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ARTL: Turquoise is in the pink

14 April 08

Update from Registers of Scotland on the final testing of the automated transfer of title system, and a consultation on information fees and services

by Bruce Beveridge, James Ness

ARTL

As the ink dries on this article, there is a sense of excitement. Over the Easter weekend the initial release of ARTL (capable of processing the registration of securities and discharges) was taken down from service. Our IT partners then installed ARTL “Turquoise” (the Registers of Scotland term for the enhanced functionality that underpins the registration of title transfers and the processing of SDLT returns), and the enhanced system is currently undergoing final testing in the live environment.

While those of us who have been involved with the project for some time have remained fully confident about its prospects throughout, it is nevertheless very rewarding now to be able to report this important evolution of the ARTL system.

We expect that the enhanced functionality of the ARTL system will commence in commercial use just as this issue of the Journal lands on readers’ desks. Those managing the rollout of ARTL in Registers of Scotland have been in touch with firms who have applied to be signed on to the system and will be implementing

their plans for this soon. Initially, the system will be used by those who have already been using it to process the registration of securities and discharges since last autumn; at the time of writing over 4,000 such applications have been registered.

Professor Stewart Brymer, who has led the Law Society’s ARTL Implementation Group since its inception, said on hearing the news: “This is a major milestone in the development of ARTL. It represents a significant step towards full e-conveyancing. Staff past and present, in the ARTL Project Team at Registers of Scotland and their partners, BT, are to be congratulated. I am confident that, in ARTL, Scotland has world-leading technology in e-registration of which we should be proud.”

For those who have been waiting patiently for the ARTL system in its fully fledged form to be released, your wait is nearly over and we are extremely grateful for your forbearances. Though this is a joint article, I personally should like on behalf of Registers of Scotland to thank again the Law Society of Scotland for their continued and resolute support of this system from its inception right through to delivery; the importance of that cannot be overstressed.

The ARTL system is now under the supervision of Andy Smith, Director of Registration. The rollout team is headed by Pete Carruthers, Head of Customer Services.

Bruce Beveridge, James Ness

Further questions on ARTL should be directed to the e-services support team at Registers of Scotland (email: eservices@ros.gov.uk). Professional practice-related questions should be directed to James Ness at the Law Society of Scotland (email: jamesness@lawscot.org.uk). Absence of Deputy Keeper – interim arrangements By the time this issue lands on your desk, I will be recovering (hopefully) from some elective surgery. I am likely to be away from the office for three months. During this time John King, one of the Legal Directors, will be acting as Head of Legal Services and should be the point of contact in my place (email: john.king@ros.gov.uk).

While such an absence is never ideal, I am pleased to be able to report before then the progress we are making with ARTL. I look forward to returning, appropriately restored, later in the summer.

Bruce Beveridge


CONSULTATION ON INFORMATION FEES AND SERVICES

In November 2007, Registers of Scotland set up an Information Fee Working Group to consider the strategic principles and policies for setting fees. The Working Group includes representatives from the Law Society of Scotland and other key stakeholders.

A consultation paper seeking views on options to review the fee structure for information services and how services are provided has now been issued. The paper, available on the Registers of Scotland website at www.ros.gov.uk/consultations, invites views on the following topics:

  •     guiding principles of how Registers of Scotland provides its information services from the registers (including Land Register of Scotland and the General Register of Sasines);
  •     options for the delivery of information;
  •     whether there should be a charging system and how it should operate;
  •     likely demand for citizens’ portal access to information services.

The consultation runs until 23 June 2008. All responses will be welcomed and considered to inform the future policy on fees.

For further information, please contact: grant.hall@ros.gov.uk .


KEY STEPS TO SIGNING UP

Some key points to bear in mind for ARTL sign-up in your firm:

  • Before your appointment, the rollout team will tell you what human resources and IT specification and configuration will be required;
  • Ensure all the necessary resources are available throughout the day;
  • Ensure you have the correct IT system specification and configuration;
  • If sign-up cannot be concluded successfully because of the non-availability of human or IT resources within the firm, or a sign-up appointment is cancelled, an early repeat visit may not be possible (the rollout team will be heavily committed).