Tackling the arrear

Although the vast majority of Registers of Scotland’s work is completed within our service standards, we have publicly recognised that this is not the case for all our work. We therefore have an arrear of cases which have fallen outside service standard. We think this is unacceptable.

Prior to the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic we were making strong progress towards completing our more complex work and returning to a position where all cases were completed within the service standard. The impact of lockdown has unfortunately slowed our progress on that front.

We continue to take steps to re-establish the momentum we have lost over the last 15 months so that we can clear the arrear completely and ensure that it does not return.

Our aim is to ring fence the current backlog and then begin to drive it down, placing a stronger emphasis on dealing with new cases more quickly to stem the flow of cases being added to the arrear.

To accomplish this, our objective is to maintain an average of 60% or above for new applications despatched within 35 days until the end September 2021.

In terms of driving down the backlog to date, we have achieved our target to eradicate the First Registration cases from 2017 in the arrear by March 2021.

We will soon be reporting on our next target to reduce all pre 2021 arrear cases by between 1000 and 1800 by June 2021, alongside the progress on all our other Key Performance Indicators,

To help us in this important work, we encourage everyone to continue to embrace the digital service roll out. The increasing digitalisation of our services will support us to achieve our targets as this will free up colleagues who will be able to focus on more complex cases.

In the meantime, we will continue to ensure that customers can get applications completed when they need them by targeting tranches of our oldest cases and through our expedite service. We will also retain our no rejections beyond three months policy.

Visit our website to read the Corporate Plan, including information on tackling the arrear, in more detail.

If there is any other information you would find useful for us to publish about our service standards, stock levels and arrear please let us know via our Communications and Marketing mailbox.

Jennifer Henderson, Keeper of the Registers of Scotland

8 thoughts on “Tackling the arrear

  1. It seems to me that “placing a stronger emphasis on dealing with new cases more quickly to stem the flow of cases being added to the arrear” is not the approach those most affected by the arrear would welcome. The vast majority of applicants at first registration will not be concerned whether it takes 35 days or 6 months to process their registration. Those who are concerned, and on whom resource should be focused, are those who have waited a year (or in some cases, several). It will be of little comfort to them to know that their case is part of a ring-fenced backlog, particularly when requests to expedite are refused unless it can be shown that the transaction is at risk. This creates additional unnecessary examination of (usually more complex) title work for solicitors on both sides.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We will respond to your questions in a new blog very soon.

  2. I regret to say that this blog concerns me on a number of levels.

    Although you state that you achieved your target of clearing all 2017 cases by the end of March 2021, I received a notification of acceptance from my first registration case from May 2017 on 27th May 2021 (application 17INV03973). It would appear therefore that the target was not in fact met.

    Whilst the effects of the pandemic cannot be underestimated, it is disappointing to see that the level of ambition of Registers of Scotland (RoS) in clearing the arrear appears to be limited to reducing all pre 2021 arrear cases by between 1000 and 1800 by June 2021. Given that this was announced in March, this would appear to be a quarterly target. At that rate, even at the highest level, the whole current arrear of 82,903 cases would not be cleared until 2032. Surely, such a situation is not merely unacceptable but downright intolerable?

    You say that you will continue to ensure that customers can get applications completed when they need them through your expedite service and will also retain your no rejections beyond three months policy. Whilst these measures are obviously welcome, they are not a solution to the arrear problem. The expedite service requires that the applicant show hardship, something which is very difficult to do unless the application is rejected. Rejection after four years would undoubtedly cause hardship but, by that time, too late. You also omit to say that the “three months no rejection” policy will not apply where you are legally obliged to reject. When I last asked you how many cases which fell within the policy had in fact been rejected, the answer was that these numbered in hundreds. Can you say please how many cases have in fact been rejected since this policy was implemented?

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I wonder whether any consideration has been given to the fact that, by concentrating effort on current cases, you are in effect introducing a two tier system whereby current cases are treated more favourably than those cases in the pre 2021 arrear? Whilst I am sure no applicant would object to urgent/hardship cases being expedited, I am sure that all those applicants who paid the registration dues in 2018/19 will not be happy to see that 2021 cases are now being treated more favourably. It is hard to see how ring fencing the pre 2021 arrear in any way improves the real situation, and indeed the fact that the arrear increased between March and May 2021, by over 6000 cases would seem to indicate that the situation is in fact deteriorating.

    I shall be most interested to hear your response to my comments.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We will respond to your questions in a new blog very soon.

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