How Long Does It Take The OPG To Register LPAs

How long does it take the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to register Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)? Today’s Wills and Probate reported that professionals had resorted to social media, lambasting the OPG for the length of time it takes.

While the issue has been ongoing for some time, it appears that the current coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the situation.

Today’s Will and Probate reports that the Secretary of State for Justice, The Right Hon Robert Buckland QC, was asked two weeks into the lockdown what assessment he had made of the length of time taken to process an application and what steps his department were taking to ensure there were additional resources to process those applications during the outbreak.

45 day turn around

The department supplied an answer on 12 May, which was later updated to say that the time to process applications for LPAs had increased to 45 days, thanks to the pandemic. The OPG’s target to turn around LPAs is 40 days, but many professionals reported that they do not find this to be the case, and have queried the 45-day answer as some of them have been waiting since the end of the January for the information they need.

The answer from the department read:

“The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) aims to register Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in 40 working days (this includes a statutory 4-week waiting period). OPG has seen an impact on the time taken to process an LPA since COVID-19 began affecting circumstances. As of 07/05/2020 the average time taken to process and dispatch an LPA was 45 days against the target of 40 days. As a comparison, the March average came in at 34 days, and the average of 40 days was achieved in 2019/20.

Social distancing affecting the process

“LPAs are paper documents that require a physical staff presence in an office to process and register, therefore these elements of the registration process have been affected by the need to maintain social distancing measures. Additionally, the staff numbers that are available to attend the office to carry out the physical activities are significantly reduced due to COVID-19 reasons (including shielding themselves and others).”

However, the OPG has said it is taking steps to address the issue. The measures it has put in place include providing overtime to staff who can come into the office and work through the backlog. Customers can now also pay for LPAs over the phone, and the OPG has been communicating with customers digitally, through email and phone. The Office has found a new offsite print and post solution so that staff do need to be in the office to post letters to customers.

Finders International runs regular events for public sector employees and others who work as deputies and seek LPAs for the clients in their care. You can read about the events further here.

The PADSN is an organisation which has been specifically created to help provide key assistance to public authority deputies across the UK. If you would like to learn more about THE PADSN or require assistance, you can visit our website here.  Alternatively, you can telephone: +44(0) 20 7490 4935 or email: [email protected].