Land Registry Launches Consultation over plans to close Telephone services

The Land Registry on 4 May launched a consultation over proposals to change Land Charges legislation.  This will enable them to provide a wider range of online services, and would lead to the closure of the telephone ordering service for business customers.  
As there has been significant take-up of businesses using the Land Registry online services, demand for the telephone ordering service has dropped by 95%.  The service is continuing to see falls in usage, and will soon be operating at a financial loss.  
The proportion of applications ordered by telephone is now 2%.  87% of applications are ordered online and 11% are ordered by post.  
The proposed changes will mean that the Land Charges rules are aligned with the Land Registration Rules 2003.  This will allow for the submission of applications and issuing of results by means other than post or personal delivery.  
The changes should lead to more flexibility in how Land Charge services are provided.  It should also lead to a more efficient service as products and services are delivered through more cost-effective channels.
Malcolm Dawson, Chief Land Registrar commented:
“The changes set out in the consultation would enable us to make better use of available technology to provide a ‘self-service’ channel for our customers.  The changes will enable us to improve and modernise our processes, and become more flexible, efficient and responsive to customers’ needs.  It’s clear that the vast majority of our customers want to access these services electronically and, as a result, the telephone service is no longer sustainable.  We need to amend the Land Charges legislation to ensure we can continue to provide relevant and cost effective services to our customers.
“Consultation is required when we consider changes to legislation, and we now welcome your participation, and your views.”
The consultation paper can be found here, and can be read online until 27 July 2012.  
A post-consultation report will be published on the Land Registry website after a ministerial review.  If the proposals are accepted, the changes are expected to be implemented by the end of this year.
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