Government announces Lasting Power of Attorney safeguards

The Government has announced new safeguards for Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has set out a strategy to protect vulnerable people who have set up LPAs.

Attorneys acting under an LPA can make decisions on behalf of someone when they have lost mental capacity, including accessing their bank accounts, paying bills, making medical decisions and choices that affect their welfare.

The OPG has committed to working more closely with safeguarding partners, including the NHS and social services. Under the ‘no wrong door’ strategy, the OPG has outlined plans to listen to all safeguarding concerns, as well as acting on any signs of abuse or neglect.

The number of people who have set up LPAs has more than tripled in the last five years. The OPG recommends that all adults over the age of 18 should make an LPA as part of planning for their future.

The OPG has pledged to improve online services, making the application process for an LPA more accessible. They also intend to run a national awareness campaign, encouraging more people to sign up through a simplified process.

The OPG plays a significant role in power of attorney arrangements, administering and managing the applications, which are becoming more popular.

However, the number of applications to remove or censure attorneys rose by 71 per cent in 2017/18.  With this rise, there have also been warnings about the number of scams currently in operation. There have been cases of fraudsters targeting vulnerable people by obtaining the power of attorney under false pretences.  The new safeguarding strategy for protecting vulnerable adults is very much welcomed.