HM Land Registry
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Land Registry joins Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

From today, 18 July 2011, responsibility for Land Registry, the government department responsible for land registration in England and Wales, moves from the Ministry of Justice to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). This means that responsibility will move from the Lord Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke to the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, Dr Vince Cable.

Malcolm Dawson, Chief Land Registrar and Chief Executive said:

"We are pleased to be joining the BIS family along with the Met Office and Ordnance Survey. I believe this transfer will strengthen existing partnerships as well as opening up new and exciting opportunities for collaboration."

This marks a significant step towards the establishment of a Public Data Corporation (PDC), plans for which were announced by the Government in January this year. Final decisions on membership, structure and commercial strategy of the PDC will be taken later this year, following a consultation on PDC data policy, due to launch over the summer.

As a further step towards establishing a PDC, Ministers have decided to establish a Public Data Corporation Transition Board.  This will consider membership, structure and governance for the PDC but will not replace Land Registry’s Board or the existing Boards within the other organisations involved.

Malcolm Dawson added:

"This transfer of responsibility has no impact on the status and operation of Land Registry. Customers and stakeholders can be assured that we will continue to deliver the high level of customer service to which we are committed."

 Notes to editors

  1. The MoG change has no impact on Land Registry’s status as a non-ministerial government department, executive agency and trading fund or the opposition of the Chief Land Registrar as Chief Executive and Accounting Officer. The necessary changes to the Land Registration Act and Rules will be made as soon as possible by means of secondary legislation.
  2. BIS will take over responsibility for working with Land Registry to explore options for change in light of the previous work on the Feasibility Study lead by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and developments on PDC and public data policy. This work will continue over the summer.
  3. In October 2010, Ministers asked MoJ officials to lead a feasibility study to scope out the opportunities presented by expanding private sector involvement in Land Registry. This was in response to the Cabinet Office review of Arm's Length Bodies.
  4. The findings of the study have been reported to Ministers and discussions have taken place around the decisions on the future direction for Land Registry from the study and the impact of the Government’s proposal to develop a PDC.
  5. With the largest transactional database of its kind detailing over 22 million titles, Land Registry underpins the economy by safeguarding ownership of many billions of pounds worth of property.
  6. As a government department established in 1862, executive agency and trading fund responsible to the Business Secretary, Land Registry keeps and maintains the Land Register for England and Wales. The Land Register has been an open document since 1990.
  7. For further information about Land Registry visit www1.landregistry.gov.uk

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