We’re not making direct insinuations because we don’t have hard evidence to hand. However, one way to find the reason for an unexpected change is to ask who benefits. The Express romped in with the banner headline on May 8, 2019, ‘Probate delay: Bereaved families waiting MONTHS after technical glitch ahead of HUGE hike. This set us to wondering about timing again.
Are the Facts indisputable After the Pawpaw Struck the Fan?
There was a plan rolling out before Brexit peaked. This was to automate probate grants by privatizing them to a service provider. A steeply-increased fee would kick in at the top end of estates. This would do doubt come in handy to pay the contractor.
Moreover, there were going to job cuts representing a further saving. This seemed like a perfect bureaucratic solution and the public exchequer was no doubt rubbing its hands in glee. But that was before the pap-paw aka the people on the far side of the house demanded the right to vote.
The delay caused by this meant there was good money to be saved by rushing probate applications through in time to avoid the new supertax. If the government wanted to freeze the system there could have been few sweeter options than a computer crash described in gobbledygook and unmitigated government speak.
But of Course We Know That Is Totally Untrue
But of course we know that’s a ‘porky’ and nothing is further from the truth. However The Express is still rabbiting on almost as if it’s a conspiracy. “Grieving loved ones are seeing delays on average of seven to eight weeks after the way probate is granted transitioned to an IT system in January,” it complains.
“The wait can then be even longer for some families, with cases of delays lasting 15 weeks being reported after mistakes were made on an original application.” We have to concede the old lumbering way only took ten days to complete.
Perhaps there was some merit in shuffling civil servants in bifocals manually examining wills to spot fakes, alterations, and to ensure they met legal requirements generally?
Needless to Say the Lawyers are Chiming in Too
Ruth Pyatt, director at Solicitors for the Elderly confirmed the delay when chatting with This Is Money. “Our members have reported delays on average of 7 to 8 weeks, instead of the normal ten days from application to issue,” she mentioned.
“We’ve been informed that the delays are a result of the system being transferred to an all-digital, and newly updated computer system, which unfortunately has faced teething problems in its launch.” A Ministry of Justice spokesperson tactfully agreed “Some delays have been experienced,” they admitted.
A Penny for Your Thoughts from Avery Associates
Perhaps it’s time the government rediscovered the stepping-stone policy of always being able to take the last step back. Computer systems are supposed to be totally redundant. This means if they fail there is a backstop and we’re not talking Ireland.
Why can’t they bring back the shuffling civil servants in bifocals while they sort the mess out? Have they already sacrificed their talent on the altar of progress or is there more to this than meets the eye?