Swansea has become the first of 22 Welsh local authorities to move its local land charges data to a digital, central database designed to speed up the conveyancing process.
HM Land Registry announced that the addition of City and County of Swansea Council, as well as Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth City Council and Harborough District Council, takes the total number of local authorities to join its local land charges register to 39.
The agency said on its website that Swansea was ‘paving the way for the remaining Welsh local authorities to join the register, making local land charges information instantly accessible, speeding up the conveyancing process and making homebuying easier and less stressful for the people of Swansea’.
A spokesperson told the Gazette that following legislation that came into force last April, the Welsh government aligned its local land charges service fees with those payable in England. ‘This has enabled us to work with Welsh local authorities to support their migration on to the national register,’ the spokesperson said. ‘We are proud that our collaboration with Swansea has resulted in the authority migrating its service to the register within 12 months.’
Plans for Land Registry to take over the management of the local land charges register were announced in 2014. Work on migrating data began in 2018 initially making slow progress because of variations in the format and quality of local authority data.
Delivering a major new service was always going to be challenging, the registry said: ‘We are learning and adapting our approach as we progress. For example, around 50% of the data from local authorities had to be amended before we could migrate it. We now have a better understanding of the challenge and effort required for analysis, transformation and migration of the local authorities’ local land charges data.’
New tools such as a ‘data analysis dashboard’ and ‘migration helper’ have streamlined the process of analysing and improving data.
‘By applying lessons learned and standardising processes we aim to increase our migration pace and provide a more consistent experience over the coming years,’ the agency added.