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Land Registry Launches Consultation on Proposals to close Telephone Services

Land Registry Launches Consultation on Proposals to close Telephone Services

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 04 May 2012

Land Registry today, 4 May 2012, launched a consultation on proposals to change Land Charges legislation that will enable it to provide a wider range of services online, and close down its telephone ordering service for business customers (Telephone Services), which can be used for both Land Charges and Land Registry applications.

As a result of a significant increase in business customers taking up its online services, demand for Telephone Services has reduced by 95 per cent and continues to fall. This means that the service will soon be running at a financial loss. The proportion of applications ordered by telephone is now around 2 per cent, compared with 87 per cent ordered online and 11 per cent by post.

The proposed rule changes will align the Land Charges rules with the Land Registration Rules 2003, allowing the submitting of applications and issuing of results by means other than by post or personal delivery. The changes will provide more flexibility in how Land Charges services are provided and will enable a more efficient and responsive service for customers by delivering products and services through cost-effective channels that meet their needs.

Malcolm Dawson, Chief Land Registrar said:

“The changes set out in the consultation would enable us to make better use of available technology to provide a ‘self-service’ channel for our customers. The changes will enable us to improve and modernise our processes, and become more flexible, efficient and responsive to customers’ needs. It’s clear that the vast majority of our customers want to access these services electronically and, as a result, the telephone service is no longer sustainable. We need to amend the Land Charges legislation to ensure we can continue to provide relevant and cost effective services to our customers.

“Consultation is required when we consider changes to legislation, and we now welcome your participation and your views.”

A post-consultation report will be published on www.landregistry.gov.uk following a ministerial review. If the proposals are confirmed, and subject to ministerial approval, the changes are expected to be implemented by the end of 2012.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. The telephone ordering service (Telephone Services) can be used for Land Charges and Land Registry applications. It is only available to business users, who are mainly solicitors, licensed conveyancers, banks, building societies and property professionals with a Land Registry account. It is not available to the general public.
2. The consultation paper seeks views on proposals to change Land Charges legislation that will enable Telephone Services to be closed. The document can be read online from today, 4 May until 27 July 2012 at http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/consultations
3. For questions about the consultation document or how to respond, please email tscclosure@landregistry.gsi.gov.uk or telephone 0191 301 3630.
4. Staff within Customer Contact Centres deal with these applications and are employed on rotation from other work. They do not solely take telephone orders. The equivalent of the 6.6 full time staff who currently provide Telephone Services would continue working for Land Registry on their other duties.
5. Land Registry maintains registers relating to unregistered land, known as the Land Charges registers. These registers do not record ownership of unregistered land. Their primary task is to protect certain interests, for example mortgages, in unregistered land and to maintain the bankruptcy index for England and Wales.
6. With the largest transactional database of its kind detailing over 23 million titles, Land Registry underpins the economy by safeguarding ownership of many billions of pounds worth of property.
7. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Land Registry. As a government department established in 1862, executive agency and trading fund responsible to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Land Registry keeps and maintains the Land Register for England and Wales. The Land Register has been an open document since 1990.
8. For further information about Land Registry visit www.landregistry.gov.uk

Contacts:

Land Registry Press Office
pressoffice.returns@landregistry.gsi.gov.uk

Marion Shelley
Phone: 0300 006 7543
Mobile: 07790 690297
marion.shelley@landregistry.gsi.gov.uk

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