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Don’t Get Caught....

...in the tangled web of new company regulations
» Posted on: 5 April 2007
» Posted by: Elaine Hurn

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A piece of legislation has come into force that requires all UK companies to include certain information on their websites and in the footer of all emails they send. Companies failing to do so will breach the Companies Act and in turn risk a fine.

To bring the UK in line with European requirements (specifically the First Company Law Directive) controlling the minimum information requirements, businesses are required to include details including company name, address, full company registration details and contact details on all company documentation.

This information is already required on company stationery such as letterheads, but this requirement (which has come as a result of an update to the 1985 legislation) has now been extended to cover information that appears on company documents such as letterheads and order forms, websites and in email footers etc.

What is Required on Websites?
The following information is the minimum that should be on any company's website:

  • The name, address and email address of the company.

  • The name of the organisation with which the customer is contracting.

  • And if this differs from the trading name then this should be clearly higlighted – eg. "ABC.co.uk is the trading name of ABC Company Limited".

  • If a company, the company's registration number should be given and, under the Companies Act, the place of registration should be stated (e.g. " ABC Company Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 1234567")

  • If the business is VAT registered the registration number should be stated – even if the website does not carry out e-commerce transactions.

Additional Considerations

  • It is not sufficient to include a 'contact us' form without also providing an email address and geographic address somewhere easily accessible on the site. If the business is a company, the registered office address must be included.

  • Also, a PO Box is unlikely to suffice as a geographic address; but a registered office address would.

  • If the business is a member of a trade or professional association, membership details and registration number should be provided.

  • Whilst this information does not need to appear on every page, it should be made clear to visitors where such information can be found.

For the majority of larger company sites this information may already be listed on their 'About us', 'Contact' or 'Legal info' pages, however for some this is an area that needs prompt action to avoid falling foul of the new laws.

Should you require help with the implementation of this legislation, the specific requirements and how this could affect your business, please contact Elaine Hurn for further information.

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