HM Land Registry Annual Report Release

Over the last 12 months Land Registry has paid out £5.3m in compensation for inaccuracies in its register and compensation for fraud.

Representing only 0.00008% of the title value of property in its register, the organisation states it is only a miniscule amount lost of taxpayer funds. The organisation has also stated that it has introduced a new fraud management system to enhance its resilience to fraud whilst continuing to provide protection to the victims of fraud as well as those of errors in the register.

Within the last 12 months the amount of property fraud has been on the increase, especially during lockdown, where criminals are using techniques to defraud estate agents, solicitors and Land Registry. The amount of property fraud, where a criminal attempted to sell a property that did not belong to them, has doubled within the last decade, with the value of fraud increasing 400% from £7m to £25m between 2013 and 2017.

Other areas covered in the report included the ability to fulfil the mission to modernise the organisation whilst maintaining service during the pandemic. Simon Hayes, Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar stated:

“HM Land Registry and tis staff have needed to display flexibility, resilience and creativity to continue to deliver our vital function in support of the property market, and the wider economy.”

At the beginning of lockdown the organisation focused on keeping the most vital services up and running “those essential to the continued functioning of the property market” and managed to move just under 6,000 workers to moving remotely, a huge feat for any organisation.

The organisation aims for excellent service for its customers and is achieving good results, with 90% of customers giving a satisfaction rating of good, very good or excellent.

Customer support teams are trained by a dedicated training team and handled close to one million calls and processed almost 200,000 emails in 2019/2020.

There has also been a focus to digitisation, with the organisation receiving verified digital data from customers and nearly 10,000 remortgages having been registered in the ‘Sign Your Mortgage Deed’ digital service. Nearly 95% of services are now delivered through the online business portals and more than 83.6% of customer requests are fully automated.

Andrew Trigg, Acting Director of Digital, Data and Technology stated:

“Our digital transformation focuses on receiving verified digital data from our customers, which can enable their request to be processed in a way that eliminates manual administrative tasks.”

The CLC has issued the following statement in response to the publication of the report:

“The Land Registry’s Annual Report shows an organisation that has a strong customer and solution focus. It has been most welcome to see how they have engaged with stakeholders and sought to rapidly adapt their process during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their work in areas such as biometric verification and e-signatures has the potential to kick-start the digitisation of the parts of the conveyancing process we foresaw in our Conveyancing 2030 discussion paper at the beginning of this year.

“While they moved well to remote working for a significant number of staff, we are aware that delays are developing and trust they will be overcome quickly now as they are clearly causing difficulties in the conveyancing process.

“Where there were problems earlier in the year HM Land Registry positively engaged with the CLC and the community we regulate to hear and respond to criticism, and other public sector organisations could learn from their approach.”

To view the full report please visit the website.


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