Thursday, May 19, 2005

UK online research tools

[Keyword: ]. Trawling through my to-do box I found an excellent article from The Journalist by Heather Brooke on online sources. Here's a quick rundown:

The Financial Services Authority Register is "an excellent way of finding the names of directors and the boards on which they sit."

The Health and Safety Executive is "one of the most progressive and open regulators with a proactive online publishing regime. You can check the names of companies against the searchable prosecutions database, which includes all cases resulting in a conviction since 1999. The notices database includes details of all enforcement notices since 1 April 2001. The A-Z subject index of industry research reports is also useful."

The Office of Fair Trading "keeps a number of useful public registers. Some of these are easily accessible online, such as the Competition Act 1998 Register and the Register of Orders and Undertakings. However, others - the register of prohibition orders against rogue estate agents, for instance, and the Consumer Credit Act 1974 Register (which lists businesses with consumer credit agreements for issuing loans) - are not online. There is no publicity even for the existence of these registers. Journalists should pressure the OFT to make them available online."

The US Security and Exchange Commission "is a free site that monitors all companies filing SEC records, which could prove useful as many UK companies have to make them. The site will even send you an email when the company you are tracking files something new."

"Private companies that provide public services affecting the environment (such as water companies) fall under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. This law gives the public (including reporters) greater legal rights than under the FoIA for environmental information. Friends of the Earth publishes a users guide at http://community.foe.co.uk/tools/right_to_know"

Also added by David Hyatt of Halifax are The Employment Tribunal site and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

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