Registers of Scotland page: developments in digital registration services; Development Plan Approval service; Land Register completion

Over recent months, we have provided a number of updates on improvements made to our online and digital services following feedback from customers. As our business transformation programme continues we will build on this good work and continually enhance our services.

This continual and incremental approach, involving customers at every step, is at the heart of how we design and improve our services. What can sometimes be lost, however, is the “big picture” we are building. It is, in a sense, a bit like a jigsaw where we need to check the picture on the box to make sure we are still fitting the pieces together correctly. It is crucial that in putting this jigsaw together we have a shared understanding with our customers about what the final picture should look like.

Next generation registration

We are building towards being able to provide end-to-end registration services which are fast, efficient and joined up. What that means for the customer, for example, is that when you submit an application for a disposition we can pull forward the information held for the related advance notice, removing the need for users to provide that information again. That is a small example of our general principle that customers should give us information once – and only once.

We are also working on the next generation of services to facilitate registration of electronic deeds. Our new digital discharge service will be the first to go into live test later this year, but others will follow quickly. These services will go much further than replicating the paper process digitally. Rather they are designed with significant customer involvement, to provide the most efficient system for solicitors and lenders.

For digital discharges that will mean the ability for solicitors to instigate a discharge request, lenders to execute the deed, and submission to RoS all to take place in a single day. We realise that one of the most frustrating aspects, ever since land registration commenced in 1981, is where applications for registration are rejected. One of the potentially transformational aspects of these new digital registration services is that we can, working with customers, design out the mistakes which currently lead to rejections.

Boosting DPA use

In addition to solicitors and lenders, other big customers are housebuilders. Our Development Plan Approval (DPA) service gives housebuilders certainty that no title extent issues will arise as individual plots are sold off, but it is also designed to be as flexible as possible where developers decide to alter layouts.

The service is free and is already used by a number of builders and solicitors. You can view some case studies on our website: We are also about to launch a new marketing campaign, aimed at increasing the number of developers taking up the service.

It is likely that some of the new services and improvements we would like to introduce will require amendments to secondary legislation (like the current Land Register Rules). Where that is the case, and subject to Scottish ministers’ agreement, we will consult formally on any proposed changes.

We have organised three events to discuss our DPA service and to allow you to have your say. These are in Edinburgh (8 November), Glasgow (9 November) and Aberdeen (10 November). If you are interested in attending, you can obtain further information by emailing our events team at

National Records' registration milestone

National Records of Scotland has become the first public body to move its entire estate onto the Land Register. The organisation added its property, which includes the iconic General Register House in Edinburgh, using voluntary registration.

Sheenagh Adams, Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, said: “We’re working closely with public bodies, many of which have large and complex landholdings, to help them get their land onto the register and meet the objective of registering all public bodies by the end of 2019 as set out by Scottish ministers. Registration of all of National Records of Scotland’s property is a milestone towards that goal.”

Newhailes estate, owned by the National Trust for Scotland, has also been added to the Land Register. All of the prisons owned by Scottish Prison Service are going through the registration process, and the Forestry Commission is progressing its estate.  

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