Parliament Debate Will Writing

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    Last week MP Lorely Burt (Solihull) led a debate in Parliament about the Willwriting profession and asked the Society to contribute to this debate.

    The debate centred around the current self regulatory regime, the apparent problems within the industry and the future. The Society corresponded with Lorely’s administration staff and eventually spoke to Lorely herself on the telephone. The script from the debate makes interesting reading and it was recognised that the problems within the industry do not involve our Members but those who operate outside of any self regulation.

    She continued to express her dislike for statutory regulation and instead talked about the CCAS scheme under which the Society has submitted its Code of Practice for approval, expressing the benefits of ‘an approved code of practice incorporating a system of redress, professional indemnity insurance and minimum qualification’.

    Lorely acknowledged the fact that public awareness regarding the importance of having a Will is extremely low. She discussed that the Will writing profession itself cannot provide the kind of funding that is required to promote awareness and called for Government promotion.

    The response from the Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Justice, Bridget Prentice, was that their ‘position will disappoint some people in will-writing organisations, such as the IPW, as they recently wrote to MPs seeking support for regulation’. She went on to say that they ‘are committed to reducing regulatory burdens as far as possible, and we will not introduce regulation unless there is evidence of significant problems’. She recognized the benefits of the CCAS scheme as opposed to regulation stating that ‘An OFT-approved code gives the consumer a high level of service and specifically addresses areas of concern and consumer detriment in a particular sector. The OFT’s consumer code approval indicates to consumers the quality of service that they should get, and it would deliver real benefits without unnecessarily restricting the range of providers, which is crucial for consumer choice’.

    Ms. Prentice also stated that a consumer awareness program will be launched by the Government which will draw attention to the ‘reputable organi sat ions whose Members are signed up to the OFT’s consumer code approval’.

    The full script can be read on the Hansard website.

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