IBM bags £21m Land Registry e-conveyancing deal

Delayed system won't be ready for piloting until 2007...

Delayed system won't be ready for piloting until 2007...

The Land Registry's delayed electronic conveyancing service for house buyers in England and Wales is set to be piloted in 2007 as part of a £21m deal signed with IBM.

The e-conveyancing service will eventually replace the current paper-based system with electronic documents and signatures that will make it quicker and cheaper to exchange documents and transfer funds when buying and selling properties.

The project was initially planned as a 'big bang' approach that would be piloted in 2005 but after consultation with stakeholders the Land Registry opted to introduce the electronic service in stages. The pilot of the full service was then retargeted for 2006 but that has now slipped to 2007.

Lodgement and discharge services have already gone electronic.

IBM will be responsible for overseeing the final stages, developing and building the IT that will support the full national rollout of the e-conveyancing services as part of the five year deal worth between £7m and £21m.

A spokeswoman for the Land Registry said: "The initial thinking when e-conveyancing was first mooted in 2000 was that it would be done in one hit in 2005. But since the consultation process concerns were raised about doing it in one go and so we have gone for the incremental approach."

Initially, use of the e-conveyancing services will be voluntary but in order to get the critical mass of users that will provide the most benefits the government has powers to make it compulsory under the Land Registration Act 2002.

The Land Register is the world's largest property database allowing online public access to 20 million titles and plans, and is one of the largest single IBM databases in Europe.