What is the Office of the Public Guardian?
Read on for our short guide on the Office of the Public Guardian.
1) Summary in 30 Seconds
- The Office of the Public Guardian is a government appointed body that oversees the care and welfare of vulnerable persons.
- They deal with the registration and use of Lasting Power of Attorney documents.
- They are not a court but liaise between the public and the Court of Protection, for example for the appointment of deputyship or resolving serious disputes that have arisen relating to Power of Attorney, Deputyship or Guardians.
2) What is the Public Guardian?
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is a governmental body that supervises the care of the vulnerable people, namely those who cannot care for themselves and need assistance with their finances or day-to-care. They are governed under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017. They are not a court, but work closely with the Court of Protection when an issue under their jurisdiction becomes a legal problem.
They oversee to protect the rights and wellbeing of individuals who, due to mental incapacity or some other vulnerability cannot care or speak up for themselves.
- Providing forms for registration of Power of Attorney, Deputyship or Guardian documents. If you are using a solicitor, they will provide the appropriate forms for you. If you are doing it by yourself, you will need to access them through the OPG website. In order for Power of Attorney to be usable, you will need to send the completed forms to the OPG along with the other documents they require. You then need to wait until you receive it back with the OPG’s stamp. This is your proof that the Power of Attorney has been registered. You can now make copies and assume any duties given to you under the Power.
- Helping with enquiries and providing literature relating to Power of Attorney.
- Supervision of Deputyship. The OPG supervises the Deputies that have been appointed by the court.. They are answerable to them in how you conduct your duties. They may be asked to provide financial accounts, or other specific requests. This ensures that people are properly looking after the Donor’s affairs, caring for them properly and not behaving negligently.
- Investigating reports of abuse. This could be financial misuse or even physical neglect or harm to the Donor. If you or someone who is misusing their Power of Attorney, or is being harmed in any way, you can make a formal complaint to the OPG. Of course, if they are being physically harmed or neglected, you should take whatever steps to help them immediately, such as contacting Social Services or the police.
- Taking action over concerns raised. If you are having difficulty with Power of Attorney, Deputyship or Guardianship, the OPG are one of the channels to contact to further query or concerns.
- Dispute Resolution. Family members may take issue in how an Attorney handles their duties or the decisions they are making on the Donor’s behalf. They may make a complaint to the OPG, who will then lease with the Court of Protection to further investigate the matter.
- Advocacy. The OPG looks out for the interests of individuals who are vulnerable and therefore may need an advocate to speak on their behalf to ensure their needs are being met.
We can help with Lasting Power of Attorney registration or any issues you might be having with the Public Guardian.
What happens after an L.P.A. is registered?
The OPG will return the form to you or to your attorney(s). It will be stamped on every page and it’s only valid once this is done.
How long does it take to get an L.P.A. registered?
It can up to 20 weeks to register an LPA, as long as there are no mistakes or errors in your application.