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Keeper's Corner

1 July 04

Update from the Registers on quality standards; policy post-feudal abolition; Ordnance maps; Register of Community Interests in Land

Quality drive goes on

Last October, in order to address concerns on the quality of land certificates, the Keeper launched an initiative aimed at getting it right first time. The approach taken aims to build in quality rather than inspect out errors. The initiative consists of three key strands.

The first strand, aimed at making changes with immediate impact, has already produced promising results. Efforts have been concentrated on the most common errors, which have been reduced significantly. However, we recognise the need for constant vigilance and have re-emphasised the aims and importance of the programme to our staff.

Secondly, we have identified that certain errors could be minimised through more focused training and have built this into our staff training and development plans. Improvements have also been made to desk instructions and supporting manuals.

Finally, we encourage solicitors to engage with us in the delivery of our objectives. As our suppliers, as well as customers, solicitors play a vital role in helping us achieve our goal of the utmost registration accuracy. We have written to a number of firms inviting them to meet with managers in Registers of Scotland about land registration issues and we will be extending this invitation to more solicitors in the coming months.

Also, beginning in the autumn, we will be holding seminars around the country covering the latest developments in land registration. These seminars, which will be jointly hosted with representatives from the Society’s Conveyancing Committee, will cover issues such as the impact of feudal abolition, ARTL and registration accuracy.

Contact: monica.mckinlay@ros.gov.uk

Post-abolition policy taking shape

Registers of Scotland established a project towards the end of last year to prepare for the appointed day for abolition of feudal tenure and to develop an approach to address the need to update existing title sheets during the 10 year transitional period in terms of Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003.

Agency staff with a range of skills are working together to ensure that we are equipped to deal with the substantial changes to land law that this legislation provides. In particular, work has taken place to enable us to understand the implications of the additional statutory obligations placed on the Keeper and those matters which must be dealt with for the appointed day. Moreover, work to develop policy and procedures in respect of these obligations is currently underway. As registration policy is finalised it will be communicated to solicitors through Registers Updates, the Journal and the Agency’s website.

The Keeper intends to provide more detailed information regarding policy and procedures from the late summer and through the autumn leading up to the appointed day.

Contact: karen.thomas@ros.gov.uk

Ordnance Map update

Ordnance Survey is currently undertaking a national Positional Accuracy Improvement (PAI) programme to enhance the precision of the mapbase in rural areas. The programme will employ the latest surveying techniques aimed at improving the quality and accuracy of the information held on the Ordnance Map. It is being run in two phases, the first of which is the supply of updated map detail for 36 rural towns. This phase is expected to be completed by October, with the second, covering the remaining adjacent rural areas, scheduled for completion by March 2006.

Although the main objective is to improve the positional accuracy of information in relation to the national framework of maps, the programme also affords an opportunity to update local map detail. Consequently, we will be comparing our current map detail against the new information provided by Ordnance Survey and undertake any work necessary to improve the accuracy of our existing mapbase. Following completion of this exercise, future title plans for rural areas covered by the PAI programme will be based on more accurate mapbase information.

Further information on PAI, including the rural areas covered by the programme, can be obtained from www.ros.gov.uk/pai

Contact: brian.harrison@ros.gov.uk

RCIL Act brings new register

Part 2 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 came into force on 14 June 2004. A new register, the Register of Community Interests in Land, to be administered by the Keeper, also came into being at that time. The Act provides for rural communities to register an interest in land with which they have a connection, with a right to buy the land arising when it next comes up for sale.

The Register is free to view and search on the Internet, via the dedicated website

www.ros.gov.uk/rcil and can also be accessed free via a link on Registers Direct or at the Agency’s Customer Service Centres.

A Registers Update has been issued in connection with the launch of the new Register and its implications in particular for applications in the Land Register. This has been reproduced as a separate article on page 58 of this issue and is also published on the Agency website at www.ros.gov.uk/pdfs/update13.pdf .

Contact: sarah.duncan@ros.gov.uk