NEW TERMINOLOGY FOR LOCAL SEARCHES
The Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO), our industry's trade association, has issued confirmation of the change in terminology for Local Authority Searches. In October 2012, they announced that they were changing the pharse "Personal Search" to "Regulated Search" and the phrase "Official Search" to "Council Search". The statement that they have issued confirms the reasons behind these changes:
The terms 'official' and 'personal' used to describe searches provided by the public and private sectors respectively have been used for many years but are now considered outdated. As a result CoPSO and its members have adopted the terms 'council' and 'regulated' to describe searches provided by Local Authorities and Search Code subscribers respectively.
There is no basis in law for describing searches produced by a local council as 'official' and the term is pejorative in so far as it infers any other form of search is in some form 'unofficial'. Referring to such searches as 'council' searches accurately reflects what they are and the covenant that underpins them.
The term 'personal searches' harks back to the days that predate the introduction of the Search Code and when the private sector was only engaged in undertaking personal searches of public records. In today's world the private sector provides a wide range of searches that may include traditional personal searches but will also include council searches, drainage and water searches, environmental searches, flood reports - the list goes on. For Search Code subscribers what brings these searches into a common framework are the provisions of the Code and the effective governance that ensures subscribers abide by those provisions. The independent Property Codes Compliance Board (PCCB) ensures that subscribers are subjected to a rigorous enforcement regime with robust annual renewal checks, desk top and on-site inspections and occasional spot cheeks conducted by its team of three inspectors.
The Search Code provides quality and protection for consumers and their legal representatives, which are unique. This is recognised by using the term 'Regulated Searches' to describe the searches produced by Code subscribers.