Keeper of the Registers of Scotland addresses key issues

On Tuesday 26 June 2018 The Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, Jennifer Henderson(1), attended her first public speaking engagement since coming into post at the beginning of April this year. Her speech, to the Law Society of Scotland’s Conveyancing Conference, provided Jennifer with the opportunity to set out her vision for Registers of Scotland (RoS)(2), as well as address some of the key issues that are important to RoS customers.

The keeper paid tribute to RoS’ rich history, noting too Scotland’s place at the heart of land registration as the home of the world’s oldest national land register. She also spoke about some of the key priorities contained within our 2018-21 Corporate Plan, as well as one significant work area that has been a source of concern and frustration for our customers.

Speaking at the The Studio at 67 Hope Street, Glasgow, Jennifer said:

“At the time of its inception, the sasine register was a bold and ambitious move to protect the citizen and ensure their rights to their land.

“We are being no less ambitious now. Our recently published Corporate Plan set out our strategic goals for 2018-21, and reiterated our commitment to becoming a fully digital business by 2020. RoS is undergoing a complete digital transformation, moving us from a historically paper-based organisation to one that always does everything digitally as its first option.”

The keeper also addressed a backlog of work that RoS is taking action to eradicate. RoS currently has almost 40,000 registration applications that fall outside of our service standards.

Offering an unequivocal apology, Jennifer continued:

“This is an unacceptable and unsustainable situation. It isn’t the standard of service that you should have to expect, and I understand the ongoing frustration it is causing. I’m sorry that things ever got to this stage.

“I offer a commitment to you – today - that we are going to address the problem. I am pleased that we now have a plan of action to make real, demonstrable progress in clearing it.”

RoS will be reporting regularly on our progress in clearing the backlog via our external communications, including our social media channels(3).

Jennifer closed her speech by talking about the importance of ongoing engagement with customers saying “Our successes in RoS have been in no small part down to the time that has gone into having open dialogues with the people who use our services and integral to ensuring they are well designed. We will be working to engage with you and we want to hear your feedback”

ENDS

NOTES:

  1. Jennifer became the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland in April 2018, and has been with the Civil Service since 1994. Before coming to RoS she was on a six month loan as a Deputy Director at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, developing the department’s business plan and previously supporting the initial phase of the Building Safety Programme established in response to the fire at Grenfell Tower. Prior to that she was a member of the Executive at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, as Operations Director and then as Transformation Director (a post held as a job share role), ensuring that innovative science and technology contributes to the defence and security of the UK. In parallel with these roles she was also a Non-Executive director on the Board of Ploughshare Innovations Ltd. Jennifer is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and is a Chartered Physicist.
  2. Registers of Scotland is the government department responsible for compiling and maintaining registers relating to property and other legal documents in Scotland. Registers of Scotland records and safeguards the rights of the individual while providing open access to information on the registers.
  3. For further information, please telephone Jacq Kelly on 0131 528 3738, 07825 388 120 or email communications@ros.gov.uk, or contact us at: Communications, Registers of Scotland, Meadowbank House, 153 London Road, Edinburgh, EH8 7AU.
  4. Follow us on Twitter @RegistersOfScot, Facebook and LinkedIn. Sign up to receive email updates from us.