HM Land Registry recently invited local authority software suppliers to come and meet the team building the new Local Land Charges (LLC) Register Service in Plymouth.

The team are now halfway through development so it was a great opportunity to showcase what we’ve built. It was also a chance to share ideas on the future service direction and the way we are proposing to make the new register work with existing software solutions.

We had Arcus Global come to the office and IDOX, Northgate, and DEF join over GotoMeeting.

The programme drivers of standardisation of format, price, and time for local land searches is founded on a central, digital register kept up-to-date with current charges. We believe that the most cost-effective and efficient way of this register being kept up-to-date is through digital integration with existing local authority systems. We will also be providing a digital user interface for those authorities that do not have software suppliers or who wish to maintain the register manually.

Local authority software suppliers provide a broad range of digital services to their clients, with LLC management being a service that many adopt. It is vital that HM Land Registry and the software suppliers work together to understand the programme timeline, the emerging service architecture, and how LLC management is changing as a result of the new centralised digital register.

The session included an Alpha scope recap, a walkthrough of our technology investigations, our open registers and relational register data model investigation, a show of the test harness / basic user interface, a show of the digital interface (API), and then a discussion around proposed security models.

Following on from our initial market engagement over the past three years, the suppliers got their first chance to see the LLC digital register theory being put into working software. The discussions seemed to confirm our current approach, and I left with a general feeling that a collaborative way of working is to the benefit of both sides.

We valued the time and effort put in by the suppliers to meet with us, and this meeting was just one of many where we have explored further collaboration and user research. The team also benefited from learning from their experiences with integrating with not only local authorities but also other government and private-sector services.

The next steps are to share more with the supplier group, create an area to confirm the data models, create a safe place for integration testing, and form focus groups for key technical development areas such as security models and API specification. We see this group as a key user group for the success of our digital service. We will be focussing our User Researchers on this group as well as LLC Officers for our Alpha delivery, ensuring that their user needs are considered.

By working closely with the software suppliers, we are confident that local authority staff will be able to focus on high-value tasks such as charge validation, and less on the administrative overheads of performing searches. This should result in high-quality automated search results.

To show the extent of our discussions and to record a less formal note of the meeting, our User Centred Designer, Laura Criddle, trialled sketch-noting for the session – I’m envious of her artistic ability:

LLC Team Collaborating with Local Authority Software Suppliers Sketch-noting (1)LLC Team Collaborating with Local Authority Software Suppliers Sketch-noting (2)I hope you’ve found this blog useful. If you’re interested in helping us to build this service, please get in touch.

Ian Edmunds
By Ian Edmunds,