Companies House to close early e-government service WebCHeck

Online sales of company documents will end in November after 23 years

Companies House has confirmed that it will close online document search and sales service WebCHeck on 30 November 2023, more than two decades after it was introduced, along with another legacy service Companies House Direct. The agency had announced its intention to close the services in 2020.

Many of the functions of the services being retired are freely available through the Find and update company information service on GOV.UK, which was launched in 2015 and conforms to accessibility standards.

Companies House opened the facility to buy detailed company information online in October 2000, according to an announcement available through the Internet Archive. It sold scans of companies’ latest accounts and annual returns for £4 each or £5 if purchased together. These were provided in TIFF format, with the organisation noting that this “requires an image viewer, normally available with Windows 95 and above”. Company record and directors reports, sold in RTF format, cost £5 and £2.50 respectively.

The service was available from 7am to midnight, Monday to Saturday, with a limit of £50 per order.

In October 2004, Companies House redesigned WebCHeck to include a registration facility allowing users to access all the documents they had recently ordered, replacing an individual download area for each separate order.

The WebCHeck service now charges just £1 for PDF format copies of any document filed since 1995, although it still has a £50 order limit. Its home page, a subdomain of the URL which has long been superseded by GOV.UK, includes the text ‘Crown Copyright 2014’.

The Companies House Direct service, which is also being closed down, provides a subscription service through which users can access company information.

PublicTechnology staff

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