Concerns about notification numbers and cash income

September 14, 2023

Thank you to everyone who has contacted us about the worrying decline in both notification numbers and cash receipts since June. We really value members sharing their concerns and experiences with us as it helps us judge what to prioritise. Obviously, we share your concerns about cash income and notifications. These are ultimately the key metrics of success for you and your teams and we know that many of you are getting questions from senior management and trustees about this.

Undoubtedly the disappointing output from the probate registry is a major factor.  In the data released to the end of June it appears they are on track to issue only 250k grants in 2023.  This is well below the 300k they expected to issue and below the expectations which will have been directly or indirectly factored into your forecasting. We continue to speak to HMCTS regularly and with the backlog at an all-time high and probably increasing these conversations are as important as ever.  The situation is in our view unacceptable, with the average time between application and grant rising to 12 weeks for digital applications and 21 weeks for paper.

A further factor that we are looking at is the impact of the decline in property transactions.  With buyers struggling to finance purchases, sales volumes have dropped significantly in the last 6 months and it seems likely this has impacted on the ability of executors to make distributions from estates. We are very grateful that Cluttons and Berrys have agreed to host a short notice update on the property market next Thursday (21st September) at 2PM.

We are working towards understanding the causes better through consultation with key partners and other stakeholders. We believe that the property market and HMCTS delays are the main issues but we are also exploring whether there are other factors at play. We will cover this in our monthly probate update on 29th September, and obviously if we have anything concrete to share before this we will do so.

 

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