1. We registered 180,354 more hectares of land last year, worth £19 billion
Land can serve multiple purposes, for many people, but the owner may not always be clear. That is why, since the first title was created in 1863, there has been an ambition to register the entire land mass of England and Wales. Today, more than 25.5 million property titles are registered and we have reached 86.6% registration of England and Wales. In 2018/19 we completed 108,074 first registrations, which equates to 180,354 hectares of land with a value estimated at more than £19 billion. Comprehensive registration is a vital component of meeting the demands of one of the most highly sought-after property markets in the world.
2. Our new single national and digital way of doing business
This year we have defined what our new operation looks like. We know the resources it needs and the functional teams it will comprise. We understand the expertise we will need to maintain the integrity of the Land Register. With all the planning complete we are now building the operations function of tomorrow, enabling us to be an expert and resilient organisation that can cope with fluctuations in demand while still delivering a consistently high-quality service to our customers.
3. We launched a new register
Our Local Land Charges (LLC) service went live in July 2018, providing customers with live LLC searches as part of the conveyancing process, simplifying the home buying process. Since Warwick District Council became the first local authority to transfer its data to the new register, we have brought a further five on board. We are now working with PropTech companies to explore how this transformed and cleansed data can add even greater value to the property market and the wider economy.
4. We’ve made digital mortgages a reality
We rolled-out our ‘Sign your mortgage deed’ service in April 2019 to a range of high-street lenders with millions of customers, making it faster and simpler to remortgage a property. The digital service enables a paperless end-to-end remortgage application and approval process. Eighteen mortgage lenders including Nationwide, HSBC, NatWest and Santander have signed up. Our work reflects the increasing use of digital signatures and online mortgage applications in the mortgage market.
5. We used blockchain to simulate the first digital transfer of a property in the UK
This year, our ground-breaking research and development project Digital Street successfully simulated the digital transfer of a real property, utilising blockchain. The prototype ran a real transfer of a semi-detached house in Gillingham, Kent, alongside the conventional paper-based process, to demonstrate a digital transfer. We worked in parallel with the buyer, seller, conveyancers and bank to simulate the exact transfer digitally. We then used blockchain technology to record the transfer securely. We proudly presented our work at the World Bank conference, securing the interest of other land registries who are experimenting with blockchain projects to work with us to find the best use for the new technology.
6. Our data continues to fuel the growing digital economy
We hold some of the most valuable location intelligence in the world. We are taking a leading role with the Geospatial Commission in linking it with multiple data sources to unlock the huge amount of economic value in geospatial data. We are one of six national geospatial data organisations, collaborating with the commission to establish standards and methods to combine geolocated data. This will improve its usefulness in the property market and will also provide an important resource for commercial and public services.
7. Our third cohort of PropTech innovators joined Geovation
We continue to support PropTech (property technology) start-ups through our Geovation programme. Our joint initiative with Ordnance Survey continues to drive and encourage innovation and collaboration, utilising our combined location and property data. Since October 2017, we have invested £160,000 of grant funding in 14 PropTech companies who have raised more than £6m of third-party investment. This year we are supporting DronePrep, Winston, Property-Markets and RenKap.
8. We empower our expert people
Our future success rests on the commitment, integrity and expertise of our colleagues. We want every colleague to feel valued and respected for who they are and how they can contribute to our hugely responsible and ambitious task. We want a diverse workforce with an inclusive culture that has a strong sense of shared values. This year we replaced our recruitment and selection processes with a more open, fairer and inclusive approach which places emphasis on the candidate fit with the role, based on a holistic view of their experience, skills, behaviours and strengths. With career and training paths across all key professions, running from entry level through to senior management, we are attracting and nurturing some of the best talent across the public and private sectors.
Our colleagues’ voices have been heard and a healthy dialogue has flourished with the Chief Executive and other senior leaders. Our innovative and inclusive approach to internal communications gained us national recognition and we were honoured to be finalists for the Employee Engagement Awards 2018 and winners at the UK Employee Experience Awards 2019. Over the last year, we have published blogs to raise awareness of mental health issues and support a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. We communicate personal stories to encourage colleagues to find confidence in themselves and their abilities, regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, disability, age or mental health status.
10. Our colleagues raised £94,000 for charity
Contributing to charitable causes that benefit local communities has always been part of our history and will continue to be part of the moral and social fabric of our future culture too. From across our 14 office locations, our colleagues have taken part in a range of activities and events and in the last year raised more than £77,000 in support of local and national charitable causes and over £17,000 worth of non-cash donations such as blankets, food and toys. We have continued and sustained support for national initiatives such as International Women’s Day and mental health awareness, as well as causes such as bereavement, animal welfare, cancer awareness, homelessness and lifesaving.