female child in posing in lab

Experimental problem solving steers a new course

Last year, we embarked on a piece of work to review our current mapping process, with the aim of improving the customer experience and drive efficiencies in the use of the data we capture.

We formed a new team called Capture Once with volunteers from the business, with varying skills and experience. The team works on an experimental and collaborative basis – this means that ideas are formulated as a group and broken down into tests. Each test is given a goal and depending on its complexity is worked on by a number of team members.

Read the original blog on our early incarnation

The outcomes of the experiments are designed to meet the broader team goals: to capture data once, and re-use this information during the registration process. This includes looking at the new mapping tools and providing feedback and insight to the technology development teams.

To support the change approach and experiment journey, we adopted the following principles:

  • no piece of work for land registration should be done more than once
  • any task carried out should have an output that adds value – if it doesn’t add value, we shouldn’t be doing it
  • no outputs should be lost, ie zero waste.

Flexible model

With so many elements to this work, we created a more flexible model that helps the team work together better and offers an environment where they can share information, discuss solutions and learn from each other. Everyone in the team plays an equal role and we’re empowered to make decisions and take actions, using all available resources in the best way possible. Working this way creates a sense of ownership and responsibility, and a willingness and confidence to develop new ways of thinking.

Our early work

Given the task of reusing data from the pre-application services in registration, the team uncovered a common theme – where a plans report is ignored when a competing title (where two different titles cover the same area of land) has been highlighted, it leads to a rejection at registration stage. This is a costly behaviour for both the customer and RoS.

We worked with our data team and customer relations team to validate the research. We looked at six months of rejections related to competing titles. The data indicated that over 50% of the rejections where there was a plans report, were due to agents taking ‘no action’ on the plans report. This means that the rejection was avoidable by taking the necessary action on the competing title that was communicated to the agent in the plans reports.

Healthy discussion followed with other parts of the business resulting in steps taken to highlight the impact on applications for registration if no action is taken. This research, along with other areas of continuous improvement, will help inform an enhanced customer experience.

Continuous skills improvement

In our quest to understand the end-to-end registration process, and how RoS services are interconnected, we realised that we needed to up skill. We developed a skills matrix to capture and track our knowledge and skills. This has helped us to identify areas where some of us needed to expand our knowledge base, and to highlight those within the team who already have those specialisms.

We use this a visual tracker of progress in our skills development, as well as a tool to plan our cross-training and coaching within the team. Some have recently undertaken training, via in-house peer training or from specialist colleagues outside this team, to gain the required knowledge and skills.

Casting a wider net

We’ve come a long way from our initial goal of ‘making mapping better’. Our team (now called Buying and Selling) and scope has grown to look at the full registration process, and how and where we can create efficiency. We’re now working closely with our experts and technology teams to develop this end-to-end service.

What’s next?

As a team, we’ve created an environment that lets us think and work differently, and to adapt and respond to change quickly. We’ve learned a lot about continually refining processes, and it has taught us that small experiments allow us to test our hypotheses with minimum risk to the business and to quickly scrap things that don’t work!

We’re now ready to take on a few new challenges: the design of a customer-focused service that delivers a better experience and reduces risk for our commercial customers; the continuous improvement of our mapping tools; and proving the concept of validation, which involves creating a team that is primarily focused on validating previously captured data to streamline registration. The team will be sharing our insights and progress as we go along. Look out for further updates.

Take a look at our video below to hear from some of the members talking about their experience working in the team.


Follow the team via @RegistersOfScot on Twitter and on FacebookLinkedIn and YouTube for more updates. Want to comment? Let us know below!

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