The institution has tracked the ownership of land and property across England and Wales since it was established in 1862.
The government is looking to create a ‘service delivery company’ which will take over its property registration responsibilities. The consultation document said this would be achieved by selling off some of the organisation to a private company or by creating a government-owned company which would be run by the private sector on a day-to-day basis.
In either circumstance a separate Office of the Chief Land Registrar would be created and held under full government control to protect the integrity of the register and carry out fee-setting and regulatory functions.
The eight week consultation has been launched by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, was critical of the move and said any benefits would be minimal.
“There is absolutely no evidence that this would improve services at what is a well-respected and trusted 150-year-old institution, and senior managers have so far failed to make a coherent case,” he said.
“Any perceived benefits in taking what is inevitably the first step towards privatising the Land Registry are overwhelmingly outweighed by the huge risks involved.”
Business and enterprise minister Michael Fallon said: “Land Registry provides a number of services through digital channels, and is now looking to become a leader in digitising land and property services and in the management and re-use of land and property data.
“I am committed to enabling Land Registry to achieve this in the best way possible. Creating a delivery-focused company with the ability to operate more flexibly is a key part of this.
“I consider that the proposal to create a delivery-focused company would not only achieve this but would also continue to provide the assurance which is critical to underpinning the property market.”