Dear Companies House

The back-story to this post is that I’m the secretary of the company that owns the freehold to my flat. In the UK, Companies House keeps records of all the companies in the UK. One of the documents they keep on file is called the Memorandum and Articles of Association. This ream of legalese describes what a company is allowed to do and how it should go about doing it.

it was my task to make two minor alterations the Mem & Arts, one simply correcting the post code in an address and the other increasing the number of people required to be present at an Annual General Meeting. Nothing significant or controversial.

It’s taken me months so far — I started in November last year — and we still don’t have the documents filed. This letter, that in reality I dare not send to Companies House, explains my frustration.

Dear Companies House,

Thank you for your recent letter in which you, again, reject my updates to my companies Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Before we get to the crux of the matter, let me recap our previous conversations.

First I sent a form saying that we were going to change the Mem and Arts. Immediately after you replied — six weeks by my count — I sent you a complete copy of the updated document. This is where things started to go wrong.

After another three weeks you replied saying that I had not sent a “Company Resolution for Filing.” As far as I know, I did. I sent it with the form some time previously. Maybe you meant something else, but you didn’t say. So I reply with another copy of the resolution that we voted on at the AGM. As a form of official documentation, I want to avoid changing anything in the resolution that was passed, so in the letter I note that the resolution was passed and the date that it happened.

Another three weeks pass.

Another rejection.

This time because I didn’t say whether the resolution was passed and, if so, when it happened. Except, as I mentioned above, I had. Apparently you had a specific format in mind but didn’t want to share this information with me.

I took the resolution, I took the exact wording I’d changed, I took the date of the meeting, the number of people present and the way that each person voted and produced a single sheet of paper summarising all of the information that you asked for and returned that.

And now, three weeks later, I get another letter telling me that you rejected it again. I won’t get into the details for this rejection — it’s not important — but suffice it to say you never mentioned this as a requirement until now.

The frustrating thing here is not that you rejected the filing. I’ve not done this before; I fully accept that I have made errors in the process. However…

  • There’s clearly a process that you’re expecting me to follow. Why not tell me what it is?
  • Why tell me about a single mistake in each message? Why not tell me all your requirements at the beginning? Your first message could easily have said I need x, y and z before we can finish
  • When I give you a piece of information, please don’t tell me a didn’t in the very next message. If it’s not in the right format, please tell me what format you want to see it in. Being vague is not saving anyone time
  • If there’s a standard format, why not provide a form? The practical effect of demanding a standard format but not telling anyone what it is is frustration for both of us
  • Live in the 21st century. Even with all “my” mistakes, we could have tied this up last year if you used the email address I included in the header of each letter. Or, hell, let’s move into the 20th century with the phone number I’d included

This should have been a simple process, even with my inexperience. All you needed to do is tell me the process that needed to be followed, either explicitly in your letters or by referring to a publicly available document that I can read. But you did neither. If you reject my (real) letter I may have to fall back on primal scream therapy because I’m seriously running out of patience here.


Typing that was cathartic, but messages of support would be appreciated. Or links to the documentation I couldn’t find would also be welcome. And if you’re the secretary of a company, I hope you have better luck than me.


One response to “Dear Companies House”

  1. Hi Stephen

    Sorry to hear that youre having problems at Companies House. It might be advisable for you to contact Customer Services who is now aware of your concerns.

    Kind Regards
    Companies House Communications Team

    [SD: I removed the specific name and email address. I very much appreciate you reading this.]