Conveyancers vote for top 14 Local Land Charges teams in England and Wales

16 February 2023

The top 14 local land charges teams in England and Wales, as voted for by conveyancers and solicitors, have been revealed by Land Data, the authoritative land and property data expert, in its Local Land Charges Awards for Excellence shortlist.   

To nominate the teams that impressed them the most, licensed conveyancers and solicitors were asked to describe how they went above and beyond expectations to turn around land and property searches quickly, efficiently, accurately, with a great attitude, and whilst providing excellent value for money. 

All nominations were collected, grouped by Local Authority and reviewed and ranked by the Excellence Awards judging panel.  

This year, for the first time, there are three categories for the Customer Satisfaction Award: one for District Councils, one for Metropolitan Districts, and one for London Boroughs, offering more opportunities to celebrate outstanding customer service from local land charges teams.  

The winners of the Customer Satisfaction Awards, supported by The Coal Authority, will be announced at the 2023 Land Data Local Land Charges Awards for Excellence on 28th March 2023, at The Bristol Hotel, Bristol. 

The top 14 finalists in alphabetical order are:  

Best in District Councils  

  • Arun District Council  
  • Exeter City Council  
  • Gravesham Borough Council  
  • Preston City Council  
  • Reigate & Banstead Borough Council  
  • Wealden District Council  
  • West Devon Borough Council & South Hams District Council  
  • West Lindsay District Council  

Best in Metropolitan Borough Councils  

  • Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council  
  • Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council  
  • Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council  

Best in London Borough Councils   

  • London Borough of Barnet  
  • London Borough of Havering    
  • London Borough of Hillingdon 

(See below for anonymous comments provided by solicitors and conveyancers to support the entry of each local authority.) 

Andrew Simpson, Senior Development Manager at The Coal Authority, which supports the award, said: Conveyancers, solicitors and local land charge teams become trusted partnerships over time, working together to enable local residents to purchase new homes as quickly and smoothly as possible. The supporting comments received from conveyancers show how valued local land teams are, and how many go above and beyond to deliver excellent customer service.”  

Fiona Barron, Chief Executive of Land Data, said: “Local Land Charge teams are the unsung heroes of the home buying and selling process – often going out of their way to supply essential information that could affect the future use of land or development of a property. During these difficult economic times acknowledging achievement and recognising excellence in the profession, is more important than ever.” 

Since their launch in 2008, the annual Local Land Charges Awards for Excellence remain the only national awards celebrating the achievements and successes of local authority local land charges departments across England and Wales. 

Six other awards to be presented on 28th March, including the Best Performing Local Land Charges Department, the Local Authority Searches Team of the Year, Best Newcomer, Best Performing Migrated Local Authority and the Unsung Hero Award.

 

The top 10 finalists with supporting, anonymous comments from conveyancers and solicitors: 

Best in District Councils  

  • Arun District Council  

‘The whole team at Arun District Council provide an excellent service. They are extremely efficient and turn around searches very promptly, usually receiving the results the following day. Whenever there is a query the team are very helpful in assisting us. Receiving the searches back so quickly enables us to report to the client in a timely manner.’ 

  • Exeter City Council  

‘I have been doing personal searches for nearly 20 years and have always found Exeter City Council to be one of the best to work with, providing a quick turnaround time even through covid lockdown, any problems and queries are dealt with promptly and staff are always courteous and polite, I like to think we have a very good working relationship. Overall, a fine Council with fine staff.’ 

  • Gravesham Borough Council  

‘The Local Land Charges Team at Gravesham Borough Council have always been the epitome of professionalism. They are always available to help & are quick to reply to queries/questions. The Land Charges data they supply is always accurate & prompt. They are an oasis in a usually over bureaucratic industry.’ 

  • Preston City Council  

‘The Land Charges are usually returned within 2 days. The LLC officer goes above and beyond to assist with request and any queries in a timely manner. Their customer service enables me to work incredibly efficiently. They are a dream to work alongside.’ 

  • Reigate & Banstead Borough Council  

‘The LLC officers are excellent in their communication and helpfulness. Nothing is too much trouble for them to help out in anyway. Searches are returned extremely quickly and with accuracy which reflects on our working days. Both are polite and empathic in resolving any queries.’ 

  • Wealden District Council  

The whole team is fantastic, very polite and very prompt and deal with any queries extremely quickly.’ 

  • West Devon Borough Council & South Hams District Council  

‘Of all the local authorities with which I deal I can say that WDBC is amongst the fastest to turn search requests around and I've never had cause to question their accuracy. I have been dealing with [the LLC officer there] for almost 25 years and she's always most helpful. I find that I can call her if I need any help and she will always take my call or return my emails promptly. Having this level of interaction mixed in with my clients is so much easier.’ 

  • West Lindsay District Council  

‘Every time a request has been submitted, the team have been more than helpful in resolving the issue and getting across the information which, in turn, has allowed for us to get smooth transactions throughout our processes. Courteous and polite at all time.’ 

Best in Metropolitan Borough Councils  

  • Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council  

‘The team are absolutely outstanding at Barnsley Council and go above and beyond their duty to produce our searches in a timely manner. I have recently requested a number of local searches be completed before their due date so as to not hold up the purchase completing and the staff have been so pleasant and helpful in expediting such requests when they did not have to do so. They have never complained at my requests and have always been super-efficient in helping produce the searches faster than expected.’ 

  • Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council  

‘We have dealt with Dudley MBC Local Land Charges team for many years now and always found the staff to be helpful, pleasant and will go the extra mile to enable us to complete a matter as quickly as possible. Even when they were having a difficult time due to computer issues, the staff would speak to us and sort out any queries that we had.’ 

  • Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council  

‘The service they provide is outstanding, turnaround times are excellent. They are helpful, polite and very efficient, nothing is a problem to them. There are never any delays with this Council so clients know they can rely on their customers receiving the best service.’ 

Best in London Borough Councils   

  • London Borough of Barnet  

‘Astonishing service above and beyond all expectations. We needed a search returning and it was done within a few minutes, we needed another one amending after it was completed due to our error and it was amended with a smile!’ 

  • London Borough of Havering   

‘The local land searches team are amazing, they kept me informed throughout the process.  They definitely go above and beyond and have been the most helpful people.’ 

  • London Borough of Hillingdon 

‘Excellent communication and efficient service. Whenever there is a query or a problem or an extremely urgent search, they are happy to oblige.’ 

 

 

 

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