Disclosures, directors and housekeeping - widespread reforms affecting all UK companies

Three new Acts have been passed in the last few days of the current Parliament, which will introduce a number of new disclosure obligations for UK companies, as well as making changes affecting directors, shadow directors and company filings.

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, the Deregulation Act 2015 and the Modern Slavery Act 2015 will make the following changes, to be implemented in stages between now and next April.

  • Large companies to disclose payment practices
  • Non-assignment clauses in business contracts to be invalid 
  • Large companies to disclose differences in the pay of male and female employees
  • Companies to disclose steps taken to eradicate slavery and human trafficking in the supply chain
  • Clarification of duties for shadow directors
  • Extended grounds for disqualification of directors
  • A ban on corporate directors (with some exceptions)
  • A requirement to maintain a publicly available register of individuals having significant control over the company (with exemptions for companies that comply with DTR 5)
  • A ban on bearer shares (also known as share warrants)
  • Changes to the annual return process and company filings

A full briefing note is available here on the Knowledge Portal, a one stop shop for value-added know-how reserved for our clients. It includes a quick reference guide to the actions companies should take now. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published a number of factsheets for companies, giving high level overviews of various aspects of the Act (see here).