Registers of Scotland (RoS) is responsible for keeping public registers of land, property and other legal documents in Scotland. Our work secures people’s rights in land and property.

In 2019, we set out a transformative strategy outlining why cloud computing could support our digital vision for registration. We recognised the opportunity for cloud computing to help support the digital strategies which were directly influencing our corporate plan objectives in sustainability, new services and tackling our arrear. In 2020, we successfully launched our first cloud-hosted register, marking a step-change for registration in Scotland. 

Our registers are data sets of national importance. With the oldest register dating back to 1617, ensuring their ongoing accessibility and resilience is crucial.  

Traditionally our registers have been paper based and RoS is on a mission to innovate. We are committed to being a digital registration business trusted for our integrity. The cloud project is the latest in a series of digital improvements which embody our values and the standards we expect from our registers – honesty, integrity, impartiality and objectivity.  We aim to make the world’s oldest land registers into some of the most modern.

Our task was to transfer a register to the cloud which sat on a 25-year-old system with disparate archives that couldn’t evolve at the speed required for the industry. We identified Platform and Function as a Service (PaaS/FaaS) as our cloud delivery model to simplify and accelerate RoS’ bespoke software development. 

To ensure a smooth transition to cloud, preparation was key. This meant building up teams and in-house systems to be “cloud ready”. We selected one of our less accessed registers so we could test our learning before expanding into higher impact areas.  We also used a maturity framework to govern both our register and archive journeys. This ensured that each milestone was fully assessed and that we didn’t go beyond our technical abilities or organisational risk appetite. 

The result is a major step-change for registration in Scotland.  We have a secure and resilient register which can evolve and provides a common blueprint for any future cloud work.  

For the organisation, this means we can make better use of structured data, offering greater automation and flexibility. Essential to a register is its archive and we have improved security, accessibility, and sustainability for core services by migrating over 54 million deeds and images to the cloud. For our customers, this simplifies the registration application journey, creates greater opportunities to self-serve information, offers greater visibility and speeds up processing times.  

The transformation continues as we progress further digital improvements so that we can work towards making the world’s oldest land registers into some of the most modern.