An arrears problem grew in the Land Registry during the 1980s due to cutbacks in staff numbers under the embargoes which then applied to public service staffing numbers in general. Over the last number of years steps have been taken to address the problem. Staff members have been increased and an ambitious five-year information technology development plan has been embarked on. As a result of these measures the level of arrears has been reduced.
However, in order to put the registry on a footing where it would have maximum flexibility to respond to its customers' needs, the Government decided that the Land Registry and Registry of Deeds should be reconstituted as a commercial semi-State company. This decision is in the course of implementation. An interim board has been appointed to assist and advise me in preparing the registries for reconstitution. Vesting will take place as soon as the practical steps needed to prepare the registries have been taken and the necessary legislation can be prepared and enacted.