GIS helps Teignbridge Council cut costs

By automating their Local Land Charges search process using GIS, Teignbridge district council were able to cut costs by £60,000

By automating their Local Land Charges search process using GIS, Teignbridge district council were able to cut costs by £60,000.

Prior to 2011, Teignbridge District Council was required to carry out Local Land Charge searches for solicitors on behalf of potential home buyers, but the process of conducting the searches was an inefficient, time consuming, manual task.

This case study demonstrates just how much time and money can be saved when accurate, easy-to-use GIS tools are used to streamline common procedures.

  • OS MasterMap Topography Layer


Carrying out Local Land Charge searches took up to ten days to complete, often needing to consult libraries of old paper maps. Furthermore, it heavily relied on staff to have proprietary knowledge of the maps and the process.

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 (OS) digital mapping, such as OS MasterMap Topography Layer, the land area in question can be easily identified.


Typical timescales with the new process are about four days compared to ten 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 four to two staff, which included the loss of two very experienced members of the team through retirement. Automation has enabled the Council to cope with this loss of experience, reduce costs (which has been passed onto the customer) and enhance the service offered by reducing search times and allowing self-service for personal search companies. Other Council Departments such as Planning and Environmental Health have also benefitted due to more accurate data.


  • 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 ten days now takes about four 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.
  • Preservation of old paper maps.

"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

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Products and solutions featured in this study

  • OS MasterMap Topography Layer

    A map dataset of Great Britain's landscape – from roads to fields, to buildings and trees, fences, paths and more.