Stakeholder views are a key component of the criteria that will be used to assess the ESO’s performance as part of its regulatory and incentives framework. We want to pool the knowledge and experience of a wide array of industry parties and independent experts in order to gain a comprehensive picture of the ESO’s performance.
We are publishing this call for evidence to request stakeholders’ feedback on the ESO’s performance across all of its roles and responsibilities from April 2020 to date. Feedback we receive will feed into the mid-year review process.
We would appreciate feedback and evidence by 16 October, but we understand the additional resource pressures facing all market participants at present. We will therefore seek to consider any evidence received (written or informal) by the end of October and have outlined further details in this letter.
- Compulsory identity verification to be introduced to help trace people who are committing fraud or money laundering
- Companies House will be given greater powers to query, investigate and remove false information
- changes will give businesses confidence in who they are doing business with, with greater accuracy of data on the register, without impacting the speed of service
The UK’s register of company information will be reformed to clamp down on fraud and money laundering, the government has announced today (Friday 18 September).
Under the plans, directors will not be able to be appointed until their identity has been verified by Companies House.
The changes aim to increase the reliability of the data showing who is behind each company so that businesses have greater assurance when they are entering transactions with other companies, such as when small businesses are consulting the register to research potential suppliers and partners.
It will also improve the ability of law enforcement agencies, such as the National Crime Agency, to trace their activity for suspected fraud or money laundering. Identity verification will take place through a fast, efficient, digital process and is expected to take a matter of minutes.
These reforms will not impact on the typical speed at which a company or organisation is formed and other filings are completed. Most companies will be able to be incorporated easily within 24 hours as is the case now.
Data on Companies House informs many transactions between businesses and underpins credit scores and lending decisions. Register data was accessed 9.4 billion times in the last year, and research suggests it is worth up to £3 billion per year to users.
The government’s full response to the Corporate Transparency and Register Reform consultation has been published today. The reforms will give Companies House more powers to query and reject information, to improve the quality of data on the register, as well as affording users greater protections over their personal data, to help protect them from fraud and other harms.
Minister for Corporate Responsibility Lord Callanan said:
We are committed to making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business. The reforms we are making to the Companies House register will provide businesses with greater confidence in their transactions.
Mandatory identity verification will mean criminals have no place to hide – allowing us to clamp down on fraud and money laundering and ensure people cannot manipulate the UK market for their own financial gain, whilst ensuring for the majority that the processes for setting up and running a company remain quick and easy.
Where any new controls are introduced, Companies House will keep the burden on business as low as possible and will continue to look for ways to make incorporation and access to its services as smooth as they can be.
For example, to facilitate the new identity verification requirement, Companies House will develop a fast, efficient, 24/7 digital verification process to minimise any strain on business, and prevent delays in incorporations and filings.
The government will consult on further changes to make Companies House more useful and usable, including reforms to the filing of company accounts.
Broader transformation of Companies House systems and processes will bring further business benefits through streamlining and digitising processes and improving the user experience.
The government will bring forward legislation to enact the reforms to the register when Parliamentary time allows.
Louise Smyth, chief executive of Companies House, said:
We are pleased that these significant and far-reaching changes are being announced.
We know how valuable our data is, not just to businesses but to law enforcement and these reforms will unlock that value even further.
Driving confidence in the UK economy is at the very heart of our plans to modernise Companies House, and we already have a substantial transformation programme in place to bring the government’s ambition to life.
Security Minister James Brokenshire said:
We must use all the tools at our disposal to stop criminals profiting from their offending.
These changes will give law enforcement and the private sector more accurate information to crack down on dirty money and financial exploitation, to protect our security and prosperity.
The changes are a result of the government’s 2019 consultation on Corporate Transparency and Register Reform. The government response is available on the consultation page.
The consultation considers reform to the information we require companies to disclose, increasing the checks on this information and measures to improve the exchange of intelligence between Companies House and UK Law Enforcement bodies.
The consultation seeks views on a series of reforms to limit the risk of misuse:
- knowing who is setting up, managing and controlling companies
- improving the accuracy and usability of data on the companies register
- protecting personal information on the register
- ensuring compliance, sharing intelligence and other measures to deter abuse of corporate entities
The views of the following people and organisations would be particularly useful:
- directors of companies (and officers of other corporate entities; see note above)
- company shareholders and the investor community
- business representative bodies
- trust and company service providers and other professional bodies
- wider civil society groups
- academics and think tanks
- members of the public
- Regulations come into force today to ensure that businesses comply with the rule of 6 and maintain social distancing between customers
- businesses failing to comply could be issued with fines of up to £4,000
- designated venues will also will now have a legal requirement to maintain records of customer contact details and display an official NHS QR code poster ahead of the rollout of the NHS COVID-19 app
Hospitality venues in England are from today (18 September) legally required to enforce the rule of 6 or face a fine of up to £4,000.
Designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, will also be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and from Thursday 24 September they will be required to display official NHS QR code posters under law ahead of the NHS COVID-19 app being rolled out nationally next week.
A majority of businesses and organisations have been playing their part in tackling the virus by putting in place COVID-secure measures in their venues, but new legal requirements will make it compulsory for them to do so or risk facing a fine:
- from today, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in England will now need to take bookings of no more than 6 people, ensure people are not meeting in groups of more than 6 people on their premises, and make sure there is sufficient space between tables
- it will be also mandatory for a wider range of businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues to collect customer, visitor and staff contact detail logs from today, Friday 18 September. This is vital for the NHS Test and Trace service in England to contact the necessary people if coronavirus outbreaks are identified in venue.
- from Thursday 24 September, these businesses will also need to display the official NHS QR code posters to make it easier for people to check-in at different premises once the app is rolled out nationally. If individuals choose to check-in using the QR code poster they do not need to log in via any other route
The regulations will be enforced by Local Authorities, who will have the power to issue fines of up to £1,000 for venues that are failing to comply, or the police as a last resort. Fines will rise to up to £4,000 for repeat offenders.
Businesses will be expected to make sure their customers are aware of the rules around QR codes by displaying posters and speaking to customers directly.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
It is vital we do all we can to control the spread of the virus. Businesses have already stepped up to ensure they are supporting the NHS Test and Trace effort, and it is essential contact logs and displaying NHS QR codes are mandatory so there is consistency across the country and the public can seamlessly provide their details.
Venues should record and maintain contact details logs for customers, visitors and staff, and they should also download an official NHS QR code poster for their premises ahead of the launch of the NHS COVID-19 app.
With cases rising, it is vital NHS Test and Trace continues to reach as many people as possible to prevent further transmission of the virus. Businesses have a duty to ensure this function is in place, and those not complying will face fines.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
With cases on the rise, each and every one of us needs to play our part to control the virus and to save lives.
Businesses up and down the country have taken great steps to welcome customers back safely, but at this critical moment in the fight against the virus, we need to take these tough measures to reduce the risk of another national lockdown in the future.
In order to keep these venues open and protect jobs, it is absolutely vital that businesses comply with these new regulations and make sure their customers are following the rules.
When someone enters a venue and scans an official NHS QR code poster, the venue information will be logged on the user’s phone. The device will check if users have been at that location at the relevant time and if the app finds a match, users will get an alert anonymously with advice on what to do based on the level of risk.
The Rule of Six regulations apply to hospitality venues, including pubs, bars, restaurants.
Services included in the new legal requirements are:
- hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
- tourism and leisure, including gyms, swimming pools, hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks
- close contact services, including hairdressers *facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres (for events), libraries and children’s centres
Notes to editors
- It will be an offence for a business to fail to adhere to the rule of 6 (respecting all exceptions to this) when taking a booking, allowing entry to a group of more than 6 people. Once groups are within the premises, businesses also risk offending if they fail to advise groups not to merge in ways that breach the rules is also an offence
- businesses will also need to ensure adequate distance between tables (2m or 1m+) and prevent customers from dancing. The following information should be collected by the venue for those people that have not checked-in using the QR poster
- customers and visitors will need to provide their name and, if there is more than one person, record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group (maximum of 6)
- they will also need to leave a contact phone number for the lead member of a group of people (maximum of 6), date of visit and arrival and, where possible, departure time
- if a customer will interact with only one member of staff (for example a hairdresser), the name of the assigned staff member should be recorded alongside the name of the customer. No additional data should be collected for this purpose
- venues will be required to collect the names of staff who work at the premises. A contact phone number for each member of staff and the dates and times that staff are at work
Notice under section 8AA(9) of the Gas Act 1986 (as amended) of the proposed transfer of a Gas Shipper licence held by Eni Trading & Shipping SpA to Eni Global Energy Markets SpA
The Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (‘the Authority’) hereby gives notice pursuant to Section 8AA(9) of the Gas Act 1986 (as amended) (‘the Act’) as follows:
1. Eni Trading & Shipping SpA (company registration number RM1174612 and fiscal code 09598861004), the registered office of which is 1 P.Le Enrico Mattei, Roma, 00144, Italy, has written to the Authority seeking its consent under Section 8AA of the Act to the transfer of the Gas Shipper licence granted to Eni Trading & Shipping SpA pursuant to section 7A(2) of the Act to Eni Global Energy Markets SpA (company registration number 11076280962), the registered office of which is at 1 P.Le Enrico Mattei, Roma, 00144, Italy.
2. The Authority proposes to grant consent to the proposed licence transfer which, subject to our consent, is currently proposed to take place on 1 January 2021, for the following reasons:
(i) Eni Trading & Shipping SpA has applied to the Authority under Section 8AA of the Act for the Authority’s consent to the transfer of its gas shipper licence to Eni Global Energy Markets SpA; and
(ii) The Authority is satisfied that it would have been appropriate to grant a Gas Shipper licence to Eni Global Energy Markets SpA had Eni Global Energy Markets SpA applied to the Authority for such a licence and as such considers that it is appropriate to consent to a transfer of an existing Gas Shipper licence to Eni Global Energy Markets SpA.
3. Any representations or objections in relation to the proposal by the Authority to grant consent to the proposed licence transfer should be made in writing no later than 17 November 2020 to the Authority, either:
by post to: the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority at 10 S Colonnade, Canary Wharf London, E14 4PU marked for the attention of the Industry Codes and Licensing team or by email to: email@example.com.
Duly authorised on behalf of the Authority
In his 2020 Budget speech, the Chancellor announced £10 million of new research and development funding to help distilleries go green. To meet net zero by 2050, all industries, including distilleries, must decarbonise as far as possible.
Phase 1 now open to applications
Phase 1 of the green distilleries competition will provide up to £500,000 in funding for feasibility studies looking into developing technologies that enable the use of a low carbon fuel in a distillery.
The invitation to tender and documents required to complete an application are available on Contracts Finder.
Phase 2 of the competition will consider applications to pilot key components or further develop the design of the new fuel switching solutions.
The programme will take a portfolio approach and aims to fund a range of different solutions which could include electrification, hydrogen, biomass or waste. In addition, enabling technologies will be considered and could include fuel conversion, transportation or storage.
The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator (SHDF Demonstrator) will start the decarbonisation of social housing over 2020/21, and will support green jobs as part of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
This £50 million programme will support social landlords to demonstrate innovative approaches to retrofitting social housing at scale.
We plan to launch the competition in October 2020. The competition will be open to applications from local authorities and local authority-led consortia.