Ian Edmunds

Land Registry will draw on its long track record of digital innovation to create a Local Land Charges register that works for everyone, says the expert in charge.

Nineteen members of staff formed in two teams at Seaton Court in Plymouth are using ‘agile’ tools and techniques to build the single digital register which will host the Local Land Charges data of 326 English local authorities.

Lead Architect Ian Edmunds (pictured) said prospective users of the register could have confidence in their expertise thanks to Land Registry’s “proud heritage” as a government department with strong IT capability.

“We have been delivering successful electronic services for the last 40 years,” said Ian, who has helped build Business Gateway among other Land Registry products. “We have the experience to do this.”

The teams’ goal is to create a completely automated Local Land Charges (LLC) search facility which will provide a near instant response in a standardised format at a standardised price. There will be appropriate support for assisted digital needs so everyone can use it.

“This will be a purely digital service built in line with government digital standards and deployed in the ‘cloud’ with an aim of completely eliminating any paper processing,” said Ian.

“Customers will be able to inspect any and all charges recorded by a local authority and order the LLC search product, the LLC1, from Land Registry. It will be Land Registry-branded so they’ll be able to buy with confidence.”

“They’ll also be able to order other Land Registry searches at the same time.”

Data will be ‘migrated’ from the local authorities’ systems to the central register in stages, with the teams learning from the process at each stage.

The local authorities will then be responsible for keeping the register updated. Ian’s teams – pictured below during a daily ‘scrum’ meeting – are creating the interfaces to enable them to do that, including by using their existing software if they wish.

Local-Land-Charges-digital-register-team-1-900

The teams aim to produce an ‘alpha’ version of the register to show to the Government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority and the Government Digital Service by September before moving into ‘beta’.

More people will then be recruited as their workload is stepped up. A private sector delivery partner will also be hired to ensure the right level of capacity and skills.

Ian emphasised the register will be built in a truly transparent way with the full involvement of its future customers at every stage.

“It’s important the people who will use it help us build it,” he said. “The more feedback we can get, the better the product will be.”

“This is not just a technical project. It’s about people. The most important thing is the impact on the market, the impact on people’s daily lives.”

The teams will identify and work with a range of user groups to ensure the service meets their needs.

“Every fortnight we have a ‘show and tell’ to which anyone can come along,” said Ian. “We’ll also publicise what we’re doing through blogs and news articles and by going out and meeting people in person.”

“We’ve already done that with all 326 local authorities and we intend to continue to build on those relationships.”

“If you’re interested in helping us build this service, we genuinely want to hear from you.”

Ian and his colleagues can be contacted by email at llcproject@landregistry.gov.uk.


Gavin Curry
By Gavin Curry,
Editor at HM Land Registry