Judge’s Spotlight – Tim Farmer
Founder and Managing Director of TSF Consultants, Tim Farmer, is on the judging panel for the first exclusive British Wills and Probate Awards 2018.
In this interview, he talks about his current role at TSF, what sparked his interest in the area of capacity, what challenges the industry face and how professionals in the Wills and Probate field could improve their service delivery.
Please could you provide us with an overview of your background and your current role?
I am a multi-award winning author and expert witness, specialising in the assessment of mental capacity, and the founder and managing director of the multi-award winning TSF Consultants – the UK’s leaders in the provision of mental capacity assessments to the legal and financial sectors.
I have over 25 years’ experience of working with individuals with reduced mental cognition and a registered mental health nurse. In my role as a nurse, I have worked in a number of varied and exciting areas ranging from the management of Liaison Psychiatry services, community learning disability units and specialist eating disorder to working in high secure units in Bermuda and alongside the aboriginal community teams in Australia.
Everything I do is driven by the belief that everyone has the right to be the best that they can be. In the words of Dr Seuss, “A person is a person, no matter how small”.
What initially sparked your interest in the field of capacity?
By the very nature of what I do, mental capacity has always been a central concept and idea that I have worked with and promoted. I set up TSF Consultants in 2011 because I realised that, at the time, there was no national provision of quality, mental capacity assessments. At that time the average waiting time for a mental capacity assessment was four months. I believed that those individuals who found themselves in crisis due to doubts over capacity deserved better.
How do you think professionals in the Wills and Probate sector could improve their service delivery?
I think that despite all the good work that has been done to protect the vulnerable, there is still more that can be done in identifying those at risk and ensuring the correct support is provided.
As a judge of the British Wills and Probate Awards, what will you be looking for in a winner?
I will be looking for those that ensure the individual remains the centre of the whole process. This will include how the individual is supported, empowered and where necessary protected.
How important do you think it is to recognise achievement in the sector?
I think it is hugely important. There is so much good practice that goes unrecognised. Over the years there has been a lot of bad press about unscrupulous practitioners, I think it is time we celebrated all the good work that goes on behind the scenes. I also believe that if we promote good practice in this way it is more likely to thrive and provide better outcomes all round.
What are the most prominent challenges the industry is facing at present?
I don’t think there is any getting away from the issues created by the digital world and the faceless access to goods and services. I know that a lot of those in the industry are alive to potential risks both for their clients and themselves but the issue of how to manage these risks remains open. For me, the real issue is how we assess an individual’s capacity, online and in real time. As a company, this is something we are working hard to address and hope to be able to provide a number of solutions for this particular industry in the not too distant future.