Supporting our customers

I am sending you this update to outline how Registers of Scotland (RoS) continue to support businesses and customers in response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) health crisis.

Digital Solutions

During lockdown RoS has launched a number of interim measures and digital innovations which have enabled submissions to be made to our registers and supported Scotland’s property market.

Since week commencing Monday 23 March, 2020, there have been a total of 76,103 deeds and 45,708 advance notices submitted for registration. A total of 87.8% of these have been accepted via our digital systems.

The volume of applications that have been successfully accepted via our digital services, along with the overwhelmingly positive reaction we have received, reinforces for me how working collaboratively with our customers and stakeholders can help us achieve great things.

RoS service summary

As more of you return to work, I thought it would be useful to outline the current status of our main registers and highlight how you can access more information and support.

Please see below the summary of our services. If you have a complex or urgent application then we would recommend you continue to speak to one of our senior advisors for guidance: email customerservices@ros.gov.uk or phone 0800 169 9391.

Online systems

Emergency coronavirus legislation is in place that allows us to accept digital submissions in the following areas.

Land register

Advance notices

Register of Inhibitions and Register of Judgments

Sasines

We can now accept digital submissions to the General Register of Sasines.

In the first stage the service will accept:

  • dual registrations (a transaction containing both land register and sasine register applications)
  • deeds under Section 75 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997

The service is being extended to accept other deed types.

To support you at this time we are tracking the typical customer errors that are made in submissions to any of our new digital systems and will be putting out guidance to help you prevent future errors.

See our website for the latest guidance and walk through videos

Register of Deeds (RoD)

The Register of Deeds is now open. You can send submissions to the RoD such as leases, wills or minutes of agreement using the two methods below.

Royal Mail PO Box

Register of Deeds
PO Box 24161
153 London Road
EDINBURGH
EH7 9FZ

DX Exchange courier network

Registers of Scotland
DX 555401
Edinburgh 15

Please use these details for RoD applications only. Non RoD submissions will be returned to sender.

Business Services

You can access our existing online business services for

  • ScotLIS for business
  • Digital Discharge Service
  • Reports

Copies of our documents continue to be available via our website.

Contact the relevant business area or customer services

Use the hyperlinks below to be directed to the dedicated mailbox or customer service contact who will be able to help (customerservices@ros.gov.uk or phone: 0800 169 9391)

Reopening the application record

I would like to reassure you that the application record will not be formally re-opened until at least six weeks after the government confirms that non-essential offices can reopen under Phase 3 of the route map to ease lockdown restrictions. We have agreed this with the Law Society of Scotland so that you can plan accordingly and have an opportunity to digitally submit all existing application paperwork from your offices. This date is important as the record re-opening is the trigger point defined in the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 for advance notices in the system (that have not yet been replaced by an application) to start to expire after 10 days. This date will be communicated to you in advance.

If any of you have been able to source paper documents safely then we would be very grateful if you can submit them to us via the digital submissions systems immediately rather than waiting until the formal reopening of the application record. Your support in this matter will help us to manage volumes and to deliver the best possible service to you going forward.

Paper applications and documents

RoS buildings remain closed. This means we are unable to receive general mail, personal presentments from members of the public at the office or any couriers carrying non-RoD applications.

Any other applications to the following registers or services should continue to be made digitally using our new online systems.

  • Advance Notices
  • Land Registers
  • Register of Inhibitions
  • Register of Judgements

We expect that we will be able to begin safely opening our offices during Phase 3 of the government’s plan to ease lockdown measures. When that date is confirmed we will provide further details on our future plans for accepting post. Until that date is confirmed, we can’t currently accept paper applications onto our registers, except for the Register of Deeds as described above. In addition, we aren’t currently able to source:

  • Extracts from any register
  • Duplicate plans
  • Burgh Register deeds

Extract orders will be placed on hold and processed when this service becomes available again. If you have an urgent request for an extract from any of our registers please contact the RoS Customer Services team.

We hold digitised sasine deeds from the mid-1870s and all copy deeds should continue to be ordered via our website.

For larger orders you can email customer services.

Temporary suspension of Plan Assistance Service (PAS)

As you may be aware PAS is not a statutory service and therefore, in order to prioritise available resource onto delivering statutory services, I took the decision to suspend new requests for this service and reallocate PAS colleagues onto supporting the delivery of my statutory duties (whilst, of course, ensuring that existing PAS work that customers had already commissioned us to undertake was completed).

Prior to lockdown I had identified the need to review PAS. I keep all our non-statutory services under review so I am continuously satisfied that they represent the most effective use of RoS resources and are an appropriate service to offer, usually in the context of being relevant in some way to supporting my broader public task. The PAS service has been used in many ways that we had not envisaged when we started it, and some of these uses are much wider than supporting voluntary registration for land register completion. It therefore seems appropriate to use the opportunity of the necessary suspension of the service to undertake a comprehensive review of the PAS service and consider if it is possible to relaunch an updated version of the service that is cost effective, meets the needs of our customers, and is aligned to the vision and values underpinning the delivery of our public task.

I appreciate that there is some frustration around the current inability to access the RoS PAS to support customers through the VR process however, as similar services are available on the market, I will continue the suspension of the service until we have completed our review and I am confident that any decision to restart the service will not compromise my ability to deliver my statutory services given the particular challenges we are all facing at this current time. I’m sure you can understand that any decisions about restarting PAS must be based on careful consideration of the circumstances within which we are operating.

I would very much appreciate your support in the review of this service and if you would be willing to take part, I would like to include your insights in the design of a revised service.

If you are interested in being part of this process you can contact us for more details.

Data sharing – INSPIRE

This month saw RoS and HMLR start to share their coveted INSPIRE spatial polygon datasets for the first time. This is another key stage in the data-driven journey of RoS and we have been delighted to work with our colleagues in HMLR, OS and the Geospatial Commission to achieve it.

By providing definitive data under an Open Government Licence we are opening up new and diverse opportunities for our spatial dataset that demonstrates our ongoing commitment to supporting innovation across the public and private sectors at this challenging time for the economy. The data maps over 23 million title extents across England, Wales and Scotland and the new terms of access will create opportunities for innovation in land and property, utility and infrastructure related industries.

HMLR’s data is available from its new Use Land and Property Data service, while the RoS INSPIRE data will be available from the INSPIRE download service.

Supporting our customers

The final point I want to make is that RoS are here to help our customers and stakeholders. We have all come a long way since lockdown began. With your support we have been able to lay the foundations that will help you to deliver even faster, more efficient and cost-effective services to your customers.

This has been an incredibly challenging journey, and there are more challenges on the road ahead, but RoS are with you every step of the way. If you have any queries or require any support, then please call Customer Services and we will be able to support you.

Contact us

A bespoke email address covid19enquiries@ros.gov.uk is available for general questions about RoS processes and procedures during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Please direct enquiries about specific property transactions and cases to:

Email: customerservices@ros.gov.uk
Phone: 0800 169 9391

If there are is anything else you would like to bring to my attention during this period, please email FAO Jennifer Henderson: rossecretariat@ros.gov.uk

Jennifer Henderson, Keeper of the Registers of Scotland

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