London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Outcome of Expression of Interest: Invited to apply

Context

The Local Land Charges service is integral to the conveyance process. The service has 2 functions; maintenance and reproduction of the Local Land Charges Register on request, and production of CON29 search replies. The Con29 is a series of questions prescribed by the Law Society. Completing the Con29 is not a statutory function but the service is offered by every council. Local councils statutory responsibility to maintain a Local Land Charges Register was passed over to HM Land registry under The Infrastructure Act 2015. As part of the transfer project, HMLR are digitising all 326 Local Authority registers. This is a considerable task and completion of the project is phased over years, with the project currently in phase 1.

Whilst the transfer of the register to HMLR will lead to a streamlined and on-line Local Land Charges service, conveyancers will still need to come to local authorities for the Con29. The customer journey at this stage can differ considerably based on the Council that needs to be contacted. Local authorities are at different stages of digitisation, a Con 29 online service is still rare and turnaround times can also vary considerably from council to council. HMLR have no current plans to provide a CON29 service, meaning a two –tier service will continue to exist.

Current Process

Information for a CON29 search reply is currently collated from different Council departments. This can be difficult to collect for both personal searchers and staff as data must be collated from numerous Council departments including; Planning, Highways, Building Control and Environmental Health amongst others. Dataset are not held in consistent formats including spatial, digital, electronic, paper and microfiche. As few if any on-line service is available, for searching, traditional methods of search requests are used, forcing user to go through a national hub or send email paper requests. This means manual data input.

Search replies often lead to secondary requests for information- no interactive facility to link to further information leads to increased email enquiries, slowing the process of conveyance.

Project Identification

This project has been identified through discussion with colleagues at conference events and neighboring London boroughs. Austerity measures are forcing Councils to re-evaluate services and format of service provision. This is a service that is delivered nationally more councils might want to join or feed into the project.

Project Sponsor

There is currently no project team or sponsor. No research on need has currently been undertaken but it’s likely HM Land Registry have been asked to look at this by HMCLG.

 

Expectations

At Discovery stage, the project should aim to identify wider stakeholders interested in development work. It should also understand what the service users and providers are looking for, why so many tend to find it difficult to collate the relevant information, work out which parts of a website need to be prepared, work out how the web can be made completely interactive so that it can be searched using a tabs based infrastructure. We also need to understand the current limitations of existing information in Councils and their IT infrastructure to changing the service and what the new user journey might look like

To deliver the Discovery phase we will require the following skills:

  • User research
  • Business Analysis
  • Service Design
  • Project Delivery / Agile

Resources

Some internal resources for development work may be available for the project at Tower Hamlets but this will be fully scoped and a project governance board will need to be set up with defined roles and project outcomes.

We will need resources to fund the steps above and support to produce the work detailed below.

Dependency and Risks

The project cannot commence without copyright of the Con29 being available. This would need to be available before commencement of the project.

Current risks are based on whether resources can be provided in a timely manner. Once a governance board is established, risks can be identified and managed.

Aim at Discovery Stage to:

  • identify what user groups are most likely to use the website and how they might use the website
  • understand what options and channels would be most efficient for people to use the website
  • produce reusable assets for Local authorities. In particular:
    • A user research report that gives us an understanding about the most effective way to create a new website and the stages that need to be gone through in order to achieve this
    • A minimum viable product to validate whether the website can be a success and highlights an immature product that needs to be tested. This will entail producing a prototype and qualitative research.
    • The identification and specification of platforms, people and technology necessary to deliver the website
    • A report setting out a process for the delivery of the project
    • A report that identifies follow on workstreams that would be required
    • Look at the delivery of the Con29 online service within the context of a Council wide approach
    • LB Tower Hamlets to be used as the example and then look at the other boroughs to see if there is a standard format that could be considered
    • A communications plan of how we can provide this information to other councils and services
    • A report that will highlight lessons learned through the process
    • A user journey map
  • Digital leadership training (for council leaders, service managers or senior executives)
  • Digital and agile awareness
  • Introduction to user research
  • Introduction to service design
  • Introduction to digital business analysis

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