Keeper with colleagues and Willie Coffey MSP in MBH

Message from the Keeper: February 2020

Watching the recent Six Nations Rugby championships reminded me that talent, flair and confidence in your abilities are all well and good, but the key to bringing those elements together is how you work in collaboration. Any rugby coach will tell you that when you’re part of a team that is pulling together, you can accomplish wonders.

In work terms, the ability to collaborate on shared objectives ensures that RoS delivers a safe, accurate and efficient service. A lot of collaborative working goes on behind-the-scenes to develop ways that help land and property professionals to provide a great service to clients. For example, RoS has developed software which allows us to process some of our simplest applications automatically. This functionality has been built upon tools that were introduced to increase efficiencies in our busiest operational areas. We have worked with some of our biggest submitting firms to structure these applications to make them appropriate for automation – guaranteeing the date of registration and the quality of the Land Register.

We’ll continue to enhance our products and services throughout 2020, and of course we’ll continue to work with you to ensure they deliver what you need.

In terms of top line objectives, we’re putting the finishing touches to our corporate plan for 2020-2025 that will set out what will be delivered in the coming year and beyond. The ongoing support of Ministers will be key to ensuring we can deliver on all of our ambitious plans.

You will have noticed that in February the First Minister reshuffled some of her cabinet team. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Kate Forbes MSP for being appointed Cabinet Secretary for Finance. In her previous role Ms Forbes had responsibility for Registers of Scotland and we are very grateful to the strong support she gave us, in particular over our strategy to be an innovative, digital-first organisation.

I very much look forward to working with Ben Macpherson MSP whose new role as Minister for Public Finance and Migration means he has assumed responsibility for RoS.

One of the quirks of the role of Keeper is that, as a non-Ministerial Office-Holder in the Scottish Administration, a Minister is appointed to speak for RoS in Holyrood – and this will now be Mr Macpherson. However, I remain directly accountable to Parliament, hence the annual Scottish Parliament Committee appearances to hold us to account, and the ongoing engagement with MSPs throughout the year to answer any questions they may have about our work. The roles and responsibilities of Scottish Ministers in relation to RoS are defined in our framework document.

While I’m on the subject of accountability, at the time of writing this blog I am preparing to appear before the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee to provide evidence on the legislation supporting our proposed Register of Persons Holding a Controlling Interest in Land (ROCI). I’ll be able to give you more details about the new register in the coming weeks and months.

Our commitment to being transparent and accountable saw us host a recent visit from Willie Coffey MSP at our Edinburgh offices. Mr Coffey saw at first-hand how we are guaranteeing the land and property rights for his constituents as well as delivering new products and supporting Scotland’s economy. I operate an open door policy for MSPs and other stakeholders who want to scrutinise and better understand what we do. If anyone wants meet me or any of my team then please don’t hesitate to get in contact. We are here to work with you.

That takes me back to the top of this blog when I talked about the ability to collaborate. I was thinking about all of us – our team here at RoS, our professional partners and stakeholders, and the customers we serve across Scotland. If we want to achieve the best possible results then collaboration is the key to success.

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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