Transforming the services of the Office of the Public Guardian - enabling digital by default

Closed 26 Nov 2013

Opened 15 Oct 2013

Results Updated 21 Aug 2014

The response provides information on the next steps of the OPG's transformation programme, changes to LPA forms and outlines plans for access to the OPG registers.

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Overview

Our consultation paper ‘Transforming the Services of the Office of the Public Guardian’, published on 27 July 2012, invited comments on a range of issues related to the Office of the Public Guardian’s (OPG) aspiration to deliver its services digitally by default. In our response, published in January 2013, we set out the changes that we would complete by April 2013. This included reducing the statutory waiting period for registering a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) form from six weeks to four weeks and amending the regulations to allow court appointed deputies to change bond provider without the need to apply to the Court of Protection. However, other changes required further policy development or were dependant on the OPG replacement IT system being in place in 2014.

On 1 July 2013, the OPG, working with the Government Digital Service (GDS), launched a new digital tool (https://www.gov.uk/lasting-power-of-attorney) which enables customers to complete the majority of the LPA process online. This is a significant milestone, clearly setting out how the OPG is reconfiguring its business, which will enable it to deliver a more responsive and efficient service for its customers.

This consultation paper considers the next phase of the OPG transformation programme, as well as exploring some of the future changes that the Office of the Public Guardian may seek to make within the next few years:

  • Part 1 considers those changes we wish to make by April 2014. This includes how we might improve the design of the paper forms for creating an LPA, fees for a new combined form, access to the OPG Registers and changes to the supervision of Court appointed deputies.
  • Part 2 considers the bigger picture and our proposals for future changes, in line with the Ministry of Justice’s “Transforming Justice” agenda and the Government’s commitment for more public services to be “Digital by Default”. This section sets out initial proposals for the delivery of a fully digital method of creating and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney (e-LPAs). This will require primary legislation in the future.

 

 

These proposals are designed to ensure that the OPG is able to deal effectively with future volumes across all areas of its business and deliver services that are more effective, less costly and more responsive for its users.

However, we recognise that not all OPG customers have access to digital services. Indeed, the overarching Government strategy for Assisted Digital  sets out that when digital services are introduced, no customer should be left behind. Latest figures from Go-On UK  indicate that around 16 million adults in the UK do not have basic online skills. Elderly people, along with those on a low income and those affected by disability, are the most likely to lack these skills. This is highly relevant to the OPG, given the current demographic for people making LPAs.

Therefore, the OPG strategy for Assisted Digital seeks to ensure that customers have access to OPG digital services through alternate routes. To facilitate this, the OPG is talking with the legal sector, as well as working with several prospective partners - including community groups and local authorities - to examine other potential opportunities that exist to support customers. As an exemplar for the digital agenda, OPG is also working in partnership with other Government departments to establish shared assisted digital solutions.

This is a period of significant change for the OPG. We look forward to receiving your views about the proposals outlined in this consultation paper and we would welcome any evidence you may have about the impact of these proposals.

Audiences

  • Businesses
  • Citizens
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Litigants
  • Charities
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Legal professionals
  • Legal professional bodies

Interests

  • Property
  • Law