Sharon Skinner - experienced caseworker at Land Registry working on a Title PlanThis is the third blog in a series following Sharon Skinner, a caseworker. See the first blog which sets out the environment of a caseworker and the second blog to see the morning calls and correspondence Sharon has dealt with.

This blog picks up at the mid-morning team huddle. Phone cover for the team has been pre-arranged so customer calls continue to be answered within their 30-second target. During the huddle, the team discuss the issues that have arisen, acknowledge their successes and share good practice. The team’s attention moves to a board on the wall which lists each member of staff and the times they’re covering the phone during lunch and towards the end of the day. This board, along with a rota, allows everyone to know who the first point of customer contact is at any given time.

As soon as the huddle ends, Sharon deals with two items of correspondence. One is about adding a plan to an existing document and after weighing up the risks she advises the customer accordingly. The other is about whether there is a lease on a flat. Sharon checks the index map. It’s difficult to establish exactly which flat the customer is referring to as they haven’t been specific. She advises the customer that they can find out with our free MapSearch service or lodge a search of the index map application.

Next Sharon shows me how she processes updates to the register. She selects a case from the electronic list. It is an application to add a charge (mortgage) to a register. She considers the application and the information within it for any potential fraudulent aspects using the relevant processes and guides. Even with the simplest application to add a charge, a caseworker can expect to consider nearly 20 different legal and technical points before completing the application. Sharon is experienced and can make quick judgements on these points. She follows the on-screen prompts to update the details in the register then marks the case for completion.

She shows me one of the pieces of work she started at the weekend (during overtime) – a transfer of part which involves more than 20 different detailed technical steps to complete, and that’s before all the legal considerations. This case had eight points which required further information from the customer. Sharon made a formal request for the missing information (a requisition) and she works through the customer’s answers. They have used the wrong form for some of the information they supplied so Sharon picks up the telephone and calls the applicant, asking them to send the information in the correct form.

Sharon Skinner - experienced caseworker at Land Registry

Next, Sharon shows me how she processes a transfer of part from start to finish. She shows me the digital mapping software used to create the indicative boundary and shows me some of her technical skills with the mapping software. Sharon also considers all of the legal rights that affect the original owner and the new owner. For example, the new owner will want to be able to get to their property and this may involve adding a right of way to the register and title plan.

Once she’s happy that the split on her map matches the customer’s drawn and written descriptions, and that she has considered all legal aspects (such as rights of way), she creates a new title number for the part that is being transferred.

Time for lunch! The next blog in the series will follow Sharon as she processes new titles.

Antony Hart
By Antony Hart,
Senior Communications Officer at HM Land Registry