My Lords I declare my interest as chair of the National Mental Capacity Forum, and in that role I have been working closely with the Office of the Public Guardian.
For some time the Public Guardian has wanted to move away from the wet signature requirement for the creation of lasting power of attorney for both health and welfare, and property and financial affairs decisions, as laid out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This amendment would allow that process to be purely electronic and carried out online, with the safeguards it outlines. A digital process should now be secure given the advances in technology since the original provision was made, and the amendment would simply allow the Secretary of State to make appropriate regulations rather than creating the process.
As the hour is late I am inclined to ask the Minister, if he has any reservations about this amendment and the powers it would give to the Secretary of State, to curtail the debate by meeting with me and the Public Guardian before Report. However, I am rather pre-empting the Minister’s decision. If he decides to accept my amendment, that would be just wonderful. I beg to move.