LPA delays beginning to ease, data reveals

New data on the timeliness of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) applications* has revealed that the well-documented delays affecting the process are beginning to ease.

Answering a parliamentary question from Labour MP Beth Winter regarding LPA applications, Mike Freer, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, provided monthly data for 2022 and the beginning of 2023.

Freer revealed that the average time to register and dispatch an LPA application was at its highest in October, at just over 20 weeks (102.22 working days), and this has since trended downwards to just under 18 weeks (89 working days) in February 2023.

The number of applications being dispatched in fewer than 10 weeks has remained under 1% for the last 12 months. There are, however, clear signs of improvement on the other end of the spectrum regarding the number of applications taking more than 20 weeks to be dispatched.

Specifically, 13.8% and 13.9% of applications were delayed by nearly half a year in August and October of last year respectively. This figure has since come down to an average of 6.6% over December, January, and February.

As such, as many as 94.3% of applications have been dispatched in under 20 weeks – the timeline given by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) for customers during this period of backlogs. This is up from just 86.1% in October 2022.

However, while the data does show signs of improvement, registration timelines are still a world away from the OPG’s target of eight weeks. This, said Freer, is a result of the backlog created during the pandemic. He said:

“To work towards that [eight-week] target, OPG staff are working shift patterns to register LPAs, extra staff have been hired, and process efficiencies have been implemented.”

*The full application process starts from the date an application is received by OPG (the date that OPG receives payment for the LPA application), and the application process ends on the dispatch date. A week is defined as working days, excluding weekends and bank holidays.

4 Responses

  1. I would like to know how they define ‘despatched’, as I have had LPAs returned to me, which should not have been returned. Upon receiving them, I have phoned the OPG, who have confirmed that they should not have been returned and I should send them back, hence delaying the registration process and adding additional cost to myself.

    I would also like to add that the preference on how to be contacted are completely ignored. I have requested that I be called by telephone first and only after speaking with me, should documents be returned if needed. This has only been acknowledged once and ignored all other times. This again has caused unnecessary documents being returned along with me not being able to respond promptly, due to a situation out of my control. i.e me being at my critically ill mothers bedside, which is nearly 200 miles away from where I live.

    1. I agree Stephanie. I request to be contacted by phone or email – only ever get contacted by post.

      During 1 week period in February, I received 34 Letters informing me they had received LPAs but wouldn’t be doing anything with them for 12 WEEKS! Maybe if they stopped wasting time & money posting out these letters, they’d actually be able to register the documents!

      I now insist my clients pay the OPG fees by cheque which I attach to their documents, as this seems to be the only way to ensure any action will happen at all – I had far too many ‘reminders for payment’ when including a phone number for the OPG to request payment, as it was very hit & miss as to whether they bothered to call or text the clients with a link to make payment…

      Abysmal service standards – perhaps LPAs should be outsourced to a commercial company, that would get penalised if they didn’t deliver to their set targets!!

  2. I do not relate to these figures at all. I have numerous clients who have been waiting over 12 months for registration. I have just received a returned application where the client had utilised the page from a Health & Welfare LPA in a Finance & Property LPA which was submitted TWO years ago. The Health & Welfare LPA was registered over a year ago but when I checked that same page it is wrong as it is the page from the Finance & Property LPA. This means that both will have to be re-done.

  3. OPG constantly causing problems and spending hours on the phone only to be cut off! Chris I have had a similar problem where the LLA’ were mixed up and 1 registered combined. The other was returned to me saying as it was combined cannot be registered. Still ongoing a year later!

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