The world is changing. Digital has transformed the way many people think and act. The current Covid-19 situation has heightened this impact more so as more people have had to rely on digital channels.
They are increasingly requesting digital access to all sorts of services from banking to grocery shopping. This extends to services provided by government, such as tax returns and passport renewal. Retaining affordability whilst increasing accessibility is something that much of the public wants and expects. We cannot provide a twentieth century service in a twenty-first century world.
With this in mind, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) are working on a project to modernise lasting powers of attorney.
The MLPA project aims to:
- increase safeguards for the donor
- improve the process of making and registering a lasting power of attorney (LPA), for donors, attorneys and third parties
- Keep LPAs as affordable as possible whilst ensuring OPG is working sustainably
Although these aims appear simple, we know that they are not. To be successful in our aims, we’ll need to find a careful balance between freedom of access for everyone who wants an LPA, ease of creation, and protection against fraud, abuse and coercion.
Creating a solution together
On 19 November 2020, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) hosted a roundtable event to begin the next phase of stakeholder engagement on modernising the process of how to make and register an LPA. The roundtable was introduced by Alex Chalk MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State in the MoJ and chaired by Nick Goodwin.
Attendees from the roundtable event included (amongst others) The Law Society, UK Finance, Alzheimer’s Society and ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services). This was a fantastic opportunity to talk with our core stakeholders around the key points of modernising the LPA process.
In the spring of 2021, the Ministry of Justice intends to launch a public consultation on changes to the legal framework for LPAs. We have already hosted a series of workshops with some of our stakeholders to discuss topics including
- the role of the witness
- solicitor incentives
- the speed of service and the application process.
We will continue to run workshops, carry out further user research and engage with stakeholder groups and the public in the run up to the consultation. This approach will allow us to collect a wide range of evidence and experiences to inform us about the changes needed to build a future service that is fit for purpose and meets user needs.
If we are to achieve our aims, meet user needs and retain trust in the system, then evidence-based, open policy making will be needed. We’ll need input from the public as well as professionals from a range of sectors.
Alex Chalk MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State in the MoJ said, “Digital channels provide many opportunities to improve access and speed of service, but they also require us to think about the safeguards we put in place. In modernising lasting powers of attorney, we are aiming to find new ways of achieving the same, or better, levels of protection. This is essential to support and protect people who lack mental capacity efficiently, effectively and safely, and will be discussed and developed over the coming months.”
Nick Goodwin, Public Guardian for England and Wales, said “The roundtable to begin the discussions on modernising the lasting power of attorney process was a great success and it was a privilege to have Minister Chalk present to provide an introduction and support. The engagement we received from those present was really encouraging and provided for an interesting discussion. We are now working with key stakeholders to continue these important conversations and bring them on this journey with us.”
Find out more
For more information, details and updates on the modernising LPA work visit our new site.
If you would like to register your interest in assisting with our research and engagement, please fill in our contact form.