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Recognising the vital work of conveyancers

Reflecting on last week’s second National Conveyancing Week (NCW), we want to take this valuable opportunity to catch up with and pay tribute to conveyancers.

Considerable challenges persist within the property sector. We recognise the increased demands and pressures on the valuable service you provide and we fully support the critical role you continue to play in every property transaction.

The conveyancing profession underpins the property market and we are exploring new ways to assist you in the vital work you do. While reducing the backlog remains our number one priority, we are introducing new services and support to make life a little easier for our customers. 

Although there is still much to do, we’ve made numerous strides in the past year. Here is a flavour of our current and recent activities.

Recruitment and internal training reflect the sector’s needs

Acknowledging our need for more caseworkers to tackle our on-going challenges, we’re continuing to build up our team of experts.

  • In the biggest recruitment exercise in the history of HM Land Registry, over 1,800 new caseworkers are on board and being trained up as quickly as possible
  • The Land Registration Academy is delivering specialised training, with nearly 2,000 of our caseworkers upskilled since its launch in 2021. 
  • We are prioritising training in complex application types, to bring down delays in processing our oldest, most challenging cases. We are seeing a reduction in the number of cases waiting to be processed, and all work types getting younger.
  • We know some of the requisitions we send feel unnecessary to you, so we have started an initiative to help 1,200+ caseworkers make risk-based decisions that reduce such requisitions.
  • To help conveyancers reduce the amount of time they spend responding to lenders’ demands for regular application updates, we are now giving ten of the top mortgage lenders direct access to data on the progress of their applications.
  • While in its early stage, we are getting really good feedback from the pilot, with lenders telling us it’s a “gamechanger”. 

Digital by Default and portal enhancements well received 

  • In just over a year since we went Digital by Default, more than two million applications have been submitted through our Digital Registration Service (DRS) on the portal, with many more coming from customers using software connected to our Business Gateway APIs.
  • Recognising the way conveyancers share applications across small teams, we have added features to DRS to allow people to access and submit colleagues’ applications. We have also introduced the ability to edit those applications, including applicant details, values and fees, and title numbers.
  • You can find out more about the Digital Registration Service.

Customer training and guidance – working with the sector to improve expertise 

Thanks to constructive feedback, and our own experience, new training and initiatives to help the sector stay on top of its game include:

While our overriding focus remains firmly on the challenges facing us all today, we know we need to prepare for the future.

Our Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Customer and Strategy, Mike Harlow, linked up with Bold Legal Group’s Chief Executive, Rob Hailstone, during National Conveyancing Week to discuss topics affecting day-to-day conveyancing, as well as HM Land Registry’s current direction of travel. 

Stressing that speed of service remains our primary focus, Mike confirmed that HM Land Registry’s significant investment in its core capacity and capability is bearing fruit, with output at a record high and the age of all case types decreasing. 

It is vital that the sector work together, however, and so we are pleased to be part of the Digital Property Market Steering Group (DPMSG). The group is currently seeking views from everyone involved in buying and selling property on how it can improve the uptake of digital processes and action upfront information. The survey is live until midnight 1 April 2024.

We hope you will take the chance to have your say. 

A final word from Mike:

As somebody who used to [be a conveyancer] myself I do know how tough it is at times, I know the pressures, you can’t always manage your work, the expectations on what you should do as the professional who’s making it all happen. It’s a pretty tough job and a pretty tough career, but it’s immensely important.”

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