Message from the Keeper: January 2020

Are you still adhering to your New Year’s resolutions? If the answer is “Yes” then give yourself a pat on the back because you are in a tiny minority. The latest studies show that most people struggle to carry them past the first week of January. By the end of the year, a measly 5 per cent will be doggedly sticking to the diets, Pilates classes or whatever life-changing goals they set after the clocks chimed at midnight.

Personally and professionally I am the kind of person who makes pledges that I know I can deliver. I don’t really go in for New Year’s resolutions but I have spent time thinking about my goals for the year ahead. One thing I realised at the end of 2019 was that I had slipped back into the bad habit of working incredibly long hours. Sound familiar? I’ve drawn up a strategy of ruthless prioritisation for 2020 to make sure I’m focussing my time on what really needs to get done and eliminating anything that isn’t adding value.

At Registers of Scotland we are similarly focussed on using our resources as smartly and efficiently as possible to deliver the maximum value for customers, while supporting our most valuable resource – our people. The start of the calendar year is an ideal opportunity for us to give you a heads-up about things we have planned for the coming months and to remind you of some highlights from 2019.

First of all, I’d like to thank the hundreds of you who joined us at one of our conferences in November and December. The ‘A Future Focus’ events in Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow were tailored specifically for legal professionals. We are delighted that solicitors, the Crofting Commission, Ordnance Survey and some of the country’s biggest property businesses, shared their expertise at the conferences to give a broad overview of Scotland’s land and property sector. It was great that so many of you used the events to share your own ideas and suggestions because that gives us food for thought; engaging with our customers helps us to deliver even better products. It will also lead to more partnership working between RoS and the legal profession in the year ahead.

With that in mind, we are currently putting the finishing touches to a conference on the future of the conveyancing process which RoS will co-host later this year. I’ve already spoken to solicitors who are eager to get involved. I can’t tell you any more at this stage. Keep an eye on our social media channels, website and newsletter for more details.

As some of you will be aware, the Office for National Statistics updated RoS status from public corporation to central government, and the effect of this is that we can no longer operate like a trading fund. This means that RoS budget will now form part of the Scottish Consolidated budget. We are in discussions with Scottish Government to ensure that the changes to our budgetary status don’t impact on any of the important things we plan to deliver. You can read the letter from Finance & Constitution Committee and our response on the Public Services Reform (Registers of Scotland Order 2020) on the Scottish Parliament website. As soon as I’m able to give you more information I’ll issue a detailed update.

The other big event for the month ahead is pulling together the thoughts and inputs we have had to shape our 2020-2025 corporate plan. I don’t anticipate our strategic objectives will change from what we laid out last year but I am excited at being able to start to think more deeply about what RoS will become in 2025 when we have a complete land register, a set of digital tools for interacting with it and effective ways of ensuring its data is used. I look forward to engaging with our customers and stakeholders to take that debate forward.

Finally, please be aware that applications are now open to join the next Geovation Scotland Accelerator Programme. If you know anyone in Scotland with a great business idea that uses land or property data then encourage them to apply. Supporting new businesses to find new uses for our data that can create new jobs and new investment is a new year pledge that RoS will stick to.

Want to hear more?

You can me follow on Twitter @RoSKeeper. We also share news, updates and guidance on the main Registers of Scotland social accounts which you can find on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn. You can also let us know what you think via the comments below.

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