IPSA non-compliant Local Authority Searches survey

The Association of Independent Personal Search Agents (IPSA) has today completed a survey of Local Authorities it accuses of producing searches that are not HIP compliant.

Christian Lister, IPSA Chairman and Steve Davies IPSA CEO have both highlighted the problem of non-compliance and the risk to consumers to the relevant industry authorities.

Christian outlined the issues: “We have for some time tried to highlight this very serious problem with the authorities and it has come to the point where IPSA and its members believe the promises of action are little more than platitudes. It’s with this in mind we will highlight, in the interest of consumer protection, a list of Local Authorities which sell non HIP compliant searches to consumers for profit. The list will be available from the website tomorrow.”

‘It is worth noting’ states Steve Davies, ‘ that independent search agents are regulated, monitored and audited on an ongoing basis and risk losing their livelihood if found not to comply with HIP regulations. The same high standards are the very least the consumer should expect from a local council’.


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15 Responses to “IPSA non-compliant Local Authority Searches survey”

  1. |Lets see the list of LA’s not providing HIP compliant searches then and then lets look at the private search companies who are not purchasing the data required for a HIP compliant search and selling to consumers at a ‘vast’ profit but stating that the information has been purchased from the LA. If we’re naming and shaming lets do both sides. Some companies declare on their websites that search prices have increased by around £40 because they have to purchase data but evidence proves that they don’t buy it. Is anyone enforcing this – certainly not although the relevand bodies have been informed.

  2. I totally agree with Annoyed’s comments. Christian Lister should do a survey of his own members and he will find that 100% of their searches are non-HIP compliant. Why, because they don’t even understand what is supposed to go in the search result and think they are getting information from sources to answer questions when that source is not the correct one. Luckily for the consumer 99% of solicitors will reject personal search company searches and so they get a proper search from the local authority covered by proper insurance and not the mickey mouse ones that PS companies offer that has more get out clauses than Katie Prices contract with ITV this weekend.Isn’t it about time Christian Lister just admitted his band of cowboys are not adequately knowledgeable enough to produce a proper search and their only interest is profit? Roll on the general election and all these fast buck merchants vanishing to the next get rich scheme.

  3. This is quite obviously spin in support of personal search companies, so where is the LAs names, mmmmmmmmm.

    The HIP is going to go shortly, along with personal search companies and the work will be left to professionals.

  4. The list of the specific local authorities can be found on this post.

    Non HIP Compliant Local Authority Searches

  5. Joyce or is it Jan Boothroyd??

  6. Joyce, be careful what you wish for.

  7. I would like to know where James Taylor gets His information from.

    99% of Solicitors reject personal searches? I have seen no evidence of this
    Micky mouse insurance poicies? – The majority of policies provided by the personal search industry are far and away more comprhensive that the cover offered by a Local Authority. Have you ever tried getting a straight answer from a Local Authority never mind any monies! Talk about pot kettle black.

    Yes the personal search industry exist to make a profit as all business do but to imply that they do this to the detriment to the consumer is hypocritical at best.
    Why is it that every Local Authority in the country has attempted to profit from the new HIP regulations by making unreasonable charges for information required?
    They are attempting to drive up prices and to restrict competition. These practices are definatly not in the interest of the consumer.

    My experience with “Christian Listers band of cowboys” is that invariablly they are more knowledgable on the extrapilation and provision of information required for the CON29R than the “professionals” in the Local Authorities Land Charges Departmet.

  8. If my name was Jan, i would of typed Jan. A shame you never did this ‘Sue me’.

    Justin, believe me personal search agents will be gone quicker than they appeared. Not a bad thing in my opinion. Lets hope the IPSA research is more accurate than some search agents searches

  9. It’s a shame that IPSA didn’t produce a list of their and other PS agents that aren’t carrying ANY INSURANCE to cover the searches since APRIL 2009!!!

    No complaints procedures!

    No terms and conditions!

    Question 1 answered incorrectly the majority of the time!

    Since when are all PSs regulated, they only do it voluntary, no training and tomorrow you can be a PS!

    Have a look at what training there is, a couple of days and away you go!

  10. Interesting comments; ‘personal search agents will be gone quicker than they appeared’, ‘mickey mouse insurance’, ‘vast profits’, ‘training’, ‘regulation’.

    It may surprise you to learn that personal search agents have been around for over 30 years

    As for ‘mickey mouse insurance’ I wonder how much underwriting experience the author of that comment has!; the insurance that PS agents provide pays out ‘in any liability of any type’; there aren’t any ‘get out’ clauses. Unless you think that having to prove you made a loss is a getout clause.

    And lets not forget, Schedule 6 doesn’t just apply to search companies it applies to all con29 providers. Tell me, how many councils out there provide insurance that meets the requirements of the Hip Regs.

    As for paying for information, please explain to me why I should pay to get responses from the council that simply tell me to do it myself; see the examples below.

    Answer to Q1.1h: ‘The council do not hold these records in a useable format. You should check with the vendor or developer for proof of compliance with Building Regulations’

    or

    Also in response to Q1.1h: ‘The Council does not hold records relating to its competitors’.

    or

    In answer to 3.6: ‘Unfortunately we do not have the information available in a suitable format to be able to answer your query regarding traffic schemes’

    or

    In answer to 3.3: ‘Please refer to Water Company’

    You speak of the ‘vast profits’ made by Search Compnanies. Can you explain to me why two similarly sized councils, operating similar electronic systems have charges for information that differ by over £100; or how one council can provide full searches for less than it charges for the information! Or why another council who on finding that they had been overcharging by around £80.00 per search for years chose to ignore it. Or why one Building Control Partnership provides information to the council for £16 whilst I have to pay £30 plus vat.

    As for training, I have attended councils where the people staffing the Land Charges Department were temps, or members of staff from other departments with no training at all.

    You’re right in one thing. The personal search industry is not perfect but we are trying to do something about it. What are the Councils doing?

    David Kaye
    IPSA Founder

  11. The differering charges I would expect are because of the Charging Regs forced upon LA’s by government, Similar sized Councils may have a completely different structure to each other. As far as the ‘training’ is concerned, we allow a maximum of 12 months to become a fully competent search person. They start doing the ‘easy’ bits and progress slowly to ensure that they are fully aware of the impact of incorrect research and are shadowed by another person. I understand Searchtrain charge £900 for a 3 day session which I think is expensive and quite a quick training course. I know I couldn’t have learned my ‘trade’ in 3 days.

  12. Dear Annoyed,

    The councils in question are not only similar in sized but also have a similar structure and the methods of retrieving data for searches are also ‘very similar’.

    As for the ‘Charging Regs being forced upon LA’s by the government’ you would expect that to be the case I agree. But the reality is that it was the LAs who lobbied government for them.

    Not only that but the original document put forward by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting on which the KPMG report and subsequent Charging Regs were based, was actually put together by Kettering Council.

    Add to that the fact that there is documentary evidence of a meeting between representatives of local and central government holding a meeting at which they agreed to implement the cost recovery option rather than the marginal or nil cost options put forward in the OFT report. Nothing wrong there you might think but when that meeting pre-dates the setting up of the Conveyancing and Property Searches Working Group, (the body set up to investigate and recommend the best option that would be in the interests of all parties including the consumer), it does rather make one think stitch-up!!

    With reference to your comments regarding Searchtrain I agree entirely. I couldn’t learn the job in 3 days either and £900 for three days training is extortionate.

    Lucky that the Searchtrain programme doesn’t only last 3 days then isn’t it!!

    The workshop is merely the first of a series of elements; others include practical exercises, live searching, case assessment and distance learning; it also includes a telephone helpline and unlimited email and telephone support forever.

    The £900 fee is for the entire package not just the 3 day workshop.

    David Kaye
    IPSA Founder

  13. Annoyed and David.

    As a general rule we do not include information about training providers and courses (ie names, fees etc) we have had to do this as otherwise we just receive a surge of trainining providers looking for free advertising. Our course is £xxx, our email is …… Which we dont allow. Funny as they dont then want to debate the subject.

    It was our mistake as we did not spot ‘annoyed’s’ original direct reference so it is only correct that David was allowed to respond to this.

    If someone would be kind enough to forward a link to the OFT report we can include this on the article

  14. Great site i like it

  15. accounting recruitment Says:

    Great information!!! This is a great review, but I wonder if you really thought about what you were writing when you said “We have for some time tried to highlight this very serious problem with the authorities and it has come to the point where IPSA and its members believe the promises of action are little more than platitudes. It’s with this in mind we will highlight”. Thanks 😉

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