Supporting our customers

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

Key messages:

  • Corporate Plan and KPI update
  • Sending non digital documents
  • Awards shortlisting
  • Unlocking Sasines Records
  • Engaging with lenders
  • Fee Review Consultation
  • Regional webinars
  • Registers of Title Conference
  • August board papers

Corporate plan and revised KPIs

Following a six month review we have revised some of our KPIs.

Due, in part, to the impact of the public health emergency we have not achieved the targets we set out in relation to tackling the arrear and will be tracking some new indicators over the remainder of this financial year 2020/21.

Find out more on our website.

Awards shortlist

I am delighted to announce that RoS has been shortlisted for two Scottish Public Sector Awards covering our communications and digital development during the Covid pandemic. Our Customer Service team has also been nominated for a Civil Service award.

Results will be announced in the coming weeks.

Unlocking Sasine Records

Keep up to date on the latest thinking around the new approach to unlocking our Sasine records in our Chief Data Officer’s November blog.

Non-digital documents

We have launched a new non-digital document function. This means you can now tell us about a deed or document that you need to send by post.

More details on the new system and what you need to do are available online.

You can also watch a video walk through guide to take you through the new process.

Engaging with lenders

Members of the senior team and I recently participated in a stakeholder webinar on the services and support RoS offers to lenders.

It’s available on YouTube for you to view and share.

Fee Review 2020

Our fee review consultation is now open and will run until 24 December. Looking at the results so far, the question about the rejection fee is proving of interest to many.

Don’t miss out on your chance to share your views.

Regional webinars

We are hosting a series of free regional workshops for legal professionals. Each workshop will provide a unique opportunity to hear from our land and property experts

Visit our website to book your place and join me at our next event.

Registers of Title Conference

I recently attended 47th Registers of Title Virtual Conference. This was a fantastic opportunity to come together with Registrars from all around the world to learn from our peers and share good practice internationally.

I have been encouraged to see that RoS is not alone in the challenges it has faced in 2020 and that we are well placed to move forward into 2021.

Board papers – August 2020

The papers for our August board meeting are now available online.

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

7 thoughts on “Supporting our customers

  1. Dear Jennifer,

    I very much appreciate your Blogs and enjoy reading them.

    I would also say that I do get the impression that, since you took over your position, there has been an improvement in communication with the legal profession and you do seem to be using your best efforts to improve turnaround times.

    However, one thing which causes me great concern, and I do not think that I am alone in this, as the length of time it is still taking to complete first registrations. I have quite a few which have been outstanding for 18 months, or even two years. As you can imagine, this is quite concerning on all sorts of levels. On a very minor level, it means that we have to keep files open for an unnecessary length of time and, of course, when there are mortgages and Standard Securities involved, we require to spend an awful lot of unnecessary time replying to and updating lenders with regard to the process of registration of their Securities.

    Another way of looking at it is that, considering clients, (customers), are required to pay hundreds of pounds in registration fees upfront, it would not normally be acceptable for any business to take so long to process their applications and produce a registered title to complete the job.

    I do not wish to minimise the amount of work involved in a first registration, but, purchasing solicitors are often required to examine the whole title and of course obtain a Plans Report to ascertain the position in respect of the Cadastral Map, in a matter of only a few weeks, between submission of an offer and completion of the transaction.

    In conclusion, whilst many of the other objectives, such as KIP are laudable, I do feel that much more of your resources should be focused on reducing the application times for first registrations.

    I would be grateful for any comments which you may have and any definitive signs that things are improving in that respect.

    Please note that these are my personal comments, and not of my firm.

    Yours sincerely,

    James P Maguire, Solicitor.

    1. We have written directly to Mr Maguire and plan to publish a blog providing more information on the points raised.

  2. In my letter which appeared in the March 2020 issue of the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland, I called on RoS to say whether the August 2020 target for complete eradication of the registration arrear would be met, and if not, why not? Little did I realise the year of cataclysmic events which would follow. No reply came from RoS, for obvious reasons.

    Having retired from full time practice in October 2017, a recent event caused me to look again at the current registration situation. Although RoS kindly give priority to my own first registrations outstanding at retirement, I received last week a first registration completion acknowledgement following registration of the seller’s Discharge of Standard Security. This had been sent to RoS in May 2017, which means that this first registration application has taken almost 4 years.

    I wondered, given the pandemic, what targets RoS was now setting itself for at least reducing the arrear. In 2018, the Keeper acknowledged that an arrear of 40,000 was unacceptable. From the May figures published by RoS, the arrear now stands at 82,903, over double that. The same figures disclose that 6,185 applications remain to be completed for 2017, 21,691 for 2018 and 28,931 for 2019. These are presumably a mixture of first registrations and transfers of part, the latter apparently proving more difficult for RoS to register.

    James McGuire expressed various concerns about the delays in registration, including the fact that some of his own first registration applications were taking “18 months or even 2 years”. (I can only imagine what he would think of a 4-year delay!) The Keeper responded that RoS “have set an initial target to have cleared our 2017 FR arrear (and the majority of 2017 TP cases), and to ensure that 60% of all new applications (across all product types) are completed within 35 days, by March 2021.”
    Are
    Clearly, that March 2021 target was missed, and it would be interesting if the Keeper can now tell us how many 2017 applications remain to be dealt with and what the breakdown is between FR and TP registrations. This is particularly relevant given the fact that some 50,000 applications remain to be dealt with for 2018/19. Again, it would be useful to know the breakdown between FR and TP registrations. Perhaps this breakdown is something which could be included in the monthly stock review statistics.

    No one would underestimate the ongoing challenges introduced by the pandemic but it is, I think, important for the profession to know on an ongoing basis what targets RoS are working to to reduce the arrear and whether these targets have been met.

    Yours sincerely

    J Keith Robertson, Solicitor, Kingussie
    31 May, 2021

    1. Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We will respond to your questions here very soon.

    2. The Keeper reaffirms her view that it remains unacceptable that we have a backlog of applications and remains committed to resolving this issue. Whilst the backlog represents a very small percentage of applications compared to the total number of applications we process in a year, we appreciate that if you are a customer that has an application in the backlog it will be frustrating.

      At the time of Mr Robertson’s letter to The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland RoS was working to a target of eliminating our first registration and Transfers of Part (housing developments) arrear by September 2020. We were on track with this target. The necessary additional staff had been recruited, were undergoing training and the process changes to accelerate the processing of old applications was working as expected. We did provide an interview with the Journal to explain how we were approaching the arrear but clearly it became something that was out of date almost immediately due to the impact of the pandemic.

      The impact of the pandemic effectively stalled our progress with clearing those cases which fell outside service standard for most of 2020. All RoS efforts were devoted to keeping the property market moving by building and releasing digital submissions systems that allowed us to be able to receive new applications for registration; and equipping RoS colleagues to be able to work remotely so these applications could be put onto the application record. And the situation has made the arrear worse, as Mr Robertson observes, as cases that were not in the arrear in March 2020 have fallen into the arrear in the intervening time. We are however very proud of the fact that we were able to keep the expedite process running throughout the COVID crisis, and therefore were able to continue to ensure that older cases were processed where required. We also continue to adopt a ‘no-rejection’ policy for cases that we have had for more than three months.

      An updated approach to returning cases to service standard was agreed in the latter part of 2020. This approach has two parts: improving the turn-around time of new cases (thereby preventing them becoming cases that fall outside service standards) and working to reduce the stock of cases which already fall outside service standard. To that end our goal by March 2021 was to remove our 2017 FR cases, and reduce our 2017 TP arrear as much as possible. We also aimed to reach 60% of new cases (across all products) being dispatched within 35 days. The information on what we achieved has been published on our website.

      Our corporate plan was published in April 2021 and set out two new targets: to sustain an average of 60% of all new cases across all products being dispatched within 35 days and to remove between 1000-1800 pre-2021 cases from the arrear. We will be reporting progress on this target when we publish the results of our Q1 KPIs on our website. The volatility of the housing market and ongoing challenges from COVID will depend on where we land within these targets and we intend to continue the approach, through the year ahead, of setting out targets for each quarter and reporting on progress at end of the quarter.

      We regularly provide customers (lenders and individual solicitors) with full reports on all the applications they have with us free of charge. We give regular updates also to the Property Law Committee of the Law Society of Scotland on overall performance and application numbers. When the first suite of new KPI reports are published reflecting the position at the end of this quarter we intend to use this as an opportunity to consult our customers further on what additional reporting they would like to see published regularly.

      Our overall expectation is that it is over the duration of our corporate plan that we would expect to reach the point where every single application will be dispatched within service standard. How quickly that will be achieved within that wider time frame is dependent on how quickly we can ramp up to achieve close to 100% of cases being processed within 35 days. That is linked to intakes, more significantly in the short term. In the medium to long term our strategy is to nullify the impact of higher (or lower) intakes using electronic documents and automation. That will be dependent not just on our ability to build those services but on customer willingness to adopt them and thereby enable RoS to retrain and reallocate a larger number of staff to ensure the more complex and time-consuming casework can also be processed in an acceptable timeframe.

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