a blog by Owen Boswarva

15 Jul

Post: 15 July 2014

Yesterday the Government published the outcome of its recent public consultation on privatisation of Land Registry.

The Government received 304 formal responses to the consultation. 264 responded directly to the objective questions.

Of those, 91% of respondents answered No to the following question:

Q1. Do you agree that by creating a more delivery-focused organisation at arm’s length from Government, Land Registry will be able to carry out its operations more efficiently and effectively for its customers?

This is the key question indicating support or opposition to the privatisation plan. 5% of respondents agreed and 4% were not sure.

According to media reports, Land Registry privatisation plans have now been abandoned by ministers. However the Government has told Parliament only that “at this time, no decision has been taken”. The local MP for Durham, where Land Registry employs 400 people, has said she would be seeking reassurances the plan had been scrapped — and not just delayed.

So who supports privatisation of Land Registry?


We know that the bulk of consultation responses opposed privatisation of Land Registry, by an overwhelming majority. But who does support privatisation?

The Government has published 105 consultation responses; excluding “those which were explicitly marked as from individuals or those we believe are a personal response.”

Those respondents (organisations, businesses, representative bodies, trade unions, etc.) are listed in this spreadsheet, with their responses to Q1.

With a couple of exceptions, SMEs oppose privatisation of Land Registry. Legal representatives, local councils, trade unions and professional organisations also consistently said No.

However the large businesses that responded to the consultation almost all supported privatisation. The following were unequivocally in favour:

Decision Insight Information Group (DIIG)
Landmark Information Group
Silver Lake Europe LLP

Capita is the UK’s largest business process outsourcing and professional services company. IBM is a well-known global technology company.

DIIG is the UK and Ireland’s leading property searches group. Landmark is a reseller of property related environmental risk information and digital mapping. (DIIG and Landmark are both owned by DMGT, which also owns the Daily Mail.)

Equiniti is the UK’s leading share registration business, and owned by the private equity group Advent International. Silver Lake Europe is the European branch of the US-based Silver Lake private equity firm. (Silver Lake’s consultation response was marked “PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL”. The Government released it anyway; possibly an oversight.)

Teranet is a Canadian company that operates electronic property search and registration services, equivalent to Land Registry, in the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.

Photo credit: HM Land Registry Office, Croydon by Heortlea, CC BY-SA 3.0