A year of pushing forward with its three-year business transformation programme, the Land Register completion target, and taking on additional registers, is recorded by Registers of Scotland (RoS) in its 2015-16 annual report and accounts, published today.
With the new registration scheme under the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012 now fully embedded into its services, the focus at RoS has turned to improved digital capability and the target set by ministers to have all land in Scotland on the Land Register by 2024.
A new digital supplier has been appointed, intake processes have been streamlined, online systems have been improved and systems put in place to support data sharing, which will be used, for example, by a number of case management systems and also the conveyancing portal being developed by Altis in partnership with the Law Society of Scotland.
New registers for which RoS is taking on responsibility are the housing management registers, which include the landlord register, the letting agent register and the property factor register.
The report also reveals that RoS accepted more than 600,000 applications on to its registers in 2015-16, an increase of nearly 35% compared to the previous year. This includes 170,000 advance notices, introduced under the 2012 Act, their first full year of operation. Excluding advance notices, applications rose by 14% while sasine intakes fell by 25%, reflecting the continuing move of titles from sasines onto the Land Register. The number of pre-registration reports provided rose from 30,000 to nearly 40,000.
As in the previous year, around a third of all applications (about 200,000) were received electronically. Over the entire year, 70% of all applications for dealings with whole of a registered title were completed in just two days, compared with 55% in 2014-15.
During the year, 8% fewer inhibitions were registered, and there was a fall of over 20% in court decrees registered for enforcement in Scotland.
Income for the year from continuing operations rose from £66,346,000 to £69,819,000. Operating surplus fell from £13,617,000 to £10,250,000, but the overall surplus rose slightly from £7,601,000 to £7,662,000. Income from commercial services rose by 27%, largely due to requests for plans reports but also growth in customers wishing to access information through Registers Direct.
Keeper of the Registers Sheenagh Adams said: “We have been taking advantage of digital technologies that have the potential to transform our services and deliver even better value for our customers and the public as a whole.
“In less than a year we have achieved a great deal and we continue to work with customers to deliver major benefits and make our services more efficient and easier to use.
“Our business transformation will help us complete the Land Register. A completed Land Register will be a national asset for Scotland that will allow transactions in property to be easier and faster."