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Office of the Public Guardian: Powers of Attorney

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much the Office of the Public Guardian spent on training staff in the processing of registrations of lasting powers of attorney in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what training his Department provides for this purpose. (210922)

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 came fully into force in October 2007. Prior to that point training provision was the responsibility of the Public Guardianship Office—the Office of the Public Guardian's predecessor. This included training for the new processes and procedures relating to Lasting Powers of Attorney that the Act introduced.

Since October, the OPG has been responsible for meeting all ongoing training needs. Over the last 12 months, specific training on the registration of LPAs has been provided to staff in the Applications and Processing area, which deals with the registration of LPAs, and to staff in the Contact Centre, which advises clients on LPA process and the progress of individual applications.

Additionally, all staff at the OPG attended awareness seminars on the new Act and LPAs. Initial training is gained through such seminars and similar themed workshops. Practical assistance has then been provided via desk bound training and a buddy scheme whereby experienced staff “shadow” new staff members and undertake additional floor-walking. This helps to ensure that staff are familiar with new systems and processes from which they may begin to put theory into practice.

Because of the range of training offered and in particular the significant amounts of flexibly provided by desk training, it has not been possible to provide exact figures on the total cost. However, based on average staff costs and reasonable assumptions of the average amount of time per staff member spent on training, we estimate a sum of £73,680 has been spent on staff training in relation to LPAs to date.

Training is continuing to be provided as the OPG develops its processes and court decisions become known.