Deputy First Minister John Swinney has accepted a recommendation that will see Scotland with a comprehensive information service about any piece of land or property in Scotland.
The online service, named ScotLIS (Scotland's Land and Information System) will allow citizens, communities, professionals and business users to find out what they need to know about any piece of land or property in Scotland with a single enquiry.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:
"There are almost 100,000 property sales in Scotland every year with a value of over £15 billion. This vital part of our economy needs to be supported by easy, risk-free processes that support our ambition to be an attractive place to do business.
"The development of a new digital land and property information system is an important step for our digital first strategy as well as playing a key role in land reform.
"I have asked Sheenagh Adams, as Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, to oversee the development of ScotLIS with the support of a number of partner organisations, and to have it operational by October 2017."
Speaking about the project, Sheenagh Adams said:
"Scotland is a step closer to having a single enquiry point that will reduce both the risks and costs of doing business, as well as providing a more convenient and efficient service for customers.
"Registers of Scotland is well-placed to take on the development of this new system. We have already made good progress on our digital transformation programme, which is focused on improving our registration and information services. We have a long track record of working in partnership and this will be key to the success of this new service.
The Deputy First Minister set up the taskforce in March, chaired by Sheenagh Adams, and including representatives from government, local authority and private sector bodies.
Developing the system will involve getting access to information held by a wide range bodies like Ordnance Survey, Scottish Natural Heritage and local authorities. Its creation will remove the current barriers, confusion and extra costs sometimes involved with searching for land and property information.
Professor Stewart Brymer, who represented Unifi Scotland on the land and property information system task force to, added:
"Scots Property Law has a long tradition and is highly regarded across the globe. The creation of ScotLIS will place Scotland at the forefront of land and property initiatives and will generate significant return on investment for both the public and private sectors while reducing time, cost, risk and stress to the citizens of Scotland. It will provide improved transparency which, in turn, will result in more certainty and lower costs when buying and selling property. I welcome this positive development."
A copy of the report on ScotLIS will be available from the publications section of our website later this morning.
Communications, Registers of Scotland, Meadowbank House, 153 London Road, Edinburgh, EH8 7AU
Notes to editors
- Registers of Scotland is a non-ministerial department of the Scottish Administration and holds trading fund status. It is responsible for compiling and maintaining registers relating to property and other legal documents in Scotland. RoS records and safeguards the rights of the individual while providing open access to information on the registers.
- The Deputy First Minister announced the taskforce at a conference on land information and reform in March 2015.
- Taskforce members: Chair - Sheenagh Adams, Registers of Scotland, Stewart Brymer, Unifi Scotland. Dominic Cuthbert, Ordnance Survey. Iain McKay, Improvement Service. Ross Mackay, Law Society of Scotland. Joe Moore, Scottish Natural Heritage. Jane Morgan, Scottish Government Digital Directorate. Stephen Pathirana, Scottish Government Agriculture, Food and Rural Communities Directorate. Sarah Speirs, RICS. Jim Valentine, SOLACE.
- In May 2014, Scottish Ministers announced a 10-year target to complete the land register.