The British government's Companies House oversees incorporation and dissolution of companies in the United Kingdom and registers information that the law requires companies to provide to the government. The Companies House makes information it possesses about companies available to the public upon request.
The United Kingdom is home to more than 3 million companies, as of 2015. The Companies House's approximately 3,000 employees process about 500,000 new companies every year. The headquarters is in Cardiff, Wales, and handles incorporation requests for Wales and England. There is a branch in Edinburgh, Scotland, which handles the Scottish incorporations, and one in Belfast, Ireland, which handles the Irish requests. The sole job of the Companies House branch in London is to provide information to the public.
The Companies House manages an official register of United Kingdom companies, to which the public may request access. Services include using the Internet to file documents the Companies House needs from prospective companies, and a search function for disqualified company directors. Citizens may subscribe to Companies House Direct, which provides access to 130 million documents about corporations from as long ago as 20 years. There is a fee for Companies House Direct and an additional fee to download documents. Another service is Monitor, which allows users to keep tabs on and receive updates about their own or any other companies in the public register.