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Companies House will introduce a digital identity verification process for people wanting to register and run a company in the UK.
The plans come as the central government body will be given new powers through the introduction of legislation over the coming year, which will make it possible for it to verify the identities of those registering their businesses with Companies House.
In a blog post, Louise Smyth, Companies House CEO and registrar of companies, said the new ID system will “help deter those wishing to start companies for illegal purposes”.
“Anyone setting up, running, owning or controlling a company in the UK will need to verify their identity with Companies House to provide assurance that they are who they claim to be,” she said.
However, the organisation, which is an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy, has yet to decide which identity system it will use, and is still “considering the options” available.
There are also many other digital identity systems already in use across government departments, such as HMRC’s Government Gateway, which, after NHS Login, is the second-most-used digital identity service in government, with around 16 million registered accounts.
Read more about digital identity and government
- Government document includes the launch of the Office for Digital Identities and Attributes, and a pledge that ID cards will not be introduced.
- At last, the UK has a mass-market digital identity system – now let’s use it.
- Government services are lining up to work with the GDS on its One Login digital identity system, according to its director of digital identity, Natalie Jones.
When asked by Computer Weekly whether Companies House planned to use the One Login service or procure its own, a spokesperson from the organisation said: “We are considering the options that best suit our customers.”
Although the One Login system will be mandated for use by departments, it will also be able to coexist with other services.
The new legislation brought by the Economic Crime Bill, giving the organisation new powers, means that through identity verification, it will also be able to “challenge information submitted to Companies House”, including helping those who are victims of identity theft where their identities are being falsely used to register a company, Smyth said in her blog post.