Warwick District Council’s local land charges were the first to go live on HM Land Registry’s national, digital Local Land Charges Register a year ago.
At that time, the council viewed this as a significant accomplishment and a year later we remain proud we were the first.
Right from the start, HM Land Registry and Warwick forged a strong working relationship, with both parties being committed to the project and ready to support each other. HM Land Registry had set up a dedicated liaison team and we initiated a multi-disciplinary team at Warwick, so we could approach this challenge together.
To say it was easy would be misleading. Since go-live there have been a couple of issues with search results, but as with any new service, you’re never quite sure what to expect. What’s important is that Warwick and HM Land Registry’s supportive relationship meant we fixed issues quickly and kept our customers informed throughout.
Warwick is a very forward-looking council and tackling something which promised to be truly transformative was a bit of a no-brainer. It was my role keep the team focused on the goal, particularly when there were obstacles to get past or hiccoughs to resolve and, as expected, they exceeded all expectations.
Challenges and benefits
Great team working was the key to getting the data migration process right. Any team should be prepared for challenges, but as long as everyone is open and able to keep talking – face to face, telephone, Skype – then anything is possible.
Some of Warwick’s challenges on the journey to go-live included resourcing the task in hand on an ongoing basis, particularly given the volume of work involved and the uncertainty around the extent to which the data would need to be cleansed. But all were addressed through effective joint working.
Now that Warwick is an “old timer” on the Local Land Charges Register, the benefits of our local land charges being instantly available are clear to all the register’s users. Conveyancers have the data they need at their fingertips, while here at the district council we have increased our capacity to undertake other activities, making better use of our expert staff.
We started our journey feeling anxious, unsure of what might be involved and unclear about time scales. A year on from the launch, I can say I’m pleased we went first. My team and I have been supporting other local authorities yet to migrate about what to expect. One day, the whole property sector will wonder how we did it any other way!