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We’ve praised UK Companies House many times in the past couple of years, for using good identifiers, opening up director data, even company accounts, but now there’s even more reason. Today, the UK Government has announced that it going to fully open up all its data, and making it available free of charge (it is already under the Open Government Licence). In doing this the UK will be the first such register to do so (Denmark publishes most of its information as open data, but not yet accounts data).

This change will come into effect from the second quarter of 2015 (April – June), and will mean that as well as the existing basic company information, and accounts data, information on appointments, on charges on assets (mortgages), and also all image filings will be free for all users.

Significantly for other G8 countries (yes France & Germany, we’re looking at you), was that the official announcement referenced the G8 Open Data Charter: “This is a considerable step forward in improving corporate transparency; a key strand of the G8 declaration at the Lough Erne summit in 2013,” it read. In the Open Data, the G8 members commit to publishing government data as open data by default, and to focus on high-value datasets, one of which is the company register.

We’re sure the timing, on the opening day of OKFest was just coincidence, but either way, it is a great start to the event.

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