We welcomed a delegation from Botswana at Land Registry Head Office last week, for a 2 1/2 day programme. Visits from groups originating from all over the world are a regular occurrence for us in the International Unit, but how do the groups contact us, what does it involve to organise a study visit and what do the visits mean for Land Registry?
Most of our enquiries come through known contacts, from returning organisations who deliver programmes for overseas delegations and through the International Unit mailbox and telephone number found via the website. Recent visits have included delegates from Botswana, China, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, South Korea, Cyprus, Russia and Malaysia.
We have to ascertain exactly what the visitors would like to hear about when they’re here, which is not always an easy task. Often we end up amending the programme to include last minute requests when the group arrive! As well as arranging a suitable and informative programme there are many practical requests we take care of including assisting with visa applications, arranging facilities for prayer, organising refreshments (including adhering to any particular dietary requirements), arranging an interpreter if required and putting together packs for the group to take away.
The International Unit team has lots of experience collectively from across the organisation but we are not experts in every topic and so the involvement of our colleagues from relevant areas of the organisation is vital. Not only is the quality of the visit improved, but this work also provides opportunities for different people to get involved, some of whom have already expressed an interest in international work. The visiting delegations don’t just stay at Head Office either; it really depends on what the visitors are interested in and where they are located. For example Information Systems in Plymouth is great if visitors are particularly interested in IT, Nottingham Office for visitors brought from Nottingham University, Telford Office for visitors brought to us by the University of Wolverhampton and Weymouth Office is ideal when combining with a visit to Ordnance Survey. Through these visits, our staff are given an opportunity to get involved in something a bit different and it’s a chance for them to practice their presentation skills. They also have the opportunity to engage with visitors from other countries and learn how things are done overseas.
Our visitors are from diverse countries and cultures, which enables us to learn from others and bring this knowledge back into the organisation. It also allows us to stay open to the worldwide environment and make sure that we uphold our vision to be recognised as a world leader in digital delivery of land registration services. We welcome Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, academics, and our counterparts from registration authorities overseas to Land Registry and we have received very positive feedback from visiting delegations. We also receive income from the majority of our visits which contributes to the cost of hosting these events. There have also been occasions when the visits have resulted in follow-up consultancy work in country, for example a training design and evaluation project in Uganda.