Unlocking the Sasine – the discovery phase

Blog post by Fi McKie, Head of Land Register Completion


The team and I who are working on ‘Unlocking the Sasine’ are right in the middle of what I would describe as the fuzzy front end of innovation or (more often known as) discovery. It’s fuzzy as it’s not always a comfortable space to be, right at the start trying to figure it all out.

It can sometimes feel like you are in the dark, trying to figure things out either on your own or as part of the collective. The route is not always clear, and the steps taken can feel awkward and at times a little risky. This is especially true if you have a tight deadline and you don’t want to put too many feet wrong! However, for me it can be the most rewarding place to be.

At this point in our Unlocking the Sasine discovery we are in the middle of what we call our proof of concept. This is the phase where we:

  • test out our theory
  • consider and map the stages we need to go through
  • try to identify all of the opportunities or the pit falls to avoid
  • see how we can create a process that will achieve our goal
  • consider the cost/benefit analysis.


We are also doing a lot of learning. Each conversation we have within the team, across the organisation, and with our early adopter stakeholders, we are learning. And, with each learning opportunity the ‘fuzzy’ bit becomes a bit clearer and we can take sometimes small, sometimes big, steps forward, or sometimes backwards (!) all in the knowledge that whatever direction we are going we are making  progress and understanding our challenge a little bit more, each and every time.

Our goal

Our big goal for this stage is to have completed our proof of concept by the end of March 2021.

We will then be able to create a business case to demonstrate that our idea, outlined in Jennifer’s blog ‘Who owns Scotland?’ is firstly viable, but also what it will take to really take this project to the next level.

We need to know what types of skills we need in our team, how many people, what technology will support us, and how fast we can and think we should go.

Solid foundations

Although I’m describing mostly here the fuzzy edges it is prudent for me also to talk about the essential elements we need in order to work comfortably and safely in this space. The solid foundations that underpin what we are doing have been achieved through the hard work of some of our colleagues in risk and information governance, policy and legal.

We reached a key milestone at the end of 2020, with the creation of three key artefacts

  1. A data protection impact assessment
  2. A data sharing agreement
  3. A comprehensive risk review.

This has allowed us to take our proof of concept forward whilst all the while knowing that we are on solid ground.

Next time

Alan Howie, our Chief Data Officer will be back to answer the final cliff hanger questions in Unlocking the Sasine: part 2 and Fi will be back to talk about how we define and measure success going forward.

3 thoughts on “Unlocking the Sasine – the discovery phase

  1. Hello all, hope you are working safely.
    Is it still part of your goal to unlock sasines to provide clearer information of boundaries and include on the land register the sasine plan from the foregoing disposition that was attached to the title deed ( if there is one) this would provide clear information of where the boundary lies between properties. Ordnance survey maps in some areas of Scotland have far too many properties on the map and it is impossible to accurately define where the boundary lies. There is also no measurements provided as the map scale does not allow it. The only way I can describe it is it’s like someone taking a picture of your property sitting on the moon, no clarity & no detail. I myself and I know of others who are in the same situation trying to clarify where the boundary is after the property has been sold. It causes friction and bad feeling between neighbours when it should be the opposite. Not to mention the solicitors fees of trying to correct the change. There should be no change to the boundary when a property changes hands. Especially when there is a scaled plan with measurements already in place.
    I hope you can understand the predicament that a lot of home owners are in because of the introduction of the land register.
    This should be corrected as is costing us all dearly indeed.
    Mr A Guild.

    1. Thank you for your question Mr Guild.

      It’s not the goal of this piece of work to provide, as you have described above, ‘clearer information of boundaries or to include on the land register the sasine plan’.

      Our Unlocking the Sasine project is establishing if we can link Sasine search sheets to provided indicative ownership extents. The idea is that if we are provided spatial data from sources such as stakeholders who hold these data sets we can use our skills in searching the Sasine register to surface the related search sheets. This will help us to better understand ‘who owns Scotland’ – one of the identified benefits of a completed land register.

      We also have a hypothesis that we will be able to realise this benefit a lot faster than the current timelines for completing the Land Register. However, we are still in proof of concept stage, as highlighted in my blog, and therefore all aspects of what we see are the process are in testing stage. This also includes if, and how, we will be able to expose the data once we have validated the spatial extent with the Sasine search sheet.

      We are not looking at anything related to the land register – this project is focussed fully on the General Register of Sasines and unlocking the information that is held within there, to create benefit in advance of completing the land register.

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