As we have indicated in previous PCS briefings, as well as the on-going public consultation on future business model for LR, a separate (but inextricably linked) consultation has been taking place in respect of Land Registry obtaining wider powers, starting with taking on responsibility for local land charges. Please find in the downloads section of this page the PCS submission to this consultation. This sets out our detailed arguments in respect of the following important principles.
PCS are not fundamentally opposed to LR taking on other areas of work, but our conclusion is that although PCS has always embraced changes that genuinely benefit customers and the public and that safeguard quality jobs for members, this current consultation exercise, does not convince us that the planned automation of Local Land Charges by Land Registry, plus the centralisation of this automated service away from Local Authorities, will benefit anyone.
In respect of taking on other wider powers, our support depends entirely upon the direction this expansion takes. For instance, we can see the potential to serve the public in a number of areas. By way of example, the introduction of a register of Landlords would enable regulation of the private rented sector and could help protect the public and consumers against rogue landlords. What is clear however is that there is a need for any new services to be provided by a skilled, independent and trusted source in the public sector – where there can be no suggestion of any conflict of interest. We believe that Land Registry Staff are perfectly placed to fulfil such a role. If however, the consultation exercise is seeking agreement and affirmation for plans to expand Land Registry in a commercial direction that is removed from the Civil Service, then PCS have considerable concerns that our neutrality would cease and that costs to the public would increase. Consequently, PCS would not support any such move.