New reforms to their supervision of deputies have been promised for some time.
On 6 July 2015 the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) published new standards for both professional deputies and for public authority deputies which demonstrate the OPG's new approach to their support and supervision of deputies.
The OPG states that the standards provide actions and behaviours which every deputy should follow. Further, deputies will be assessed against the standards either through the OPG's face-to-face visits, telephone reviews or case reviews.
The standards are broken down into the following five categories:
Standard 1 only applies to property and affairs deputies and standard 5 only applies to personal welfare orders. Standards 2 to 4 apply in all cases. For each standard, the OPG has produced a list of sources of evidence that the standard has been met.
If a deputy is in significant breach of these standards, the OPG state that they will seek to agree an action plan with the deputy to address the deficiencies. However, the OPG also makes clear that in cases of the most serious or fundamental breaches, they may seek removal of the deputy.
It is important for every professional deputy to review the standards and ensure that they are compliant with them. It would also be wise to refer lay deputies to this guidance as they provide a useful checklist of actions to take on appointment.