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Volume 450: debated on Thursday 19 October 2006

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the timetable is for implementing of electronic conveyancing. (94615)

The introduction of electronic conveyancing is, without question, the most ambitious and innovative programme of work carried out by Land Registry to date. It will radically change the way property transactions are undertaken by a wide range of stakeholders.

In order to manage these changes effectively, and in direct response to stakeholder demand, Land Registry is introducing electronic conveyancing products and services gradually in a number of tranches over the next few years. An early prototype of the Chain Matrix TM will be launched during the first quarter of 2007. A pilot of electronic conveyancing will follow the introduction of the necessary legislation which is unlikely to be in place before March 2008.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what (a) guidance and (b) resources are being provided to local authorities to assist with the implementation of electronic conveyancing. (94718)

The majority of staff who work as part of “in house” legal departments of local authorities are qualified solicitors or legal executives who are already familiar with Land Registry’s current services and procedures. Land Registry has good working relationships with local authority solicitors, who regularly attend educational seminars run by Land Registry throughout England and Wales.

With regard to training specifically for electronic conveyancing, Land Registry is keen to support its diverse customer segments and is already talking to several local authorities in order to address their specific needs. Land Registry’s intention is to offer online training packages on how to use the electronic conveyancing system and, if appropriate, other forms of training will also be considered. Training will be supplemented by seminars and talks around all major cities in England and Wales. Land Registry is about to start further consultation on its proposals for electronic conveyancing training with all stakeholder groups, including local authorities. This will give them the opportunity to comment on the proposals and contribute their ideas to the training framework. While it is proposed that Land Registry will provide the training material, it will be the stakeholders’ responsibility to ensure that their staff have the appropriate IT skills and equipment to enable them to use the electronic conveyancing system.