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  • Council has saved £60,000 per year due to a reduction in the team, from four to two staff, which has allowed the price of a search to be reduced.
  • Previously on average a Land Charge Search took 10 days now takes about 4 days.
  • The knowledge needed for the job now is less and therefore less training is required.
  • Departments such as Planning and Environmental Health are able to carry out their roles more efficiently due the accuracy of the data
  • The old paper maps store is now well preserved as the maps are not handled as often.

The challenge

Prior to 2011 when Teignbridge District Council was required to carry out a Local Land Charge searches for solicitors on behalf of a potential home buyer it was an inefficient, time consuming, manual task. The job often took up to 10 days to complete and comprised of searching through old paper map stores. Furthermore, it heavily relied on the staff to have proprietary knowledge of the maps and the process.

The answer

Utilising GIS and Ordnance Survey MasterMap has enabled significant cost reductions and an enhanced service, whilst at the same time coping with the loss of experienced staff. Without the accuracy that MasterMap Topography layer provides this would not have been achievable.

David Sercombe, ICT Business Development Manager

In a bid to become more efficient the Council made the decision to automate their Local Land Charges search process and introduce GIS. With the introduction of the new software (IDOX Total Land Charges) and Ordnance Survey digital mapping, such as OS MasterMap® Topography Layer, the land area in question can be easily identified. Once the area is identified the mapping is used to draw around the area of land and then the searches can begin.

Typical timescales with the new process are about 4 days compared to 10 days for the previous way of working. The archive paper maps are no longer required for this task and therefore can be preserved better. Furthermore the training needed for the new method takes much less time than the old process which relied heavily on the knowledge of specific individuals.

Since the introduction of the automated process the Local Land Charge Team has reduced from 4 to 2 staff, which included the loss of two very experienced and long term members of the team through retirement. Automation has enabled the Council to cope with this loss of experience, reduce costs which have been passed onto the customer and enhance the service offered to customers by reducing search times and allowing self service for personal search companies. Also other Council Departments such as Planning and Environmental Health have benefitted due to more accurate data making their jobs more efficient.

The products used

Download this case study PDF – 869kB


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