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  1. 1. A true single marketrequires open accessto public companyinformation Chris Taggart, Share-PSI, May 10, Brussels
  2. 2. Me: Chris Taggart • Developer of OpenlyLocal, opening up local government information since 2009. Over 150 councils, 10,000 councillors, 1.8 million payments, all open data • Developer of OpenCharities • Co-founder of OpenCorporates • Member of Local Public Data Panel • Member of London Digital Advisory Board • Member of Open Knowledge Foundation open government working group
  3. 3. Why do we registercompanies? • Non-natural persons • Important (and powerful) role in society • Economy depends on them • Limited liability means the risk is carried by a company’s customers, suppliers, and staff (and society as a whole)
  4. 4. What information dowe hold (& why)? • Accounts • Registered Office • Mortgages • Statutory filings • Officers (Directors) • Owners (sometimes)We need to: know who we’re doing dealing with;make an informed decision about doing business with them;& who to sue for redress
  5. 5. There’s a wealth ofother official data too utory p urpose Stat siness • Official Gazettes ✓ Useful for bu wider ✓ ed for • Environmental notices ✓ Design bution distri n data • Political contributions reasin gly ope ✓ Inc se com pany esn’t u • Planning information X Do tifiers iden • Court cases • Public contracts & spending • Other registers (e.g. financial services)
  6. 6. An efficient & (single)market depends on it• Access to information to all, not just big established companies with power• A level playing field means that ‘public’ must mean ‘public data’, not just individual facts• Lack of access to information restricts access to companies outside the member country• Existing approach leads to rent-seeking, de facto exclusive arrangements, and reliance on non- EU companies
  7. 7. One more thing... • This is public information, collected for a statutory purpose... but restricted to the public • Wider access to essential corporate information leads to less friction, more competition, more innovation • Restricted access lays a fertile ground on which corruption, fraud and tax evasion thrives • Information about smaller companies presently isn’t collected (or published) due to the restricted business models of incumbent corporate data publishers • The public sector needs this information too, to monitor its suppliers, improve efficiency, and to avoid its tax base disappearing