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 Deputies appointed by the Court of Protection.

The OPG is an agency of the Ministry of Justice. The OPG helps and supports Attorneys and Deputies in carrying out their duties, protects people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. The OPG also has responsibility for policy issues relating to the Mental Capacity Act and in relation to mental capacity issues generally.

The Office of the Public Guardian has five business areas:

Client Services

Client services in made up of the Applications and processing team and the Customer Contact Centre.

Applications and processing is the largest business area and is responsible for handling all EPA and LPA registrations, collecting reports, and providing services that support the functions of the rest of the OPG and the Court, namely records management, post opening and delivery.

The Customer Contact Centre is the first point of contact between the OPG and its service users. Staff provide guidance and information about EPA and LPA processes, the role of the OPG and the Court, and other organisations and agencies that might be able to provide further, more specialised, help and advice.

They also provide guidance and support to Deputies appointed by the Court. Most communications are by telephone, but the Contact Centre also deals with correspondence and emails.

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Supervision

The staff in Supervision receive and record details of all new deputies appointed by the Court, and carry out an assessment on each case to determine the level of supervision it will require from the OPG. They supervise Deputies according to the supervision level allocated, with some cases receiving a light touch approach, while others having a more proactive, detailed case management programme.

The Visits team are responsible for overseeing the Court of Protection Visitors who visit clients in their own homes and provide reports to the Court and the OPG. The Investigations team handle any complaints regarding the delivery of services by the OPG.

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Finance and Resources

Finance and Resources is responsible for the organisation's accounting, financial management and corporate governance processes, including the management of third party services such as IT, HR and Facilities. It collects fees from users of the OPG's services, as set out by Parliament, and accounts for income and expenditure for both the Court and for the OPG.

It is also responsible for managing the performance of contracted services and ensure that relevant agreements are developed, monitored and adhered to. It is also responsible for OPG Governance arrangements, managing change within the organisation, marketing and communications, strategy, policy and the provision of legal advice to the Public Guardian, especially with regard to health and welfare.

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Change and Development

This team is responsible for managing the OPG change programme. It is also responsible for communicating with stakeholders and raising awareness of the organisation with the public and with other organisations. It also provides learning and development opportunities for staff to develop their knowledge and skills.

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Policy and Customer Strategy

Policy Team

The Policy team is responsible for all aspects of policy relating to the OPG and the Mental Capacity Act 2005.  This includes providing advice on the Act and its interpretation, providing policy advice to ministers and senior officials and the drafting of answers to Parliamentary Questions, submissions and policy papers.

The team generates specific advice and solutions to particular issues as they arise as well as working on a number of longer-term work streams.  Current work being undertaken by the team includes: extending the Hague Convention on the Protection of Vulnerable Adults to cover England & Wales; liaising with the Court of Protection to identify any changes needed to the Court Rules and Practice Directions and identifying limitations or areas within the current legislation that may need addressing.

The team acts as a direct route to Department lawyers whenever legal input is required and also liaises with central Ministry of Justice and other Government Departments to ensure that any wider changes to legislation or policy are in line with the requirements and aims of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA).

Customer Strategy Team

The Customer Strategy team is responsible for ensuring the OPG delivers a high quality service to all our customer groups. This includes gathering customer intelligence and feedback, positive or negative, from all our customer groups and using this to amend our current ways of working or to think creatively about new services we could provide to benefit our customers.

The team is currently working on several areas including the reform of the OPG’s complaints process, the development of a mediator role for Supervision cases (where there is a dispute between the OPG and the customer) and identifying and using customer intelligence to identify and address areas of poor levels of customer service throughout the business.

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Equality and diversity statement

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) aims to be representative of the culture and values of all of the communities we serve. We will:

  • treat all our customers and colleagues with dignity and respect.
  • strive to learn from each other and be open and inclusive to all.

We are also committed to ensuring equality for people with disabilities (as defined by the Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005 (DDA)) that apply for roles within the OPG.

The OPG follows the Link to external site icon Ministry of Justice Disability Equality Scheme 2008 -20011.

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Developing our staff

The OPG aims to develop staff to give an effective contribution to delivering our services and achieving their potential. We will support learning and development through courses, workshops, providing learning materials and opportunities to enable staff to acquire knowledge and develop skills necessary to perform their role efficiently and effectively. All employees are offered opportunities for learning and development to enable them to meet:

  • agreed job objectives and performance standards;
  • agreed development objectives;
  • departmental policy on Equality and Diversity;
  • health and safety standards.

The programme will meet the Investors in People standard.

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