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What is the Office of the Public Guardian?

The Office of the Public Guardian was established in October 2007. It is the administrative arm of the Court of Protection and helps an enables individuals to manage their health and finances should they become incapable of doing so themselves.

The OPG is responsible for:-

- registering lasting and enduring powers of attorney

- supervising Court of Protection appointed deputies

- supervising High Court guardians

- maintaining public registers of deputies, guardians, lasting and enduring powers of attorney

- responding to requests to search the registers

- investigating complaints and allegations of abuse made against guardians, deputies and registered attorneys

It is likely that you will deal with the Office of the Public Guardian more than you will the Court of Protection.

The case load for the OGP is rather large as you can imagine. Some of the functions they perform such as investigations into abuse can be very time consuming.

Here are a few facts and figures that may be of interest in relation to the OPG which are contained within their 2019/2020 performance report:-

- as at 31 March 2020 60,793 deputies were being supervised by the OPG

- during the year 917,550 applications to register LPAs and EPAs were received

- as at 31 March 2020 there are over 4.7 million powers of attorney on their register

We know that some of us complain about the performance of the OPG so what do you think about these figures:-

- 40 days is the average time for the OPG to clear an application for a power of attorney

- 11 days is the average time to review reports

- 89% of individuals who completed the customer satisfaction service for powers of attorney were very or fairly satisfied

- it took the OPG 74 days, on average, to conclude investigations in relation to complaints and allegations of abuse

Just so you know the OPG are taking our feedback seriously they received 5723 complaints in 2019/2020 which is down from the previous year. The overwhelming majority of these relation to lasting powers of attorney. It took, on average seven days for them to reply to complaints. The most common complaints with lasting powers related to delays in processing applications, contacting customers and advising of issues with the application and the loss of documents within their office!

What the Argo team has gained from the 2019/2020 annual report is that the OPG appears to be meeting all targets that it has set itself for customer performance but there is more to do. We know from first hand experience that the interaction with their customer is not great on the telephone and that they lose documents but we have stuck with it during their computer system upgrade last year and the delays due to Covid so perhaps the 2020/2021 report will be even brighter with even better reporting statistics.

If you are however having problems with the OPG and feel like you are banging your heard up a wall please give us a call as we would be only too happy to help sort out any issues you may experience.

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