The Conveyancing Association (CA) used its annual conference to outline a number of process improvements, which it believes are either available already or will be imminently, to help speed up the sale and purchase of property.

The CA looked at various process improvements it anticipates will make a significant difference for property market stakeholders.

In addition, organisations such as HM Land Registry, the government, and the Home Buying & Selling Group (HBSG) outlined key projects which will also provide improvements.

Mike Harlow, deputy chief executive and deputy chief of Land Registrar, detailed its launch of the Digital Registration Service, which applications can now be placed through.

He also outlined the introduction of both witnessed electronic signatures and Qualified Electronic Signatures.

Matt Prior from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities revealed its current thinking around improving digitisation and digitalisation of the process, as well as its ongoing work exploring the use of reservation agreements, and its support for the Buying & Selling Property Information form (BASPI) and Property Logbook.

The conference also included a panel debate, looking at how member firms supported their staff during the pandemic, and the range of support available to conveyancing firms, including via Law Care and the ‘Be Kind We Care’ initiative.

The conference also had an exhibition space with exhibitors including many CA Affiliate members, such as Groundsure, Future Climate Info, InCase, LMS, Dual and Howden.

Nicky Heathcote, non-executive chair of the CA, said: “Part of our focus with this year’s conference was to look at the initiatives, workstreams and progress that is being made right now in order to produce a much more efficient, and less stressful, home buying and selling process.

“To that end, we were delighted to welcome the government, HM Land Registry, the Home Buying and Selling Group and many other stakeholders, to set out the measures which are already making a real difference, and will do so in the months and years ahead.

“Digital ID, electronic signatures, upfront information via the BASPI are here and being used already, and they will grow in importance as more firms and stakeholders take them up.

“It was also important to offer a view on the regulatory situation and how that ties in with the future for conveyancing firms, plus an incredibly useful session on how firms have coped during the pandemic and what they can do to ensure the ongoing mental well-being of their staff, through what has been a very challenging period.

“Attendance at the conference was excellent and we would like to thank every single person, firm, and organisation that came to the ICC to support the CA, and all those who took part in the sessions.

“I hope you gained as much out of it as we did at the association.

“There is much to be positive about and we will continue to focus on those projects and workstreams which are going to deliver the most benefits to our member firms and their customers.”