The Law Society is currently updating the CON 29 and CON 29O enquiry forms. Defra has announced some changes to its SuDS proposals and the impact of these changes on the new forms is being investigated.

We understand that it is important for solicitors, local authorities and others to know when the new forms will be introduced so that they can plan budgets, resources and system changes accordingly.

In our last update, we said that we would provide a further update in the new year.

We had hoped to be in a position to release the new forms shortly. Unfortunately this has not been possible for a variety of reasons and we are not able to provide a specific date for implementation of the new forms yet.

We would like thank our members, local authorities and others involved in this process for their patience and understanding. We know that it’s important to have a fixed implementation date.

The revisions to the forms mark a departure from the fragmentation in supply of the past. The aim of this revision has been to develop a system that is more unified, so that the quality and consistency of information is improved across local authorities. This will lead to a more consistent approach by solicitors. That in turn means that information provided to people and businesses who are buying, letting or renting property, and those lending money to them, will be more consistent and easier to understand.

Now that the majority of local authorities work digitally, implementing the new forms is a more complex procedure than in the past. It doesn’t just involve software suppliers building the necessary systems - that’s just the first stage in the process. Software suppliers and NLIS will also need to develop the necessary schemas. These schemas will need to be tested with local authorities. These processes could take up to six months.

We are also putting the CON 29 implementation process on a formal basis so that all parties are clear about their respective roles; the final stages of the necessary legal arrangements are being put in place now. We have finalised negotiations with some software suppliers and hope to finalise agreements with additional suppliers shortly. When these arrangements are concluded and the development of the necessary schemes are underway, we will provide a further update about go live dates.

New enquiries - interim position

Some new enquiries have been added to the forms, for example community infrastructure levy (CIL) and assets of community value. While the forms will not go live yet, if solicitors wish to raise enquiries about these matters now they should follow the format of the enquiry on the form to make it easier for respondents to answer.

Not all local authorities will have a CIL charging schedule. Solicitors may therefore wish to check the local authority’s website for further information about whether a charging schedule is in place before raising enquiries about CIL.

Guidance

We are currently working on producing guidance notes to accompany the forms and propose to publish these to coincide with the introduction of the new forms.

Contact details

For more information, contact property@lawsociety.org.uk.