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Mystery over resignation of Land Registry chiefThere is mystery over why Ed Lester, the chief executive and chief land registrar at the Land Registry, is quitting in 2015 after taking up the roles only last year.

His resignation from both positions was announced last evening in a statement which including the unusual comment from Mark Boyle - chair of the Land Registry - that he and the board fully support the decision.

No reason was given for the unexpected departure. The statement hints that Lester wanted to leave sooner than next year, because Boyle said the board was grateful that Lester agreed to stay on for an additional few months.

There has been substantial criticism within the property industry this year about the Land Registry becoming the sole registering authority for Local Land Charges in England and Wales - a responsibility previously handled by each of the 348 English and Welsh local authorities.

The Council of Property Search Organisations has been extremely critical of the Land Registry and in particular Ed Lester, in a series of statements earlier this year.

Then in July it was discovered by the BBC that up to 15 per cent of jobs at Land Registry offices could be at risk.

A memo, which was sent to staff by Lester, said: "Over the next couple of years we estimate that the efficiencies we will deliver will create the capacity to free up approximately 15 per cent of the workforce. That capacity may result in people being redeployed .... but it may also mean some staff reductions."

Plans to privatise the government department were shelved over the summer following a consultation in January over whether to bring in a private company to run some services.


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    Well, mysterious it may be and it may also be coincidental, but as stated above, the announcement comes only two months after ministers rebuffed a plan to spin off the bulk of the registry's activity's into a 'service delivery company'.

    • 04 September 2014 06:16 AM
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