A number of educational institutions (including academies, free schools and studio schools, designated colleges and some higher education institutions) are established as limited companies.
The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015 came into force on 31 January 2015. Regulations 20 to 28 set out requirements regarding the disclosure of a company’s registered details including its registered name.
Every company must display its registered name at its registered office and at all other locations where it carries on business. Amongst other additional requirements, a company must disclose its registered name on stationery (including letters, order forms, invoices and demands for payment), cheques and its website. This is particularly important where educational companies are operating under different brands (e.g. in a multi academy trust, each school’s website should reference the Trust’s corporate details as described above).
The company’s registered number, registered office, the part of the UK in which it is registered and the fact that the company is a ‘limited’ company must be displayed on all business letters, order forms and websites. Should the company be exempt from the obligation to use the word “limited” in its name, this must also be disclosed.
If the company is a charity (and most educational companies are exempt charities), it’s charitable status must also be disclosed with its registered name. For most publicly funded education institutions, this will require a statement that they are an exempt charity.
The consequences of breaching the new Regulations could be costly – and not only in terms of reputation. Failure to comply could result in the Company, and its Directors, being liable to a maximum £1,000 fine (and a further daily fine of £100 maximum for continued breach).
In practice, we would expect a notification of breach to be issued before any enforcement action were taken but the regulators would not of course be required to act in this way and enforcement action could be immediate if it were to come to their attention.