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Local Land Charges Processing Times Research

Subject: Blog Posts

Description: A key justification cited by the land registry for its takeover of Local Land Charges from local authorities is the service is fractured with response times taking from one day to six weeks. This fragmentation leads to the ‘Postcode Lottery’ talked about by the Rt Hon Michael Fallon in the House of Commons this week.


submit to reddit Posted by David Caldwell on 28/02/14 at 19:28

A key justification cited by the land registry for its takeover of Local Land Charges from local authorities is the service is fractured with response times taking from one day to six weeks.  This fragmentation leads to the ‘Postcode Lottery’ talked about by the Rt Hon Michael Fallon in the House of Commons this week.

Yesterday I saw the research that the land registry conducted to back up this argument. 

In this post I set out to point the flaws in their research and present the findings of my own research concerning the times taken by local authority Local Land Charges departments to turnaround conveyancing searches.

Land Registry Research

Respondent #1

35

Respondent #2

14

Respondent #3

Under 5

Respondent #4

3

Respondent #5

3

Respondent #6

5

Respondent #7

5

Respondent #8

10 Many 34 days or less

Respondent #9

1.7

Respondent #10

4.39

Respondent #11

10

Respondent #12

5

Respondent #13

3

Respondent #14

5.2

Respondent #15

5

Respondent #16

2

Respondent #17

3

Respondent #18

6

Respondent #19

5

Respondent #20

5

Respondent #21

4

Respondent #22

2

Respondent #23

7.7

Respondent #24

58

Respondent #25

4

Respondent #26

5

Respondent #27

4

Respondent #28

3

Respondent #29

1.7

Respondent #30

1 to 5

Respondent #31

5

Respondent #32

14

Respondent #33

5

Respondent #34

2 (97% within 2 days)

There is a sample of only *34 local authorities and what is shocking is that it appears to have been scraped from websites.  So let’s cross reference some of the underachievers.

Council

Land Registry Research

Council Website

#1

34 Working Days

We aim to complete LLC1 and CON29R local authority searches within 5 to 7 working days 

#2

58 Working Days

Most searches are completed within 5-8 working days

#3

10 Many 34 days or less

We are currently achieving 100% of standard searches returned within 10 working days, with many being returned within 3 or 4 working days or less.

So as we can see this is pretty conclusive they have just copied council websites and have made fundamental errors while doing so, 34 days should be 3 – 4 days, 58 should be 5 – 8 days and 34 days should be 3 – 4 days.

This research is being used as a cornerstone argument for making a major change in the future of the land registry and 350 local authorities and to say it is flawed is an understatement of gigantic preportions.

* Or should that be 3-4 local authorities?

My Own Research

Methodology

On the 28th February 2014 at 16:38 over 300 Local Authority's contact centres were emailed and requested to forward a link to a Survey Monkey poll to the Local Land Charges Manager or Team Leader.

The two questions asked were:

Q1: What is your current turnaround time for LLC1 searches? Use only a whole number reply

Q2: What is your current turnaround for combined LLC1 and Con29 Searches? Use only a whole number reply

The survey was intended to be anonymous to prevent respondents downplaying their councils performance.

A numeric single figure was requested to prevent confusion for example a reply of "3-4" days would be ambiguous or even interpreted as 34 days!

Within 24 hours I had collected 94 responses and started to analyse the data.

Average time to complete a LLC1 Search = 4 Working Days

Average time to completa a LLC1 & Con29 Search = 5 Working Days

Reasons Given For Long Turnaround Times:

  • Software Problems
  • Staff Shortages
  • Sickness
  • Annual Leave

Conclusion

The distribution is skewed to the left which means that the majority of authorities return searches sooner rather than later.

There is also a slight bimodal distribution suggesting two processes could be at work.

Possible causes for this could be electronic vs manual Systems or understaffed vs fully staffed. 

It is  a credit to the Local Land Charges service that despite undergoing a time of uncertainty officers still produce very good results and return around a quarter of LLC1 searches within one day and 74% of searches in 5 working days or less.

To turn a phrase 'if it isn't broke don't fix it'

The research can be downloaded here

Keywords: land registry, local land charges, consultation, takeover, research, turnaround




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