The single Local Land Charges register created by HM Land Registry will provide an improved and standardised customer experience, Programme Director Steve Calder has pledged.

Steve, who took charge of the programme in November last year, said the key to the success of the new system as it goes live from the end of 2017 will be its usability for anyone carrying out a search.

Steve Calder

Steve Calder

“It has to be intuitive to use,” said Steve (pictured). “We want the first people to use it to be advocates of it.”

With a public consultation on the rules for the service due to begin shortly, Steve said the preparation phase for the £190 million HM Land Registry-funded project was now over and delivery had begun. “We’re making it ready and making it happen,” he said.

With the initial search fee due to be £25 but dropping to around £5 once the costs have been covered, the programme will bring savings to customers of £80.9 million over the first 10 years and £30 million a year subsequently.

Steve emphasised that the programme enjoyed the full backing of Land Registry’s senior management and was ranked with the likes of High Speed Rail in the Government’s major projects portfolio.

Consolidating 326 registers

The technology behind the service (based on a spatial database hosted on the public cloud) would not be excessively complex, said Steve.

The bigger challenge will be consolidating 326 local authority registers into a single register. A strategy for the timing of each authority’s transfer, starting from late 2017, is currently being drawn up.

“Our Local Authority Engagement Team has already done a large amount of work with our local authority partners and that will continue,” said Steve, who plans to visit authorities ranging from those already offering a digital service to others more paper-based.

“That will give them an opportunity to talk to me about our plans and what happens next.”

Steve, a Chartered Geographer with a long track record in delivering public and private sector digital transformation projects, joined HM Land Registry after 11 years at PA Consulting.

He has two degrees in geography and began his career as a Civil Service cartographer before moving into the private sector, where he worked with both public and private sector clients.

“I understand the central and local government environment, but I also understand the private sector requirement to make a profit, to deliver,” he said.

Gavin Curry
By Gavin Curry,
Digital Communications and Editorial Officer at HM Land Registry