HC Deb 26 October 1999 vol 336 c856W
Mr. Robertson

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is the constitution of the Public Trust Office; who are its members and officers; to whom it is accountable; how it calculates its charges; and if he will make a statement. [95575]

Jane Kennedy

The Public Trust Office was established as an executive agency on 1 July 1994. Its purpose is to ensure the effective management of private assets and financial affairs entrusted to its care. This includes the administration of private trusts, the supervision or management of the financial affairs of mentally incapable persons and the care of funds paid into court.

The responsible minister is the Lord Chancellor. The head of the agency is the Chief Executive who holds the statutory offices of Public Trustee and Accountant General of the Supreme Court. The Public Trust Office employs around 580 staff.

The Chief Executive is responsible for decisions relating to the day to day management of the Public Trust Office and is directly accountable to the Lord Chancellor for the effective and efficient management of the Public Trust Office.

The Public Trustee is required by statute to cover the cost of work related to the administration of trusts. Fees are fixed by the Treasury and sanctioned by the Lord Chancellor.

In relation to mental health work, the Public Trust Office charges a fee calculated against annual income after certain deductions e.g. non-taxable social security benefits.

The Court Funds Office recovers its costs out of income from investments which are managed by the National Investments and Loans Office in accordance with the provisions of Section 39(2)(b) of the Administration of Justice Act 1982.