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Report of the Chief of Legal & Property Services

Statutory Powers – Local Land Charges Act 1975
Financial Implications – Capital costs to be met from existing approved budget of
£51,700. 00, held within the IT Development Reserve. Originally approved as part of
the Budget Proposals 2001/2002. (Minute reference 78/00 of Council 23.2.01).
Ongoing revenue support costs to be met from land charges income.


1.     The existing Land Charges (LC) computer system, which has served us well, was
       developed in-house and implemented in 1995. It has been recognised for sometime to
       be due for replacement and updating in line with the E-Government Strategy for
       electronic service delivery and so as to be compatible with the National Land
       Information Service (NLIS) and the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG).
       The Council has already joined the NLIS project and is capable of receiving searches
       electronically via the Internet.


2.     That the Executive resolves that: -

       (i)     Standing Orders

               Standing Orders and Financial Regulations be suspended to the extent necessary
               to allow the required software to be acquired without going to tender.

       (ii)    Software and Data Conversion/Loading

               Authority be given to purchase a 6 seat Land Charges system from
               MVM at a cost not exceeding £20,850.00 in view of the Councils
               specific requirement outlined above.

       (iii)   Data Capture

               Authority be given to capture data at the approximate cost of £20,000.00.

       (iv)    Support

               A contract be entered into for the required level of support with MVM at an
               annual cost not exceeding £1500.00, and that this sum be built into the
               appropriate budgets.

       (v)     Contingency

               A contingency sum be provided for items (ii), (iii)(iv) above (in total
       (vii)   Finance

               Agreement be given for the purchase and installation of the MVM Land Charges
               20/20 Computer system financed from the existing approved budget and for the
               ongoing support costs to be provided for from land charges income.

               (Summary of costs at Appendix 1)

Background/The Issues

3.     The systems shortcomings are:-

       a)      Not fully automated.

       b)      LC Register not linked to the corporate mapping Geographical Information
               system (GIS).

       c)      Not fully capable of receiving, processing or issuing electronic searches.

       d)      Will not integrate fully with the NLIS and is not compatible with the NLPG.

       e)      Does not meet the criteria required by the Governments E-Strategy.

       f)      Does not capitalise on improvements made in recording planning data since
               the introduction of the MVM Planner 20/20.

4.     The existing system is used mainly in a word-processing role. The search process
       therefore remains reliant upon paper records which have to be physically looked at by
       all the departments involved in the search process who then supply written
       information to the Land Charges Office for checking and input into the computer
       system for each search application.

5.     Modern corporate computer systems hold all the required data, planning details,
       constraints, LC Registrations etc. Such systems can be interrogated automatically and
       can produce a report on any parcel of land or property. This significantly reduces the
       chance of error and is likely to guarantee the issue of more consistent information.
       The decision to further invest in information technology will be another step forward
       to establishing a Council-wide geographical information system (GIS).

6.     Members will be aware that the authority has already invested in Cadcorp mapping
       software and the MVM Planning 20/20 system, these are both well proven and the
       Council is already experiencing the benefits of a geographical information system.
       The users of Cadcorp and the MVM 20/20 system are pleased with the products and
       the support provided. The replacement Land Charges system needs to be compatible
       in order to build upon existing experience and investment.


7. The objectives of any new system would be :-
       a)      To satisfy Government policy for electronic service delivery and the
               administrative requirements and function of the Land Charges and the search

       b)      To ensure that data capture is undertaken and information stored in such a way
               as to make it accessible to other applications.

       c)      To provide a means of making information available to council officers,
               members of the public and elected members.

       d)      To be able to access planning related data directly from Planner 20/20.

8.     Several companies produce land charges software systems. However the extensive
       research undertaken over the years and the specific requirement to be fully integrated
       with the Planner 20/20 software leads officers to recommend that the “MVM Land
       Charges 20/20” is the one system that can successfully fulfil the criteria. It is by
       reason of this research and that finding that the Executive will be invited to suspend
       Standing Orders in relation to the acquisition of the required land charges software.

9. The costs involved in this proposal fall into four categories :-

       1)      the purchase of software on a ‘per seat’ basis together with installation and
               training plus the annual charge for supporting the system;

       2)      the purchase of and/or upgrading of hardware – PC’s and Server;

       3)      the capture and loading of data;

       4)      software support & maintenance costs;

10. Software

       A new Land Charges system will need to be accessed by 4 users in Land Charges, 1
       user in Environmental Health and 1 in the technical section. There are already 3
       connected users in Planning and Building Control. The MVM price to supply 6 seats
       with the necessary licences for Oracle and Cadcorp GIS interfaces, installation,
       training and project management is £20,850.00. The provision for installation covers
       the work necessary to ensure that all standard letters, search reply schedules and
       documents etc. are in a format acceptable to this Council. The project management
       provision is essential in that the implementation of a new system is not a simple or
       straightforward matter. The Council needs to draw on the experience and expertise of
       MVM in order to ensure that the new system is introduced efficiently.

11. Support

       Software is continuously evolving in response to changes in statute, users
       requirements etc. Therefore it is important for the Council to have full benefit from
       the new Land Charges system and the high level of support that MVM offer. Support
       includes a full time Help Desk, training of staff, implementation on site and software
       upgrades and amendments.
12. Data Capture and Loading

         The capture of data would include the inputting of the remaining Land Charges
         Register textural data, the conversion of that data into MVM 20/20 and the
         digitisation of the LC Map Index. This work is very important, as it has to be done to
         a very high standard of accuracy. The preferred approach is to have this work done
         ‘in house’ by using the experience gained during the capture of the historical planning
         application details into the MVM Planner 20/20. Of the data capture team of three
         taken on for that task, one member remains and it proposed that he be used for the
         duration of the Land Charges project. The work involved in Data Capture must not be
         underestimated and it can only be beneficial to take advantage of the expertise and
         skill gained by the team over the last year. There will also be a cost for loading data
         into LC 20/20 once it has been ‘captured’, either in the purchase of a data loader or by
         paying MVM to load the information on our behalf.

13. Finance

         Budget provision was made for the MVM Land Charges 20/20 System as part of the
         original contractual agreement with MVM upon purchase of Planner 20/20. Since that
         time there has been significant decrease in the price now quoted. Financing of this
         project will be met from the existing approved budget of £51,700 with the annual
         support costs being met from land charges income.


14.      The updating and automating of the Land Charges System is long overdue. The
         introduction of the MVM Land Charges 20/20 system will provide the section with a
         powerful software program, which will enable it to enhance and improve quality and
         performance to Solicitors/Conveyancers and the public. It will also permit the
         authority to eventually move to Level 3 in the NLIS initiative and be compatible to
         the NLPG.

Paul J. Dunne                                                         Executive
Land Charges Officer                                                  Date: 04 April 2002

Peter West
Drawing Office Manager

Graham Rowe
Chief of Legal & Property Services

Background Papers

Quotation letter from MVM dated 16 January 2002.

dd. 210302

                            SUMMARY OF COSTS

              Item                              Totals

       6 Seat MVM 20/20 LC System         £20,850.00

       Data Capture - (Variable)          £20,000.00

       Contingency Sum                    £10,000.00

              Total Estimated Cost:-      £50,850.00

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