Office for Public Guardian developing guidance for certificate providers

The Office for the Public Guardian (OPG) has expressed that is working on guidance for lay and professional certificate providers in order to clarify best practice requirements. As well as the need for a clear note of certificate provision to be made by the certificate provider, this also includes a reiteration of the test for capacity that certificate providers must apply.

The above is an outcome from a recent meeting which aimed to develop a closer working relationship between the OPG and the Law Society.  The meetings are organised with a view to improve coherence between the organisations as well as enabling them to share future projects and developments.

Representing the Law Society was Enable Law’s Holly Mieville-Hawkins, member of the Wills and Equity Committee, and Sheree Green, chair of the Mental Health and Disability Committee and Court of Protection Lead at Anthony Collins Solicitors. Both Alan Eccles and Andrew Parker were representing the Office for the Public Guardian.

In addition to the guidance for certificate providers, a number of other outcomes were reached following the meeting’s conclusion.

The first confirms that the OPG are seeking clarification on acceptable wording in relation to a number of different clauses that are regularly used within LPAs. Expecting to be heard by the Court around June, clarity is sought on clauses in relation to end of life care directions, majority decision making and family maintenance payments.

Another outcome of the meeting relates to OPG concerns regarding attorneyship when funds run low. The OPG stress that, in line with the most recent best practice guide, this should be discussed with a donor when a professional attorney is appointed.

With a similar focus on financial protection, the OPG along with other key stakeholders will work collaboratively with banks to review previously published guidance, aiming to address the issue of joint accounts.

Reducing delays was also highlighted to be a point of contention, with the OPG concluding that it is particularly keen to avoid those between the appointment of and receipt of information for a Panel Deputy. This, it states, it will treat as a matter of priority.

Shifting the focus to digital, a further outcome of the meeting highlighted a project the OPG are currently working on. With an aim to avoid issues with delay or damage to lasting powers of attorney, they are working to facilitate the documents being virtually shared with banks at the attorney’s request.

Remaining on the digital side of development, the concluding outcome related to Digital Deputyship, with the launch for professional Deputies hopefully scheduled for Autumn 2018.

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