Registration fees charged by the Office of the Public Guardian have been found to be excessive.
Government departments can only charge fees to cover what are known as operating costs. In other words, they cannot make a profit or a surplus.
However, over recent years, the OPG has introduced a number of efficiencies into how they register Powers of Attorney documents. These have brought the internal costs of registering an individual document significantly below the fee which is charged to the donor or attorney for registering that document. It now transpires that no legislation was passed by Government to allow the OPG to maintain its fees and it has been accused of charging excessive fees over what it is allowed by law to do.
It should have reduced registration fees to meet the reduced internal operating costs, but that did not happen.
The result of this is that refunds to the tune of an estimated £89 million will be made to thousands of clients affected, although specific details how the refunds will be made is to follow ‘in due course’.