Revisions to Draft Companies (Beneficial Ownership Information) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 – Public Consultation

  • Publication date: 01 December 2021

Data privacy and confidentiality

13(4) Beneficial ownership information shall not be made available to the public except for publishing the information relating to entities that have participated in a tendering process undertaken by a procuring entity or contracting authority pursuant to the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, No. 33 of 2015 or the Public Private Partnership Act, No. 15 of 2013, respectively.

Through amendments to regulation 13, sub-regulation 4, an exemption to the bar on publication of BO data is created. This is a significant step. Publishing BO data for procurement or otherwise has the wider benefit of driving up the quality of data in addition to furthering the public policy aims.

Going further to create a fully public BO register would have additional indirect benefits for public procurement including allowing companies to use this data to manage and reduce risk in their own due diligence processes. OO’s briefing explores the benefits of making central beneficial ownership registers public as well as issues authorities should consider before taking this step.

To address legitimate concerns the publication of BO data may raise, OO recommends that the BRS considers:

  1. minimising the data collected and shared with procuring entities and contracting authorities to what is strictly necessary to achieve the policy aims (see OO’s further guidance on data minimisation; Section 4 of the Form BOF1 review below provides further discussion and recommendations).
  2. allow for narrowly defined exceptions to the publication of BO data. The regulations and amendments do not currently provide for a narrowly defined set of circumstances where a credible threat to an individual may be reasonable grounds for non-publication of one or more fields. In exceptional circumstances, the regulations may provide for an exemption from publication. This may be addressed through an additional sub-regulation at regulation 13. Where an exemption is permitted, this should be clearly reflected in the published contract.
  3. if data is made public, making a smaller subset available to the public than to competent and procurement authorities, omitting data fields that are particularly sensitive and unnecessary to public data use and oversight (also known as layered access).

Next page: Amendments to Form BOF1