Anglia Research Services

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Anglia Research Services's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Anglia Research Services is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

www.angliaresearch.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | ANGLIA RESEARCH SERVICES
Founder Peter Turvey
A typical day in the office
at Anglia Research
Anglia Research connect unclaimed assets with entitled
owners, chiefly as a result of people dying intestate
and without known relatives. Working within the
unregulated and highly competitive probate research industry,
they aim to differentiate themselves from the crowded field
by an unwavering focus on probity. They ensure that as many
of their staff as possible are independently regulated; will take
cases of estate misdistribution to the courts; and work alongside
Queen’s Counsel to reform the sector. Founder Peter Turvey
tells
TheParliamentary Review
more.
After the first episodes of the BBC’s
Heir Hunters
aired in 2007, amateurs flocked
to the probate research industry, eager for the promise of profits to be made. I had
been working as a professional genealogist since the 1970s, and by 2007 we were
a large and well-established company. We were in a strong position.
Nevertheless, we began to think of concrete ways in which we could distinguish
ourselves from our competitors.
In an unregulated industry, in which “accreditations” can be bought off the shelf, it
seemed to us that there were two worthwhile assurances we could offer potential
clients: independent regulation and meaningful accreditation.
This was a strategic decision we made almost a decade ago, and as a result today
we employ more accredited genealogists and legally qualified and independently
regulated staff than any other UK probate research company.
FACTS ABOUT
ANGLIA RESEARCH SERVICES
»Founder: Peter Turvey
»Established in 1979
»Based in Ipswich
»Services: Probate genealogy,
asset reunification and legal
support services
»No. of employees: Over 50
Anglia Research
Services
27ANGLIA RESEARCH SERVICES |
CIVIL SOCIETY
Building a culture that prioritises
accountability to an independent
regulator certainly adds an extra
layer of protection for our clients,
but there’s something even more
fundamental at stake.
A culture of accountability
In a world in which it’s becoming
ever harder to distinguish between
what’s true, what’s hype and what is
downright false, we choose to focus
on accountability, not least because we
hold others to account.
When an heir hunter makes a
mistake, the rightful beneficiary to
an intestate estate can lose out to
the tune of hundreds of thousands
of pounds. It might be thought
that, when it happens, and given
documentary evidence of the correct
entitlement, mistakes can easily be
rectified. Not so. It can take years of
litigation to successfully challenge a
wrongfuldistribution.
Until we stepped in, overlooked or
missed beneficiaries had no-one to
fight their corner. So far our clients
have achieved a near-100 per cent
success rate when disputes are taken
to court.
Extrapolating from the recent 40
cases of misdistribution of which I’m
aware, and considering that many go
undiscovered, I would hazard a guess
that at least 100 intestate estates are
wrongly distributed every year. How
could the figure be so high?
Some of these wrongly distributed
estates are the handiwork of the
amateurs that the BBC’s programme
invited into our industry. But there’s
another, more troubling, factor that
exacerbates the problem: increasingly,
local authorities are ignoring
government guidance about the
procedure they should follow when
handling an intestacy.
Bypassing competition
When an intestate estate is valued at
over £500 and there are no obvious
relatives, government guidance
states that it should be referred to
the Bona Vacantia Division within the
Government Legal Department. From
here, it is publicly advertised on their
unclaimed estates list, where next of kin
might see it. This is also the first port of
call for us, as the list is our starting point
in the race to find entitled relatives
ahead of ourcompetitors.
Outside the jurisdiction of the Duchies of
Cornwall and Lancaster, this procedure
held sway until about 2014. Now, our
most recent figures, from September
2018, suggest that over 45 per cent
of local authorities are bypassing the
procedure entirely and instead passing
information about local intestacies
privately to heir hunters. This lucrative
information is being handed privately to
preferred heir hunters with no thought
given to how the lack of transparency
and competition affects the relatives.
The BVD’s unclaimed estates list
is publicly available and promotes
competition between rival probate
genealogists, meaning that relatives
pay lower finder’s fees. However, when
local authorities pass exclusive leads
to heir hunters they achieve exactly
the opposite effect, locking out any
possibility of competition andoversight.
Recognition from
grateful clients
It can take
years of
litigation to
successfully
challenge a
wrongful
distribution
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | ANGLIA RESEARCH SERVICES
Founder Peter Turvey
A typical day in the office
at Anglia Research
Anglia Research connect unclaimed assets with entitled
owners, chiefly as a result of people dying intestate
and without known relatives. Working within the
unregulated and highly competitive probate research industry,
they aim to differentiate themselves from the crowded field
by an unwavering focus on probity. They ensure that as many
of their staff as possible are independently regulated; will take
cases of estate misdistribution to the courts; and work alongside
Queen’s Counsel to reform the sector. Founder Peter Turvey
tells
TheParliamentary Review
more.
After the first episodes of the BBC’s
Heir Hunters
aired in 2007, amateurs flocked
to the probate research industry, eager for the promise of profits to be made. I had
been working as a professional genealogist since the 1970s, and by 2007 we were
a large and well-established company. We were in a strong position.
Nevertheless, we began to think of concrete ways in which we could distinguish
ourselves from our competitors.
In an unregulated industry, in which “accreditations” can be bought off the shelf, it
seemed to us that there were two worthwhile assurances we could offer potential
clients: independent regulation and meaningful accreditation.
This was a strategic decision we made almost a decade ago, and as a result today
we employ more accredited genealogists and legally qualified and independently
regulated staff than any other UK probate research company.
FACTS ABOUT
ANGLIA RESEARCH SERVICES
»Founder: Peter Turvey
»Established in 1979
»Based in Ipswich
»Services: Probate genealogy,
asset reunification and legal
support services
»No. of employees: Over 50
Anglia Research
Services
27ANGLIA RESEARCH SERVICES |
CIVIL SOCIETY
Building a culture that prioritises
accountability to an independent
regulator certainly adds an extra
layer of protection for our clients,
but there’s something even more
fundamental at stake.
A culture of accountability
In a world in which it’s becoming
ever harder to distinguish between
what’s true, what’s hype and what is
downright false, we choose to focus
on accountability, not least because we
hold others to account.
When an heir hunter makes a
mistake, the rightful beneficiary to
an intestate estate can lose out to
the tune of hundreds of thousands
of pounds. It might be thought
that, when it happens, and given
documentary evidence of the correct
entitlement, mistakes can easily be
rectified. Not so. It can take years of
litigation to successfully challenge a
wrongfuldistribution.
Until we stepped in, overlooked or
missed beneficiaries had no-one to
fight their corner. So far our clients
have achieved a near-100 per cent
success rate when disputes are taken
to court.
Extrapolating from the recent 40
cases of misdistribution of which I’m
aware, and considering that many go
undiscovered, I would hazard a guess
that at least 100 intestate estates are
wrongly distributed every year. How
could the figure be so high?
Some of these wrongly distributed
estates are the handiwork of the
amateurs that the BBC’s programme
invited into our industry. But there’s
another, more troubling, factor that
exacerbates the problem: increasingly,
local authorities are ignoring
government guidance about the
procedure they should follow when
handling an intestacy.
Bypassing competition
When an intestate estate is valued at
over £500 and there are no obvious
relatives, government guidance
states that it should be referred to
the Bona Vacantia Division within the
Government Legal Department. From
here, it is publicly advertised on their
unclaimed estates list, where next of kin
might see it. This is also the first port of
call for us, as the list is our starting point
in the race to find entitled relatives
ahead of ourcompetitors.
Outside the jurisdiction of the Duchies of
Cornwall and Lancaster, this procedure
held sway until about 2014. Now, our
most recent figures, from September
2018, suggest that over 45 per cent
of local authorities are bypassing the
procedure entirely and instead passing
information about local intestacies
privately to heir hunters. This lucrative
information is being handed privately to
preferred heir hunters with no thought
given to how the lack of transparency
and competition affects the relatives.
The BVD’s unclaimed estates list
is publicly available and promotes
competition between rival probate
genealogists, meaning that relatives
pay lower finder’s fees. However, when
local authorities pass exclusive leads
to heir hunters they achieve exactly
the opposite effect, locking out any
possibility of competition andoversight.
Recognition from
grateful clients
It can take
years of
litigation to
successfully
challenge a
wrongful
distribution
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | ANGLIA RESEARCH SERVICES
The increasing numbers of cases of
misdistribution and of exorbitant
charges that pass across my desk are a
direct result of local councils ignoring
government guidance, and it’s clear
why – it’s the exclusivity that’s the
problem. When probate genealogists
work competitively, they are keen to
monitor the work of rivals for errors and
omissions, helping to ensure accurate
research results. What’s more, when
they work in competition, they are of
course also motivated to lower theirfees.
Working towards reform
I didn’t arrive at this analysis overnight.
It is the result of four years’ research.
We took advice from specialist public
law, probate and competition law
counsel, and had extensive discussions
with chief executives, heads of legal
departments and senior auditors in local
government. Perhaps more importantly,
on QC’s advice, we sent Freedom of
Information Act requests to hundreds of
local authorities in England and Wales
in order to build up a detailed picture
of what was happening andwhy.
We’ve published our research findings,
as available on our website under
“Fairness Campaigns.”Questions have
been raised in the House of Commons
and we have made representations to
the Government Legal Department,
asking them to reinforce their guidance.
We have also devised a practical
solution to the problem, designed
to ensure that every intestacy case is
dealt with correctly, whatever its value,
while maintaining competition and
oversight. Of course, it cannot match
the effectiveness of a BVD referral,
but when a case cannot be referred to
BVD, it’s a safe option. According to the
Empty Homes Network “it is hard to see
the downside for public authorities and
beneficiaries” in the solution we suggest.
When our industry began to change
in 2007, we responded by focusing
on concrete, quantifiable solutions
that enhanced our reputation for
probity and reliability. We’ve taken
the same approach to the other
challenges we’ve met across the
years.If procedures are questionable,
we expose them. When something is
unlawful, we challenge it. Facts and
fairness matter. Probate research is
unregulated, but there is no need to
let it degenerate into lawlessness.
If procedures
questionable,
we expose
them. When
something is
unlawful, we
challenge it
Recognising excellence
through history prize at
University of Suffolk
29CENTRE FOR COMPETITIVENESS N I |
CIVIL SOCIETY
Director and Chief Executive
BobBarbour
Belfast City Hall
The Centre for Competitiveness is an independent, private
sector, not-for-profit, non-partisan, membership organisation.
Established in 1990 in partnership with seed funding support
from the Department of the Economy and the International Fund
for Ireland, its mission is to actively support the development
of an internationally competitive economy in Northern Ireland
through innovation, productivity and quality excellence. Director
and Chief Executive Bob Barbour tells the
Review
more.
The centre is governed by a private sector board of directors and is self-funding through
membership and the provision of services. Over the years, we have established a
portfolio of unique international strategic partnerships including universities to
support our activities to ensure that our services to members and clients are at the
leading edge in competitiveness principles and practices. We are staffed by a small
resource pool of highly qualified professionals from senior positions from industry
who deliver our services to the public, private and the voluntary sectors.
Our background
Northern Ireland is relatively less competitive than the other UK regions because
of historical and current difficulties dominated by politics, size of the public
sector and location. The province receives relatively large income transfers from
central government, so residents can enjoy the same living standards as other
parts in the more competitive regions of the same country. An economic baseline
analysis in 1995 carried out by Michael Porter of Harvard University summarised
the economy in Northern Ireland as dominated by the public sector with an
FACTS ABOUT
CENTRE FOR
COMPETITIVENESS N I
»Director and Chief Executive:
Bob Barbour
»Founded in 1990
»Based in Belfast
»Services: Innovation,
productivity and EFQM quality
excellence
»No. of employees: 7, with 8
associates
»www.cforc.org
Centre for
Competitiveness N I

www.angliaresearch.co.uk

The Parliamentary Review Publication, in which this article originally appeared, contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster