Tuesday, 2 April 2013
One of the most tiresome things about this blog is the way that some trifling remark of mine will be seized upon and analysed to death; those commenting being quite unable to let things drop. We saw a good example of this today. Somebody who has started commenting here recently asked who Alison Sauer is. I gave a brief and accurate answer:
She is rather a controversial figure in the British home education scene. A home educating parent herself, she runs a business which offers training to local authorities on the best way to deal with home education. Because she has a financial stake in this way, some people mistrust her and feel that she is not objective. Currently, she runs an outfit called SC Education which promotes flexi-schooling. Again, this could be a conflict of interest when she is campaigning about home education. She is a close associate of Mike Fortune-Wood, who runs the Home Education UK site and also of Wendy Charles-Warner, the Education Otherwise representative in Wales.
Of course, it could not end there! One person told me to ‘get my facts straight’ and another said that, ‘her LA training business went bust and so did her flexischooling business SC Education.’ This is not altogether true and so I responded by saying:
To be strictly accurate SC Education did not exist in the first place! She was trading under this name, but it was not registered at Companies House; which is sailing pretty close to the wind.
I thought that this would be the end of the it, but of course I was reckoning without some of the more, shall we say, determined characters who comment here. They seemed to think that this was an outrageous slur upon Alison Sauer and indicated that I had an obsession with her. Let us just clear this up and see what the situation actually is with Alison Sauer’s various companies. I certainly do not think that the information I gave was ‘smearing’ her, as one person suggested.
Alison Sauer has a limited company called Sauer Consultancy, which she runs with her husband. Among other things, this company advises local authorities about home education. She and her husband are also the directors of Heatherside Homes Ltd; a company involved in property development. At the end of February 2012, Alison and her husband began two new companies and this is where things get a little confusing. She began calling her old company, Sauer Consultancy Ltd, SC Education. This was not a separate company, it was simply Sauer Consultancy, trading as SC Education. I’m not sure why she did this. I’ve been told that she felt her name was not a brilliant advertisement in view of some of the stuff which has happened in the past and that she wanted a neutral company name that would not be immediately associated with her. I don’t know how true this is.
Now there is no reason why you should not call your business by any name you like, as long as nobody else is using the name you have chosen. You must not however misrepresent yourself as a limited company if you are not. If you are a limited company, then you must tell people who you are when you do business with them, your registration number, registered office and so on. This is where Alison fell down a little, because she began to stop telling people what the real name of her company was. Take a look at this;
Now anybody reading this will draw at least one erroneous conclusion about the state of affairs. The first thing which is obvious is that this is a company which is registered in the United Kingdom. At the bottom is the registration number and the registered address is also given. What is the name of the company? Well the heading is SC Education and the text refers to, ‘SC Education and its legal advisers’. The conclusion is inescapable; this document relates to a company called SC Education. Only of course it doesn’t; because there is no such company. Here is a person dealing with the public, but not revealing the name of her company. This is what I meant by ‘sailing close to the wind’. It is not a serious matter; the most that might happen is that she could get her knuckles rapped by the people at Companies House, but it is certainly misleading and confusing. How mentioning this could be thought of as a ‘smear’ is quite beyond me! Confusion is almost guaranteed here, because until eighteen months earlier, there had been another company registered with this name at Companies House.
There is nothing criminal about any of this, it is the sort of thing that people do quite often, but it is never the less not strictly open and above board. SC Education have been representing themselves as a limited company, but do not really exist as a company at all. I hope that this clears up this simple misunderstanding and explains why I said that she was sailing close to the wind.