The Role of the Company Secretary in the Light of the Companies Act 2006
The new law hopes to reduce regulation that will allow companies to run their companies better and even cheaper. The changes brought about by the new law will result in savings of 250 million per year for businesses, inclusive of 100 million for the small businesses (http://www.bytestart.co.uk/ content/ legal/35_2/companies-act-guide.shtml)
The new law brought anxiety to company secretaries in private firms because of possible abolition of the position. As part of the deregulation measures of the United Kingdom government, the requirement to have a company secretary is removed such that private companies can abolish the company secretary position starting April 6, 2008. A private company, however, has the option to retain its company secretary. The registrar of companies must be informed of the appointment of a company secretary to a private company and recorded in the company’s register of secretaries. The private company secretary will perform the same obligations as a public company secretary as stipulated in the Companies Act 2006. The private company secretary, however, will not be subjected to qualification requirement that is required of a public company secretary (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform of the United Kingdom). Large private companies are expected to retain their company secretaries because of their important role in the company.
Small private companies, on the other hand, may likely abolish the company secretary since the position is just created to be able to comply with the legal and administrative requirements of the old company law (Thomas, 2007). The position is often occupied by the spouse or a friend of management or a director of the company. Abolition of the company position in a small private company will reduce its operating costs. The company secretary of a small private company has limited administrative work and is often combined with other roles such as "advising the directors on legal matters, overseeing board papers, and generally acting as the conscience of the company" (http://www.netlawman.co.uk/info/role-duties-company-secretary.php).
For large private companies, the company secretary has enormous responsibilities and the company is largely dependent on the expertise of a company secretary. With the implementation of the Companies Act 2006, the company secretary has to study the new law carefully, implement the changes and make sure that the company complies with the requirements of the law. The Companies Act 2006 includes significant changes in the old company law that was in force in the past 20 years. Company secretaries are now busy preparing their companies internally to iron out the processes to facilitate smooth company compliance.