News 26th May 2016

Land Registry privatisation threatens open government – OGN responds to government consultation

by Tim Hughes

The Open Government Network has responded to the government’s consultation on moving Land Registry operations to the private sector urging it to reconsider its proposals, expressing concerns that privatisation would have a detrimental impact on transparency, civic participation and accountability on an issue of national importance.

In summary:

  1. We consider that the economy would be best served through the Land Registry publishing its data in an open format, and are concerned that privatisation would at best freeze access to Land Registry data at current levels, and at worst introduce new barriers and restrictions to data use and reuse.
  2. We are concerned that privatisation of the Land Registry would prevent access to the data needed to conduct large scale investigations into the ownership and use of land, hampering anti-corruption efforts.
  3. We consider that the government’s neighbourhood planning and community rights agenda would be better served if local communities had enhanced access to data and information about local land ownership and use, and are concerned that privatisation would make this less likely.
  4. We consider that the public and government’s interests of having an accurate record of land use and ownership would be better served through keeping the core statutory functions of the Land Registry within government, protecting and promoting land registers as core data assets.
  5. We are concerned about the potential impact of privatisation on the actual and perceived impartiality and accountability of the Land Registry.

Read the full response here.

A number of OGN members have submitted their own responses. Here’s a summary.