Trust Office `failing'

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The Independent Online
MENTALLY-ILL people could be conned out of their wealth unless the Public Trust Office, charged with protecting their pounds 1.45bn interests, improves its performance, the Commons Public Accounts Select Committee warned yesterday.

Despite being warned to buck up five years ago, the office had "deteriorated markedly" in key aspects of its job, the committee said. Under the Lord Chancellor's Department, the office is charged with protecting the finances of 22,000 mentally-ill people.

The office charges patients pounds 11.5m a year for monitoring private receivers appointed by the courts. But the committee found that in 90 per cent of cases, it obtained their accounts late, in 40 per cent it did not get them at all, and in only a third of cases did it carry out a review within four weeks, its target.