Jennifer Henderson (Keeper of the Registers of Scotland)
It’s almost a year since I came into post, and I’ve spent much of that time on engagement with RoS colleagues, as well as our customers and external partners.
Getting to know the staff was an early priority for me, as I was keen to get to know as much as possible about the many different areas of work we are involved in, and talking to those delivering our products and services seemed like one of the most effective ways of doing this. That’s something I’ve kept up – not only in terms of spending face to face time with our teams, but with an internal blog each Friday, where I detail what my working week has entailed, and quarterly town hall events where I provide a retrospective overview on the business as a whole and open up the floor for questions on anything that people want to ask me about.
I was recently delighted to meet with some members of staff at our Glasgow office, to celebrate their 25 years of working for RoS each. I was glad to have the opportunity to thank them for all their hard work – hearing about 150 years of land registration experience was terrific and our conversation reinforced what I’ve already learned about RoS – our people are what makes us such a special organisation. I feel very fortunate to lead an organisation that has such knowledgeable and dedicated people, working hard to support each other and to deliver great service to our customers.
I’ve also enjoyed getting out of the central belt and travelling the length and breadth of Scotland in order to meet our customers and find out what we can do to make our services better. It became apparent to me soon after I took up my role that the challenges for a rural solicitor in Orkney are not the same for a solicitor in Edinburgh, and it felt important to me to fully understand all of the challenges that all of our customers are facing, as well as let them get to know more about the direction RoS is heading in.
As I suspected at the start of my visits around the country, there is a common ground around getting applications done quickly, efficiently, and accurately, but beyond that, the issues change in different parts of Scotland – Orkney is just one example of how things can be different depending on geographical location. There people were keen to talk about crofting, and how the Crofting Register interacts with the Land Register.
It was also useful to be able to talk directly to our customers about the work that we are doing over the next few months to eliminate a backlog of work that we have accumulated, as well as our longer term objective of completing the Land Register by 2024. Our future brings the additional challenge of delivering new digital ways of working. Our ScotLIS service, launched in October 2017, has been positively received by our business customers and our Digital Discharge Service has made removing a mortgage from a title easier, faster and more secure. Our next steps will be to look at how we can make buying and selling property a fully digital process, and ensure that our new products and services have the customer at the core of their design.