LPA registration time in England and Wales now twice the official target of 40 days
Virtually all LPAs registered in 2022 have taken more than 12 weeks, compared with 1.2 per cent in 2019/20, 34 per cent in 2020/21 and 74 per cent in 2021/22, Pursglove told the House of Commons on Tuesday (21 June 2022). As recently as the 2021/22 financial year, more than 25 per cent of LPA registrations were turned around within 12 weeks and in the previous year, the figure was 66 per cent.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major contributor to the slowdown, Pursglove said. However, the OPG has hired extra staff, and the number of LPAs being registered each month is now back to what it was before the pandemic, reaching over 70,000 in March 2022. Pursglove said front-line OPG staff are 'working day and night' to reduce the backlog.
He also pointed out that a significant part 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 to allow for objections before the registration process can be completed.
'The LPA paper process is currently time-consuming and onerous and needs to be digitally updated in line with other online court systems', comments Emily Deane TEP, STEP Technical Counsel and Head of Government Affairs. 'We hope that the OPG's transition online will eventually make it more efficient, but there will inevitably be teething issues, as there were with the probate system. The significant backlog of applications will remain and may take many months to process.'
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