The average time it takes for The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to register Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) has increased to more than 50% from 40 to 82 days, according to a written Parliamentary response from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) Tom Pursglove.
Secretary of State Tom Pursglove told the House of Commons (on 21st June 2022) that virtually all completed LPAs registered in 2022 took the period of “more than 12 weeks”, compared to the 1.2% in 2019-20, 34% in 2020-21 and 74% in 2021-22. In the 2021-22 financial year, more than 25% of LPA registrations had been turned around within 12 weeks, and in the previous year, this was at 66%. – gov.uk
Backlog Of Applications
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an overall backlog and slowdown of progress in a range of fields. This has certainly contributed to the slowdown of the turnaround of LPAs. As a result of this, the OPG has expanded their workforce; Pursglove has said the OPG staff at the forefront are ‘working day and night’ to reduce this backlog, as the number of LPAs that are being registered each month is back to the amount it was before the pandemic, reaching over 70,000 in March 2022. – UK Parliament
A large fraction of the processing time is due to the OPG’s statutory obligation to carry out checks on receipt of the LPA before issuing a notice and to wait four weeks allowing for any objections to the registration process to be completed.
“The backlog of applications will remain”
Emily Deane, TEP, STEP Technical Counsel and Head of Government Affairs, has highlighted the importance of the LPA process becoming “digitally updated in line with other online court systems”. Government officials have the hope that the OPG’s transition online should push them to become more efficient, despite the fact that inevitable issues will arise in the early days of the transition, as is the case with the probate system. Deane says, “the significant backlog of applications will remain and may take many months to process.
Despite the backlog of LPAs, this does not diminish the importance of partaking in the application process. If anything, the fact that the number of registered LPAs has increased drastically in recent years to more than 6 million, highlights the importance of appointing one.
Lasting Powers of Attorney Larcomes Solicitors
Putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) whilst you still have the mental capacity to sign one – even if it is not needed now – can take away all that stress and worry. The reason is that the document remains valid if you later lose capacity and empowers your Attorneys to do what you yourself could have done if you were still able.
Our Wills and Probate team recently wrote an article on the stages of court protection and how our specialist solicitors can provide you with expert guidance on all areas of mental capacity, court of protection and lasting powers of attorney. Read the full article here.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) provides a framework to protect vulnerable people over the age of 16 who cannot make their own decisions. If someone cannot make a certain decision for themselves, they are said to lack the capacity to make the decision. People working with or caring for adults who lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves have a legal duty to consider the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice.
Our experienced Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors can provide the expertise and guidance surrounding all areas of LPA and the Mental Capacity Act; please call on 023 9244 8100 or make an online enquiry to find out how we can help you.