Latest update on changes to the Wills Notification Service

March 8, 2019

On Tuesday 5th March ILM attended the first meeting of the HMCTS (HM Courts and Tribunals Service) working group on the legacy notification service, following its announcement that Smee & Ford has been given notice on its contract. ILM is determined that any new service meets the needs of its members and that there is continuity while the new arrangements are put in place.

The meeting was very productive and ILM was able to put across the views and needs of its members, which we have established through our member survey and our own working group. HMCTS confirmed its commitment to openness throughout the process, and will be producing a public record of the meeting. We will circulate this as soon as it is available.

We were reassured that HMCTS understood our concerns and were committed to improving the service received by charities, particularly smaller charities who have not always been well served by the existing arrangements. We were also reassured that HMCTS understands the multiple roles that the existing service fulfils, and the importance of continuity of service for legacy earning charities.

It was established at the meeting that HMCTS will be considering a range of options, after which there will be a further meeting of the working group.

Ed Owen, Director of Communications at HMCTS, said:

“We held a very positive and productive first meeting with representatives of the charity sector on this issue, and we are grateful to them for their insight on key issues.

“It was an invaluable opportunity for us to hear the sector’s views on a range of matters, including the vital importance of legacies in funding charitable work and the need for continuity of service beyond the end of Smee & Ford’s current notice period.

“We were able to reflect that we are working closely with the company through this period and that HMCTS is looking to establish interim arrangements to ensure that charities continue to receive a notification service beyond July while we consider options for the longer term.”

Ed will be speaking at our annual conference on 10th May, and we are hopeful that by then the working group will have made good progress on charting a route towards a future service that meets all of our members’ needs. We will of course keep you fully updated on any developments in the meantime.

By Sonya Dallat


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