covering the filing of PSC information as part of incorporation or the annual confirmation statement.

The guidance documents are as follows:

    • Statutory guidance for companies on understanding the meaning of ‘significant influence or control’ (8 pages);
    • Statutory guidance for LLPs on understanding the meaning of ‘significant influence or control’ (8 pages);
    • Summary (non-statutory) guidance for companies on the PSC requirements (5 pages); and
    • Guidance for companies on the PSC requirements (61 pages).

BIS are also preparing guidance for PSCs themselves, but it has not been possible to prepare this in time for publishing at this time. This will be published alongside the rest of the document in the new year.

As you will see, the two sets of statutory guidance defining ‘significant influence or control’ are relatively brief. The guidance for companies is much longer, as the new law is rather detailed and, in some areas, quite prescriptive. The Working Group therefore asked BIS to prepare the summary non-statutory guidance which, it is hoped, will meet the needs of the overwhelming majority of companies in a clear and concise manner.

We are particularly keen to hear views on the following questions.

    • Is the guidance easy to understand?
    • Are there any sections of the guidance which are unclear or difficult to follow?
    • Does this provide all the information you need to set up your PSC register?
    • Are the diagrams easy to understand?
    • And are any further diagrams which would help illustrate how the regime works?
    • Is the approach to guidance for LLPs sufficient?
    • Should this be more integrated into the main body of the guidance?
    • Is the level of detail right in the guidance?

Please direct your comments to BIS have asked that any comments be received by 11 January, to allow them to amend the guidance as appropriate prior to publishing in the new year.

Please do note, however, that this consultation is purely about this guidance on the implementation of the new requirements; it does not create an opportunity to challenge the requirements themselves. On Friday 18th December, the Government published its response to the consultation on the PSC regulations. The response sets out the views received on the consultation on the draft regulations published in June and how the regulations have been amended following those comments.

Read the response document.

Peter Swabey FCIS, ICSA - Policy & Research Director

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