RoS embracing change

Stay up to date with everything happening at Registers of Scotland (RoS) with our monthly update.

Key messages:

  • Our new plans for unlocking Sasine’s records
  • Annual Report and Accounts 2019-20 publication
  • Fee increase and upcoming fee review
  • Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and Plans Assistance Service (PAS) reviews
  • Non-Executive Director recruitment

Unlocking Sasine’s records

As we work to recover from the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID–19), completing the Land Register by 2024 remains our ultimate goal. To complement this work, I wanted to share our latest thinking on an additional approach which we hope will provide an alternative means to answer the question ‘who owns Scotland?’ in a faster, cheaper way.

The Sasines Register underpins many elements of our work. However, accessing this information requires expertise and it can be a complex manual process. The thinking we have developed over the past few months will help us to unlock that data and link it together with a spatial mapping component. This will have a wide range benefits which I set out within my recent blog.

Increase in fees

As we announced in June 2020, RoS’ plans to increase some of our statutory and non-statutory fees. This will take effect from Monday 5 October 2020.

This is the first time that RoS statutory fees have been increased since 2011. The change will support RoS’ financial position following a significant drop in income related to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. These fees remain a very small proportion of the costs involved in transacting on a property.

Even before the impact of Covid-19 we were aware that our current fees were insufficient to cover all our costs. This is the first step in a wider fee review process which will be announced soon.

In terms of processing applications we have been encouraged at the recent high level of intake that we have experienced. We will make every effort to process applications as quickly as possible and I can assure customers that all applications will be charged according to the date received.

You can find the full detail on the increase on our website.

Annual Report and Accounts 2019-20

Our Annual Report and Accounts for 2019-20 was laid in parliament on 21 September. During a year in which the organisation received over 700,000 applications for registration – an increase of 1.5% compared to the previous year – the report highlights many successes, including:

  • an increased customer satisfaction score from 77% to 83%;
  • improvements to ScotLIS – Scotland’s Land Information Service – which has made it even easier for people to find information on land and property; and
  • the launch of the Geovation Scotland programme which has provided support to Scottish start-ups.

Less progress than anticipated was made on objectives to complete Scotland’s Land Register by 2024 and on some indicators connected to investment in people.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last year. You can access the full report on our website.

KPI review

As we move into autumn, the changing of the season is an opportunity for reflection. Now that we are half way through our accounting year we can look back at all the hard work we’ve undertaken to overcome the challenges of 2020. We can also look forward at how RoS is going to rebuild and recover in a stronger, more resilient way.

Part of this work will be to re-evaluate our current KPIs to reflect the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We will be using all of the data, new learning and experiences we have collected in the year so far to refine a set of ambitious but achievable new targets. Watch this space for further updates.

Non-Executive Director recruitment

We will soon be recruiting for two new Non-Executive Directors to join our board. My personal thanks goes out to Jayne Scott and Shrin Honap for their hard work and the valuable contribution they have made to the organisation. As they step down at the end of their terms we will be seeking to fill their seats with people who can provide diverse perspectives, innovative thinking and constructive challenge. More information on how to apply will be available in the coming weeks.

Plans Assistance Service review

As you may remember from previous updates we are currently evaluating our Plans Assistance Service (PAS). Thank you to everyone who has contributed their views so far. We are currently reviewing these results and we’ll be able to provide you with an update on the future of PAS soon.

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

2 thoughts on “RoS embracing change

  1. Why is there an increase in the fee for the Digital Discharge Service when, in theory, the process should command a nil fee as in other jurisdictions?

    1. The £10 increase was introduced across the bulk of our statutory fees as a direct and urgent response to the current health emergency on the housing market and consequent impact on income from registration. The broad aim when setting fees is to recover costs – our intention is to review fees on an annual basis and will consult publicly at the time.

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