Who we are

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), established in October 2007, supports the Public Guardian in registering Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA), Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) and supervising Court of Protection (COP) appointed Deputies.

The OPG is an agency of the Ministry of Justice. The OPG replaced the Public Guardianship Office, the former administrative arm of the Court of Protection.

The OPG are based in North London and have responsibilities which extend throughout England and Wales (separate arrangements exist for Scotland and for Northern Ireland).

The OPG embraces all aspects of diversity and equality.  Our commitments are set out in the Link to external website Ministry of Justice Equality Schemes which explains how we plan to meet our statutory duties to promote equality.

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What we do

The OPG helps and supports Attorneys and Deputies in carrying out their duties and protects people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

It does this through:

  • Regulating and supervising Court appointed Deputies and by registering LPAs and EPAs.
  • In some cases, where there are suspicions that an Attorney or Deputy might not be acting in the best interests of the Donor, the OPG will work with other organisations to ensure that any allegations of abuse are fully investigated and acted upon.
  • The OPG also provides information on mental capacity to the public, legal and health professionals, and researchers. It can provide contacts with other organisations working in the field of mental capacity.

The OPG also has responsibility for policy issues relating to the Mental Capacity Act and in relation to mental capacity issues generally.

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How does the OPG and COP work together?

The OPG works closely with the Court to make sure that the best interests of people who lack mental capacity are served.

If you have not made or registered an LPA for property and affairs or for personal welfare, and you lose capacity to make decisions on these areas for yourself, someone else may apply to the Court for the power to make these decisions for you.

Only the Court is able to decide who is the best person to do this for you and it will give that person whatever powers it believes are necessary for them to act in your best interests.

The Court may appoint a Deputy decision maker, who can be given a wide range of powers or it may make a single order, covering an individual decision.

In coming to its decision, the Court may ask the OPG to obtain a report on an individual case. This report can cover a wide range of issues and may involve the OPG sending a specialist visitor to gather the facts in the case.

Once the Court has made its order, it is up to the OPG to monitor and supervise any Deputies who are appointed. The OPG can decide on the level of supervision each case requires and this will depend on a wide range of factors.

Where a Deputy fails to meet the supervision requirements laid down, the OPG has the power to take the case back to the Court. The case will then be reviewed and the Court may take further action, including terminating the appointment of the Deputy.

Both organisations will complement one another, with the Court providing the decision making functions and the OPG providing regulation and supervision.

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