The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is responsible for supervising deputies and it has an important role in investigating allegations of wrong-doing by both deputies and attorneys. The OPG also keeps registers of all deputyship orders and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). These registers can be searched by member of the public.
The OPG is headed by Nick Goodwin who is the Public Guardian. He took up this role in the summer of 2019. The OPG has offices in Nottingham and Birmingham
The OPG will usually contact a newly appointed deputy to check that they are comfortable with the role and to make sure they are getting on with the job. This is why as a deputy you will be asked each year to pay a supervision fee. The OPG also has a team of visitors who role is to go out to meet with deputies and those they act for to make sure that the arrangements are all working well. This is all routine and you should not be alarmed if you are a deputy and the OPG wants to send a visitor to meet with you.
Each year on the anniversary of the deputy order the OPG will ask for the deputy to complete a report of their dealings with the finances of the person they act for. This is called the annual report or OPG102. The information submitted will be checked by the OPG and they may ask for more information if they think anything needs to be looked at more closely. This is one of the reasons why record keeping is so important if you are a deputy, for advice on this please see my earlier blog here.
Concerned family or friends can also get in touch with the OPG if they are worried that a deputy or attorney is not carrying out their duties properly, or if they are concerned that someone is suffering financial abuse. The OPG can carry out an investigation and look in detail at all the actions of a deputy or attorney and if necessary they can apply to the Court of Protection to have the deputy or attorney removed and a new deputy appointed. This is usually a last resort and we may be able to provide help to get things back on track if the OPG has concerns about how money has been managed.
The OPG also runs a panel of professional deputies. To be on the OPG panel of professional deputies a firm has to demonstrate that they consistently meet the highest standards in managing finances. They must also be extremely experienced at dealing with a wide range of family circumstances because the OPG often asks them to take on some of the most difficult and complex deputy work in circumstances where it is not possible for a family member to be the deputy or attorney. Wrigleys is proud to have been a panel deputy for many years and to have helped many people and their families turn round difficult financial situations in cases where there has been financial abuse.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.