The Government accepted the recommendations in the OFT's report, "Property Searches—A Market Study", in a response published in December 2005. The study provided two options for the pricing access to local authority (LA):
(a) that central Government set uniform fees (this could be at a price that reflects the costs of an efficient LA or an average LA or alternatively the fee could be set at zero); or
(b) that LAs set their own fees at a level that covers their costs.
The Government's response stated that they favoured the option of allowing LAs to set their own fees but wanted to ensure it was a valid option before any final decision. This decision would be informed through the collection and analysis of detailed information on all the elements that make up a property search. The consultation paper, "HIP Update: Toward