OPG Helping Consumers By Hitting Their Key Performance Indicators

As the Office of the Public Guardian publish their business plan for 2019/20, the governmental department’s facts and figures for the last year suggest this is one area of Government fulfilling their obligations.

For the year 2018/19, 89% of customers were very or fairly satisfied with the OPG’s overall services. This represents a 9% improvement on the aim of 80%. Similarly, 96% of consumers were overwhelmingly satisfied with the online services available.

As OPG services migrate online, consumers are increasingly using this format; 38% of deputies submitted their reports online and almost a third (29%) of lasting power of attorney (LPA) applications were completed using online services.

In February, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) issued a practice note providing information on a new online facility for members of the public to search its registers to find out if a person in England or Wales has an attorney or court-appointed deputy acting for them.

Anybody needing information pertaining to lasting power of attorney, enduring power of attorney and deputies can now complete an OPG100 search form. The OPG have successfully replied to requests for searches within the five day deadline.

Over the past year, there has been an influx in the number of people, in trusted positions, exploiting the people they should be protecting from financial harm.

The Government carried out almost 50% more investigations concerning abuse complaints regarding lasting powers of attorney (LPA) in 2018.

In total, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) received 5,245 claims that attorneys were abusing their donor’s finances last year – this is more claims of abuse than the OPG has ever had to deal with.

The OPG are able to reach a decision and sign off investigations within 66 working days, four days quicker than the department’s target. The target of completing a risk assessment within two days was also met.

Deputy reports were taking the OPG 11 working days to review, bettering the 15 day target. However, it was taking the OPG 42 days to get a deputy report.

The average time to complete any work the OPG is responsible for in Public Guardian recommendations if the court is needed was achieved a day prior to the average and within 34 working days. Where court was not needed, the work was completed within 11 working days, smashing the 25 working day target.

Alan Eccles CBE, Chief Executive and Public Guardian for England and Wales, commented:

“People today are living longer than ever. In the UK there are 850,000 people currently living with dementia. This number is likely to rise to over 1 million by 2025 and to 2 million by 2051. The Stroke Association confirms there are over 1.2 million stroke survivors living in the UK. Headway, the brain injury association, recorded a 10% increase in admissions for acquired brain injuries between 2005 to 2006 and 2016 to 2017. With figures like these, there will be a growing demand for our services.

“Year-on-year, we have managed record numbers of lasting powers of attorney (LPAs). In our first full year, we handled over 90,000 applications. By the end of 2018, over 3.4 million LPAs and 150,000 enduring powers of attorneys (EPAs) were on our registers. At the same time, we have continued to supervise about 59,000 court-appointed deputies.

“Our transformation programme – OPG 2025 – is about changing the way we provide services. It will help us meet the growing needs of our users, partners and stakeholders. It will make sure our users experience a better level of support. Overall, it will help us to respond to the changing needs of society. This is so we can better support adults at risk and create high-quality services that are accessible and affordable.

“To make sure we do this work right, this year we’ll continue to pay more attention to the changing needs and experiences of our users.”

Have you been impressed with the services offered by the OPG in the past year?