Digital Land Registry: completing the concept

Paul Chambers and colleagues talk about how we could deliver future digital services

HM Land Registry is investing heavily in the improvement of customer experience and our recent concept exploration with GDS (Government Digital Services) is the latest customer-focused programme to come to completion. The amalgamation of knowledge, research, and experience has made the 7th floor in Croydon abuzz with ideas and possibilities for the last 6 weeks.

The combined, multi-disciplined team were investigating all kinds of digital possibilities which could enhance HM Land Registry services and products. The initial concept objectives provided both a wide and exciting remit in which customer research, and going back to basics, were key.

The team started with HM Land Registry’s core principles and looked at how the register could best be made accessible to public and professional customers whilst ensuring safety and integrity were never compromised. Fraud has become significantly more advanced than a stolen land certificate and we spent many hours and many coffees working out the most robust security options. Options included enhancing existing systems or starting from scratch – nothing was taboo and everything considered.

It was also exciting to showcase our array of data, and to see the myriad of combinations which could be merged together to form a customer-centric interface. Here at HM Land Registry, we’re big supporters of open data and any future digital solutions would have this at the heart of the offering.

Of course, a few enthusiastic people in an office in Croydon does not make a project. Hence numerous public testing sessions, in-depth interviews with conveyancers and a workshop with caseworkers enabled direct feedback which would then be factored into the next week’s tasks. We found conveyancers were positive about replacing forms with digital services and citizens liked jargon-free and simple step by step processes.

We have been on quite a journey in the 6 short weeks and if the concept was to be followed by a business programme, we would suggest:

  • the potential team required to deliver our future digital services would include developers, business representatives, fraud and security experts, researchers, business analysts and lawyers;
  • building upon the extensive research and experience accumulated in HM Land Registry to date;
  • customer testing will be engrained into every stage; and
  • don’t be afraid to build and release services early – develop and release services to customers as early as possible so they can tell you what they like and don’t like.

All that remains is to say a big thanks to all our colleagues at GDS for an intense but great exploration of HM Land Registry

Paul Chambers
By Paul Chambers,
Product Manager at HM Land Registry