To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department will take to reduce the delays in registration with the Office of the Public Guardian.
22 September 2021
OPG has seen an increase in the time taken to process an LPA since COVID-19 began impacting the workplace. LPAs are paper documents that require a physical staff presence in an office to process and register. Although staff have been in the office throughout the pandemic, the need to comply with social distancing rules reduced the capacity to deal with LPAs.
As government restrictions for England and Wales have gradually eased, OPG have seen an increase in LPA applications which has added to pre-existing backlogs. These issues combined have generated the delays to LPA registrations, which are currently taking up to 20 weeks to process with a current year-to-date average for 2021/22 of 57 working days.
OPG are working hard to reduce the delays and clear the backlog. Steps being taken include:
- Ensuring that there are as many people in the office as possible to process LPAs in a safe way
- Allocating more staff from across the organisation to deal with the registrations of LPAs
- A recruitment drive continues with new staff due to start shortly
I expect the registration timelines to gradually decrease. I appreciate the delays are frustrating for customers and fall below the service standards that OPG aims to deliver.
As part of a wider transformation programme, my department is currently consulting on modernising LPAs, which could provide the opportunity for less reliance on paper, and significantly improve the speed of service.