OPG Podcast – Who we are

OPG Podcast – Who we are


Welcome to the very first office of the
Public Guardian podcast my name is Laura and I work in the communications team
thank you for choosing to listen I’m here today with Samantha Vicky and Abdul
if you want to introduce yourselves? Okay yeah I will go first
names Abdul I’m an executive case manager supervising deputies
court-appointed deputies so I’m Samantha I work here in the contact center so I
deal with a variety of different calls every day covering both powers of
attorney and deputyship I’m one of the people that are constantly going to
Vicky for question and they’re always that answer them delightfully and I’ve
been here since January I love working here I’m I’m Vicky I work on the duty
manager desk so I help people in the contact center answer calls and any
queries and I’m also trained in other areas as well so I’m safeguarding trained
great we hope that you find this podcast informative and entertaining that you
get to take something away with you so my first question to you guys is how
would you describe the author Public Guardian or okay each like a friend or a
family member we’re here to help support people make
decisions and get them to have a right to choose so where people lack mental capacity we’re here to support those who act on their behalf to make sure that
they’re making good decisions we look after vulnerable adults and ensure that
if there isn’t a power of attorney in place that the Court of Protection can
put something else in place for them so how I describe it is it’s we’re kind
there to help everybody with what they’re doing so we go from beginning to
probably end so we helped them create it from the beginning how to do it what to
do what to put in it and then we’ll help them with when it they need to act
because they always bring back I want to know how to do that and we will help
them with any safeguarding so protecting for people and then obviously you’ve got
the people that are gonna do it and it’s a bit too late so we need to explain
what they have to do not put something in place and when you say it
you’re into last part yeah right just to clarify that it is less violence
attorney what exactly is a lasting power of attorney so it’s a document that
allows someone that you trust to have access to your finances and to make
financial decisions for you and when you’ve lost mental capacity to make sure
that your bills are being paid whether you’re in a care home you’re staying at
home or you’ve got care one last improv attorney which only comes into place
what you lose mental capacity and that is so that someone again you trust can
make decisions about how you are careful about your carers basically make sure
that you still get your haircut if you had your haircut well we just make sure
that you’re still having your beauty treatments that you had beforehand boss
and keeping your diet that you wanted and also making some tough decisions
when you have to go to hospital and it’s there for everybody it’s not just you
know a common misconception is that it’s there for the older generation but a
lasting power of attorney is something that everybody should and could do at
any age because it is there to protect you and for the what-if scenarios often
get overlooked until it’s too late yeah it’s well as things that people say oh I
don’t need one you know I’m 22 I’m having a good time but actually you
could get hit by a bus tomorrow yeah and then you’ll appreciate having one of
these in place that yes trust can help you rather than leave it to somebody
that you’re not changing yeah which will happen if you go to clot protection yes
so tell me more about like the process they’re going to cut protection how we
work with deputies yes I think the figures are quite high numbers are farm
deputies we have on our registers definitely more than 55,000 fortunately
for people who for one reason or another end up losing their mental capacity
either because of mental health issues diseases such as dementia Alzheimer’s
brain injury accidents and things like that and at the same time they do not
have a lasting power of attorney in place the only way the next-of-kin can
assume responsibility or have an official authority or permission
to manage such a person’s finances is by applying to the Court of Protection for
what we call a deposition order the deputy ship order application itself can
take anything between three months and six months for you to be approved in
most cases it tends to be relatives who find themselves with such a unfortunate
burden I think sometimes people do wrongfully tend to assume that if you
are a spouse or a child of a victim or such unfortunate circumstances by
default they may have a legal right to represent that person it’s interest but
the truth is attacked is not true one definitely would have to submit an
application for the Court of Protection and ask for its authorization to
represent that person’s interest deputy ship in itself comes in two forms these
one for property and financial affairs which simply allows one to exercise
control and authority over the victims for want of a better description over
the victims financial affairs so bank accounts receiving income
spending on behalf of that person whether it’s care fees personal needs
rent and things like that the other type of deputy ship which is rarely given is
for health and welfare now the deputy ship in our registers mean they have to
be accountable and that is commonly stated in the order in under the Mental
Capacity Act 2005 where they are required to submit annual reports the
annual report will reflect things like key decisions made on behalf of that
person and how the finances are managed so once a year a deputy would be
required to submit the accounts which one manages bank accounts for example
how much money has been received how much money has gone out during the
reporting year and then we will look into that report and if we detect any
issues of concern we would address that with the deputy
and we will also provide support to the deputies so if they’re struggling with
completing the reports we will offer the necessary support or PG also provides
visits direct visits to the client sometimes referred to as the patient we
also send visits to the to the deputy where again in most cases does visit
would be to ascertain that the person being represented the interest are taken
care of as expected sometimes it’s about giving support to
the deputies on how they are managing the affairs of the client and things
like that so there’s a good package cool so you’ve
mentioned mental capacity in terms of elastin opportunities of comes in when
you lose mental capacity but how would you describe what is mental capacity and
what was the foundation of where we are mental capacities it’s a very great area
to say that someone likes it and someone has it because and I am very much a
person of this you can make decisions that other people don’t think are wise
so just because you make an unwise decision doesn’t mean that you like
capacity which a lot of people say the mental capacity acts there to protect
people from being taken advantage of is there to protect everybody and not just
have people say you lack capacity is there to protect you to make sure that
they prove that you lack that capacity bar said to have them like interact with
you so if you did lose capacity they should always make sure that they’re
checking that you know what you want and how you want it would be the cup of tea
syndrome everybody knows how they like their cup of tea you know if you like
one’s capacity you don’t just automatically give someone a cup of tea
you always get your uncle tea you want it with milk
John sugar and you let that person answer you never just assumed that’s
right that’s a good like a little analogy sis of put it in context look of
a child by okay someone described it to me I always double-check
I don’t just automatically do it part of the principles as well as the mental
capacity act and that’s one of them now is that you have to involve them with
decision making and you can’t just make it without them
knowing you can’t just assume things after still talk to them even if you
know that they don’t necessarily understand what you’re talking about
you still need to involve them in long decisions even so they can just be aware
of what’s happening and it may help them as well of course I said that was one of
the principles that other principles unwise decisions so if someone makes an
unwise decision you can’t assume that they like my sentiment crafting but I
haven’t done this in ages so I’m waiting you know well I wrote them all down and
I used to off by hat so it’s you have to I can’t remember how they describe but
you should always check like communicate with someone about a decision and you
should go try it all means that you can so if they can’t talk you should maybe
hold up a picture and they can do that and now I can’t remember there was three
so you always have to assume a person has mental question unless it’s proven
otherwise second key one which we should know is
everything has to be done in the best interest so what is lacking capacity
then you have to think what would be my best interests
so if they’ve always been vegetarian for example and they’ve suddenly lost men to
crusty it wouldn’t be in their best interest to start giving on sausage and
bacon because that’s something that they’ve never usually done and it’s
obviously not what they wish to continue so it’d be in their best interest to
follow the vegetarian lifestyle still the fifth one a least restrictive way oh
yeah that’s it so before doing anything for someone or making the decision on
them consider whether you could achieve the same outcome in a less restrictive
way so an example I had was if somebody has a disability and they can often
injure themselves when they go outside one way of maintaining that would be to
never go outside but obviously that is quite restrictive and that wouldn’t be
in their best interest and never let them go outdoors so the least
restrictive option would be potentially and then
hammer or some protective gear so when they do go out in public they’re not
going to be a danger to themselves and they’ve got that protection there but
they’re still getting to go outside and do their daily activities that they’ve
always done okay so we’ve you’ve mentioned
safeguarding quite a bit tell me more about what safeguarding is
more involved so Vicky is one of our safeguarding offices in the contact
center so I will let you go exactly yes so with lasting powers of attorney
and enduring powers of attorney we have to safeguard the donor and what a lot of
people find shocking is our jurisdiction is very limited so if the donor has
capacity they must invite us to investigate into their attorney so if
their attorneys not acting in their best interest
we can then investigate if the donor Lacks mental capacity and someone’s
raising concerns that the the attorney is not acting in the donors best
interests then we will investigate but we also need evidence it can’t be just
oh oh I don’t think they’re acting correctly it’s got to be they’ve bought brand-new Mercedes you know you’ve gone on off like five holidays a year
which normally they never used to do you know it’s it’s gonna be something that
shows that they’re basically abusing their power and Trust over the donor. So safeguarings there to help protect the vulnerable adults because they’ve so if theyve sadly lost
capacity which is when Vicky said our jurisdiction sets in and then we’re
there to protect them so they’re not on their own and it’s not just because
they’ve chosen someone to act on their behalf doesn’t mean that necessarily
they will always do the right thing by the data yeah so we’re here to ensure
that anything they do make decisions on and for example selling a house if it’s
done incorrectly we’re here to help protect the donor so everything and that
can be with health and welfare as well so it’s a number of things than the
deputy team upstairs as well who do with court orders they also have their
safeguarding processes where they will investigate any deputies that has been
and actually not in the best interests of the donor okay so if you get a
safeguarding concern about someone you investigate and it turns out that you
know the person who has attorney has been buying Mercedes and going on five holidays a year then then what happens then what happens with the attorney with
investigations they have to build up a case so they will talk to all attorneys
involved so if he’s just if you’ve got two attorneys and it’s just the one they
will still contact being one and get their side of it and they gather all the
evidence and kind work out what’s been happening where the money’s been spent
and to give the attorney the opportunity to explain why they’ve spent this money
sometimes they can try and resolve it and you know obviously guide that person
and say look you know this is what you’ve done this you permitted it but
you shouldn’t be doing that this is how we do it and extreme cases is that we
will take the person to the core protection and have them removed if it
needs be that it’s only one interning they get removed and if that donors
awesome in some capacity then we might have to put a deputy ship and players
for them because someone needs to look after the money and get make sure
other person’s looked after as well that’s the extreme version of the
process is then removing it we do try and teach the attorney how to act as an
attorney okay so if they’ve just been thinking oh grandma you she gives the
grandkids like 150 pounds of birthdays and Christmas or whatever and we’ll just
keep doing that and then some I raised a question where’s this money going from
the bank then you might just say things like that is fine so if if grandma
always given 150 for birthdays that’s okay keep on doing that because you have
the past to show that they always give that amount to for Christmas and
birthdays however you have to take an account their estates so as their estate
goes down maybe them the level of money that you’re giving away should change
so you need to think about it but I would come under gifting about
necessarily wouldn’t be safeguarding it would be more
if they went from giving 150 pounds on birthdays to a thousand pounds and
obviously depleted the funds a lot quicker so again it comes back to
the principle of action in their best interest so if it were the grandma they
would want to continue to give and presents to family members on birthdays
Christmases and so that would still be in their best interest for the attorney
to carry on doing that and is I think Vicky said if they started going outside
of their previous history something that grandma’s never done before then that’s
when we will begin questioning whether or not that’s in the best interest the
donor do you have like some kind of strategy around looking after people a
thing that would kind of base everything on or just like ah someone so there is a
five step process and so step one would be the complaint so when we receive an
initial complaint or concern and we have to make a decision on whether or not to
accept this as an investigation and that all depends on our jurisdiction whether
one on the can and step two would be to investigate so we have a dedicated team
who have had professional training and they will carry out a plan with a senior
investigator as well to make sure that everything that we do is accurate and
error-free and again in the best interest of the donor step three would
be to Carberry so as Becky said before and dependent on the nature of the
concern we would be able to discuss with the relevant people so perhaps that
would be with social services and in worst case scenarios maybe their police
would need to be involved as well as if we can’t investigate and we know there’s
something going on we tend to see we can pass it’s someone that could investigate
as well so step four would be to do the report and so all the investigators must
conclude their findings in a report that would then be passed on to the public
Guardian and alongside what they would recommend but the Public Guardian that’s
part of their duty they reserve the right to approve reject or amend the
recommendations so al all depend on what the public Guardian says at the time I’m
at they feel is a necessary action to help safeguard this adult and then
you’ve got two steps five one would be to apply and so where we would need to
remove an attorney or deputy we would have to apply to the court to
protection I think he said before to allow that to happen or another step
five would be to implement their decisions so that’s why the court
objection would have recommended something to us so such as the attorney
would need to repay the loan or repay the finances that they had taken and
that would then be implemented by us at office in public Guardian so it all
depends on what the court right so do we get like a lot of investigations I guess
the we don’t often get to see the stats in the contact centre and but the stats
currently stand as far as we are aware at 0.16 percent concerns raised
around deputy opportunity and then just naught point naught six percent of those cases have progressed into an investigation so to put it in actual numbers if we
carried out 1897 investigations in 2017 to 18 only 459 of those cases resulted
in an application to the court mostly just to seek advice okay so that’s not
really a lot to say we’ve got 3.5 million registered yes so yeah often
it’s just because they’re not too sure on how best to act as an attorney or a
deputy so a lot of the times with and the safeguard concerns it’s something
that can be dealt with and manage without going to the court to protection
and just between ourselves him the contact center and investigators just
really advisement ins on what they can and can’t do and we’re here to support
not just doners but also attorneys if they need to
yeah by the time we kind of going to the court of protection for deputyships
you’ve already lost capacity or the person you’re there for has so it’s already a
bit of a stressful time last thing you want to do is spend it in a court trying
to trying to get the rights look after someone so we’ve also mentioned very
briefly in time in passing enduring powers of attorney what’s the difference
between lasting power of attorney and enduring powers of attorney no enduring powers of attorney
was before last say if I was an attorney and they stopped in about 2007 and it
only covers finance and property doesn’t cover anything health and welfare and you
can use it unregistered but you need donors consent and the donor needs to
have mental capacity once the donor has has lost or is losing mental capacity
then you need to get it registered with the office of the Public Guardian so
that you can start using it properly as an attorney and we only have
jurisdiction over an enduring power of attorney when it’s registered with us so if an
attorney is using it beforehand with the donors consent we don’t have any
jurisdiction over that we’re not involved in that that’s between the
donor and the attorney okay we’re lasting power of attorney you can create it
and leave it I’m registered but the attorney can’t use it they can only use
it once it’s been registered and with your lasting power of attorney you can decide when it can come in they can either come in straight away with your consent or
when you lack mental capacity which it’s a bit similar to the enduring power attorney
but different in the terms of how you’re using it sort of thing
I think the key difference will be what you said about you can register lasting
power of attorney as soon as you’ve completed it so in the event that you
suddenly lose mental capacity the attorney doesn’t have to wait for the
document to be registered which can be a few weeks to several months if there was
any issues with it and so I think that’s the key difference it’s a lasting power of
attorney you can register straightaway so then you can keep that document safe
so the attorney is there that’s if and when they ever need to use it it’s
already all done and ready to go right um so can you still register and
enduring powers of attorney because you said they stopped yeah you can still register them and you
just can’t create one anymore and still register it the only thing is it’s
because we don’t know how many was created so you don’t actually know have
a figure of how many is out there and and obviously because you don’t register
it straight away there’s a lot out there that might be
invalid and not being able to be used and because they weren’t signed
correctly or they didn’t take anything into account on the documents which
might have an effect on you know on the person because they believe they’ve got
this legal document that they can use and it could be invalid so yeah thank
you for listening so far as a bit of a roundup of what we’ve just listened to
or what you’ve just listened to – we’ve gone into some facts and figures on how many
LPAs are processed each year and the deputyships we supervise we’ve gone into an LPA is processed and when we get involved in investigations we’ve
also discussed the processes of investigations and the different steps
to go through and how rare is that actually how many investigations we take
to court we get involved in and how many actually result in any sort of action
being taken apart from some advice and we’ve covered all this quite briefly in
the hopes that you’ll understand a little better the role of that OPG plays
but if you want to know more you can find additional podcasts online our
youtube channel I would like to say a massive thank you to my wonderful guests
today you have been great and volunteering your time to discuss these
things with me I hope you found it useful and that you tune in to our next
podcast and if you’d like to keep up to date on what’s happening with the office
of the Public Guardian then feel free to get in touch you can go online at www.gov.uk/opg or you can follow us on twitter at OPGGOVUK if you have any quires email us at [email protected] or call us on oh three hundred four five six oh three hundred and you might even speak to Samantha
herself

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