https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2018/12/10/giving-you-quick-accurate-consistent-support/

Giving you quick, accurate, consistent support

side head view of three people from customer support team

We hear you when you say you want quick, accurate and consistent support from us, so we are modernising and reshaping HM Land Registry to ensure we can provide the level of service you expect and deserve.

I covered a high-level view of our activity to achieve this in my previous blog. Today, I want to share more details about how we will improve our call handling. I will also cover some of the ways we are helping to simplify certain aspects of conveyancing.

Improving our call handling

You’ve been telling us you need quick, consistent support and that you need us to complete registrations quickly and accurately. Part of our work towards this over the last year has involved setting up our Customer Support Centre (CSC) which handles most of your contact with us.

Our people within the CSC ensure you get a more consistent answer from us. They are fully casework-trained and have access to the same systems and information as our caseworkers. In most cases, they will be able to deal with the queries you have. If they can’t, they will arrange for you to speak to the right person.

You asked us to process registration applications quicker and our CSC helps here too. Our people who handle your calls allow our caseworkers to focus on applying their skills, expertise and judgement on processing the applications you send us, without being distracted by direct calls.

However, we know that our call handling times are often longer than they should be, so we are investing in our people and technology to address this. Our investment in our people includes recruiting, so we will have more people to support you. We are also providing ongoing training and aim to become accredited with the Institute of Customer Service, giving us access to their research and further training.

Accreditation can only be achieved if our customers are satisfied with our service, meaning we will need continued investment. Our technology investment includes working with partners to introduce new call handling software and equipment at our CSC, while upgrading what we currently use. This is enhancing our call routing, monitoring and service planning, allowing us to better meet your needs during peak business hours.

All this means we will be able to:

  • answer your calls quicker;
  • handle them more consistently;
  • increase the opportunity to deal with your query straight away; and
  • reduce rework and unnecessary calls.

You can expect improvements over the coming months and we plan to have everything in place for you by the end of autumn 2019.

There are things that you can do to help, such as using our online channels to exchange information with us. When you do this, you'll help to reduce the number of calls we receive, so you'll be able to speak with us quicker when you really need to. You can:

  • get new information about your application to the caseworker who's processing it through the portal's Reply to Requisition function;
  • use our online Application Enquiry service to check the progress of your application instead of calling us; and
  • join one of our lodging quality applications through the portal webinars to find out how you can get the most from this service, or register for one of our other webinars (through analysis and customer feedback we've created four webinar topics that answer your frequently asked questions).

Having a central CSC also provides us with the data we need to plan for the changes we expect in the future. This data will help us work with our technology partners to continuously improve our support to suit your needs and give you a fully joined-up, prompt, and professional experience when handling your enquiries.

Working together to drive out inefficiencies

Alongside this work, we want to find solutions to the challenges we both face. This will help to make conveyancing simpler for all of us by driving inefficiencies out of conveyancing and registration processes.

One of the ways we can do this is to work with you to reduce the number of application enquiries (requisitions) we send you.

The top two reasons we send application enquiries are for issues relating to discharging charges (such as a mortgage) and for issues relating to restrictions in the register. We recognise that in some cases, it can be hard for you to get the evidence we need for these applications, because you need to get it from a third party. Would the process be more efficient if we gave you more time to get this evidence? We are about to start trials to find out – in response to your feedback. We’ll tell you more about this soon.

We are also continuing to improve the consistency of the application enquiries we send you. During the summer, our caseworkers attended sessions about when and how to raise application enquiries, and we are continuing to work with all teams to improve our consistency.

Finally, we will shortly share more details about our Application Enquiries dataset that we plan to start publishing next month. This will help to improve application enquiry volumes and supports our ambition to be a world leader for our open approach to data. It also supports the Government’s transparency agenda; the Industrial Strategy; and it aligns with the Competitions and Market Authority’s recommendations for greater transparency in the legal sector.

Find out more about our wider transformation in our Business Strategy, and don’t forget to familiarise yourself with our customer charter. This sets out what you can expect from us, and what we need from you.  I will continue to share details of our progress as we work together to make conveyancing simpler, faster and cheaper for everyone. Enjoy Christmas and watch out for my next blog in the new year.

16 comments

  1. Comment by devonlady posted on

    Let me give you an instance where I feel you let yourselves down. I sent an application for registration last Friday. It has been registered and returned this morning BUT with correspondence saying inadequate information as to whether BJT or TIC. However, on reviewing the information sent. The Transfer signed by the Seller did NOT have Section 10 completed BUT the Transfer signed by the Buyers DID have Section 10 completed and clearly said Joint Tenants. Surely if the application had been looked at fully and appropriately, the fact that the Buyers had indeed completed their part of t he Transfer and said what they wanted should have been noted and dealt with. Instead of raising correspondence and then requiring me to check to the documents and email you to deal with it. Simples!

    Reply
    • Replies to devonlady>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Devonlady - I am sorry that you feel that we let ourselves down and I would encourage you to raise the point when resubmitting the application. Alternatively if you can give me the title number I can investigate further?
      My understanding is that whilst the two parts of the same Transfer will have a different execution they <strong>must be identical</strong> in all other respects and this would be something we would ask you to amend as the applicant. Whether that means rejecting it at source as we did or raising it as a requisition but retaining the applications priority is something I can also check and confirm

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Simon posted on

        Hi Adam..I have an interesting question. I sold my property three years ago, it included a deed of gift piece of land adjoining my own garden from my parents. It had a Land Registry number, and was included in the house sale. Three years later I have been informed that this section of land was not included in the sale, thus my name is on Register. I am now being held accountable by the local Council for pest and vermin and Anti Social behaviour for this land.. If a Solicitor had done a proper search..would this have been highlighted as my name was on all papers..these deeds were sent to Solicitors...and there would have been two land registry numbers. And House of course..

        Reply
        • Replies to Simon>

          Comment by AdamH posted on

          Simon - if you are looking to blame someone then you would need to work back through the conveyancing process to ascertain whether the contract to sell/purchase included the relevant details but were then left off the actual transfer itself. If it wasn't included in the transfer deed then the title remains in your name so you are the legal owner. If that was an error then whilst identifying how and when it happened will help in one respect if it is to now be changed then you still need a legal transfer deed

          Reply
          • Replies to AdamH>

            Comment by Simon posted on

            Hi Adam

            Thanks for info, the land was included in sale, as Buyer. Estate Agent all walked on this land at time of sale.. but looks like the Solicitors who had the deeds, did not read all the relevant paperwork and missed this document. The land in question is inaccessible from any direction, so I would not have wanted it, plus I now live 200 miles away...

          • Replies to Simon>

            Comment by AdamH posted on

            Simon - understood but ownership changes hands by way of a legal deed so IF the one executed and registered did not include it then that is what is now needed. The land's position and your having moved away would not change that legal requirement.

  2. Comment by devonlady posted on

    AdamH - please re-read my comment - It was neither rejected nor requisitioned - registration was completed with an unnecessary Restriction on the Register which we now have to deal with. Whilst I appreciate both parts of the Transfer should be identical, the actual information from the Buyer/Transferee was absolute and unarguable. Commonsense seems to be extremely lacking here!

    Reply
    • Replies to devonlady>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Devonlady - apologies for misreading your comment. Can you give me the title number please so I can feedback to the caseworker concerned.

      Reply
  3. Comment by Dr P Lall posted on

    We have purchased 3 land registry enquiries and all the information eg the present owners are not upto date. As we have tried to contact all and all letters sent recorded by Royal Mail have been returned as owners have left the location and no longer present. Kind Regards

    Reply
    • Replies to Dr P Lall>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Dr Lall - the registered owners are responsible for keeping us up to date re their contact addresses in case we need to contact them for registration purposes. There is no obligation for them to do so for wider reasons. So the legal ownership is correct but if you wish to try and trace them you will have to try alternatives e.g. tracing agencies, local enquiries etc

      Reply
  4. Comment by John Harvey posted on

    When will LR make the online Application Service available to buyers as well as business customers so that they can check progress?

    Reply
    • Replies to John Harvey>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      John - it is something we would like to provide but at the present time we are reviewing our online services. So there are no immediate plans for widening that part of the service I'm afraid

      Reply
  5. Comment by Alsodevon posted on

    I agree with Devonlady. If you want to improve efficiency, then I don't see how having other people answer the phone helps. You have to have the caseworkers read what they are sent and what they are sending. Sometimes you just want to call that exact caseworker, not a call centre with no access to them, and say: Did you actually read this??

    Reply
    • Replies to Alsodevon>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Alsodevon - I do understand your frustrations of not being able to speak directly to the person who issued a correspondence with their direct dial number listed.
      One of the key areas of concern for many of our customers currently is the delay in processing some types of applications. The general feedback from customers is that they want us to maximise our resource on processing applications. We established that a considerable time of a caseworker was spent on dealing with telephone calls and recording the conversation details in most cases. Directing calls to a central team helps by freeing up some capacity for caseworkers to concentrate on processing registration applications. It therefore assists us in improving our speed of service in the current climate of very high intakes of work.

      We also believe that we are improving the customer service by directing telephone calls and emails to a central point of contact as we can negate any risk of a direct contact to a caseworker being missed due to the member of staff not being available. Having said that, you can still ask to speak to the caseworker if you feel that speaking to the person may be more helpful in relation to your application. Where possible we will try to transfer the phone call, and if that is not possible, we will arrange for the caseworker to call you back.

      Reply
  6. Comment by Megan Jenkins posted on

    Although I understand the efficiency gain for HMLR in cutting off contact with caseworkers handling applications, AlsoDevon's point above is a good one. We often need to speak to the person dealing with the application. When this happens we call the Customer Contact Centre and leave a message for them. Unfortunately, many of our calls are not returned by the caseworkers working on applications and so we remain unable to resolve issues with the right person. This undermines customers' trust in the new communications process and in the CCC teams.

    We have also seen lots of examples like Devonlady where caseworkers do not seem to have read all the documents we submit. One example recently was a correct transfer in original and counterpart where the caseworker requisitioned us saying the transfer had not been executed by all the parties. Please read the whole application before wasting everyone's time. Customers would be a lot more satisfied if we saw better service and greater attention to our applications in return for the change in communication methods.

    Reply
    • Replies to Megan Jenkins>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      I am sorry to hear of the poor service you received in many cases when a call back is required. Once of the main benefits of the centralised arrangements is to reduce the need to refer calls to caseworkers who may not be available. Whatever the arrangements, on the occasions where a message is left with a caseworker, we need to focus on calling back promptly. I can assure you that we are working to improve our service in this regard and feedback like yours is extremely helpful

      In the meantime, you can assist by using the 'Reply to Requisition' facility in portal if you need to contact us about a pending application. If you do that, your communication will be sent direct in our system to the application in question and it is the first thing that the caseworker will see when they open it. That way, the person dealing with your application will see and deal with your communication.

      I do apologise for the instances when incorrect requisitions have been raised and where we have not shown sufficient attention to detail. Our centralised arrangements for handling customer contacts should be of benefit here as they allow caseworkers to concentrate fully on processing registration applications.

      That said, we needs to play our part in improving our quality and consistency in how we handle applications and our systems generally. We have an application quality strategy in place that encompasses a number of actions, both for us and our customers. Our colleague Andrew Robertson wrote about this in the Law Society Gazette in December 2017 - http://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/property/magazine/december-2017/quality-time/5063651.article . A more recent blog on our customer charter - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hm-land-registry-customer-charter also sets out what customers can expect from us and what we expect from them.

      Reply

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