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A September like no other

It has undoubtedly been a tumultuous period recently, and I think it’s completely understandable if you are feeling slightly discombobulated by everything that has happened.

Personally, I became a Grandmother and that has certainly been a new experience for me and my family. I am still in the ‘gushing about my grandchild’ phase so if we do speak, you can expect to hear plenty on that front.

However, personal joys like this one are also accompanied by a wider sadness around HM The Queen’s passing, and I know that many people will have been caught out by the impact it has had on them. The outpouring of grief and the want and need to somehow ‘do our bit’ when it comes to showing respect has been a somehow life-affirming sight.

I’m writing this on the Friday before the funeral and the queue to see the Queen lying in state has just been suspended due to sheer weight of numbers. I can’t imagine what the streets of London will be like on the day of the funeral itself.

Closer to home, we were all looking forward to meeting the membership earlier this month but due to a combination of factors, predominantly a train strike which would have impeded many members’ travel arrangements, we felt it was the right course of action to postpone these series of meetings until later in the year.

That date is now in the diary and we can now look forward to seeing you all at the members event on Wednesday 16th November, at the original venue, the Queen Mary Undercroft at the Old Royal Naval College in London followed by dinner aboard the Cutty Sark.

You can book your place by visiting the Events page here. On that page you can also see a range of events taking place over the course of this month and beyond. These are events put on by our Affiliate members, or other stakeholders, and if you want to sign up or are holding an event and want us to put it up on this page, please contact the Secretariat.

One area we have wanted to focus on recently is reaching out to the membership – and indeed conveyancing firms who are not members – about what they feel the CA’s priorities should be going forward. Can I thank all those who have completed the survey we put together to extract your views on this, and also point out that if you still wanted to contribute, you can do so by visiting here.

Please also share with as many colleagues as possible – different personnel at different firms will have a very different experience of the conveyancing sector and what is/should be happening right now. We want to hear from as many people within our industry as possible as this provides us with a wider array of views, and gives us the chance to pursue workstreams that matter to as many people/firms impacted as possible.

It has been interesting to go through some of the responses we have already received and to see some of the themes emerging. One of those has been around the pursuit of a more digital-focused conveyancing process, particularly digital signatures/ID/AML, and the like, and clearly technology and how we can utilise it will play a hugely important role in the future of our sector.

It’s also been apparent that many stakeholders feel there is an ongoing need for education, particularly amongst consumers, in terms of what the process entails/how long it is likely to take/their responsibilities, etc, specifically in terms of managing expectations.

It was somewhat disturbing to hear some recent tales of conveyancing firm staff being abused by clients, and to hear from some members that this has become more prevalent in recent years. Abuse of any kind is unacceptable and many will feel that if more people are educated about the conveyancing process and how it works/moves, then they might be less inclined to raise a voice or abuse a person who is simply doing their job.

On top of this, the work we continue to focus on with Government, HM Land Registry, the HBSG, etc, is all designed to speed up the process, but it’s also obvious from the survey that we need to be engaging more with the public about what conveyancing is, and why it currently takes the time it does to complete.

Anyway, please do fill out the survey if you’ve yet to, as this is going to inform our priority areas for 2023 and beyond. As bizarre as it seems, we are now moving towards the end of the year, and with the Autumn historically being a very busy time for the conveyancing sector, I wish you all the best with this continued busy period,  we’ll continue to work on your behalf and look forward to meeting up again in November.

Nicky Heathcote is Non-Executive Chair at the Conveyancing Association (CA)


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