Last month, I attended the Registrars of Title conference 2016, hosted by Landgate, our sister organisation in Western Australia.
As usual, it was an interesting and informative event, and, after an aboriginal “welcome to country”, we discussed a broad range of issues of common interest.
I was particularly impressed by the approach Landgate has been taking to innovation, involving staff, supporting start-up businesses and running hackathons to design new, location-based apps in local high schools.
Stef Brown, our chief product owner, will be following in my footsteps to Perth next year when she represents RoS at the registration development conference. I have asked her to spend a day with their innovation directorate and report back in more detail on the lessons we could learn.
I had an interesting discussion with fellow delegates about how we map flats and their associated common areas. I explained our approach and that we don’t have their equivalent of “strata” titles. I had to laugh when my colleague from Singapore asked how, then, did we map swimming pools and tennis courts. She is in for a shock when we host the conference in Edinburgh next October and she will almost certainly need to bring her thermal vest!
It has been an exciting month in terms of digital innovation with the creation of our new knowledge base microsite. This site provides a new home for registration guidance and additional support content and has been created from the opinions you have provided on our new website during the course of the year.
At this stage, as a result of the feedback, the site’s functionality includes a new dedicated site search; improved readability and page layout; in-page navigation; automated last updated date; related content area; web or HTML pages instead of PDFs to house content; and much more. Follow the team via @RegistersOfScot on Twitter for more updates.
Excitement continues to grow over the upcoming move for our staff in Glasgow to their new premises in St Vincent Plaza (in three stages) in February next year. In agreeing a 15-year lease for the premises, I was sure that the “fantastic office space… will bring us significant improvements” as well as reducing our carbon footprint by more than 50 per cent. The opportunities that the new office will afford us are impressive, with the space being designed as a smart working infrastructure platform for digital and collaborative working between teams.
Once again, the release of the latest UK House Price Index figures made for informative reading for many across Scotland. The media interest in these figures is growing by the month and it is now fair to say that every national newspaper in the land carries news of Scottish house price trends.
What’s more – and is, in many ways, just as important – there are an increasing number of regional and local places in far-flung parts of Scotland taking a keen interest in the figures. Because our Data Team produces such a comprehensive set of findings, there is, in effect, something for everyone in terms of the relevance and significance for their particular area.
The statistics showed that the average price of a property in Scotland in September 2016 was £143,006 – an increase of 3.4 per cent on the previous year and an increase of 0.2 per cent when compared to the previous month. This compared to a UK average of £217,888, which was an increase of 7.7 per cent over the year and an increase of 0.2 per cent when compared to the previous month.
Finally, as we come to the end of our 399th year in existence and look ahead to the 400th anniversary celebrations, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work and dedication to the business this year, as well as wishing you all a most enjoyable festive period.