Land Registry aims to become a digital leader with help from GDS

The Land Registry has launched a new programme called LR Connect which it hopes will digitally transform its business strategy

The Land Registry has launched a new programme called LR Connect, which the body hopes will digitally transform its business strategy.

In a blog post, the organisation said the digital transformation would cover everything, including offering new digital services, changing internal culture and becoming more efficient.

The organisation plans to develop new digital services and tools that are designed around the customer needs. These digital tools will be developed with help from the Government Digital Service (GDS), and through working with customers, other suppliers and stakeholders.

“Our aim is to become a leader in digital land registration, data and other land and property services,” wrote Caroline Kyriazis, senior digital marketing manager at the Land Registry.

The non-ministerial department registers the ownership of land and property in England and Wales. It also maintains the Land Register, where more than 23 million piece of evidence proving ownership are documented.

To become a digital organisation, the Land Registry needs to use technology to make it easier for customers to interact, but Kyriazis was keen to point out that the Land Registry will always ensure data security is not compromised.

“Throughout our transformation, we’ll continue to safeguard the integrity of the register,” she said.

This is not the first government organisation to have received help from GDS in building digital services.

Other departments have also been building up their digital skills, including the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which is making strides with digital services through renewing tax online, abolishing the paper tax disc and other digital services. After working closely with GDS, the DVLA began its own project to create the option to renew a tax disc online, which is now in beta testing mode.

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is also adopting methods recommended by GDS, by moving away from a single IT supplier approach to a new multi-sourcing model.

GDS is a year and a half into a two-year project to move 25 of the most used government services online. The current government has calculated that on average an online public service is 20 times cheaper than a phone transaction, 30 times cheaper than by post and 50 times cheaper than face to face. 

But Computer Weekly recently learnt that almost 60% of GDS employees could be gone within 12 months of next year’s general election, presenting a huge risk to the next government’s digital plans.

Out of 301 employees at GDS, 176 are on fixed-term contracts, all of which are due to terminate within 12 months of a new administration taking power.

If a new government comes into power next May, it could decide not to renew the remaining contracts as they expire; equally, if those employees do not agree with new policies, they could choose to leave at their end of their contract period.

In July, GDS said a skills shortage is one of the biggest risks to its success. Its Business Plan for 2014 to 15 said a lack of skills is the biggest concern affecting its ability to deliver more than £1.4bn of annual savings across Whitehall.

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