I speak to many people on the phone or email who are facing a situation where they are at odds with the health professionals about where their relative (who has serious memory problems) should live. Usually the person in question is in hospital on an unrelated health matter and it has been decided that to send them home would be an unwise decision. It is interesting to me that families rarely mention DoLS unless they have read about it on their research journey. Of course this may be because when DoLS are introduced the families are kept abreast of the process and reasons for, and consequently don’t feel the need to contact us. Read More
There was a brilliant edition of Money Box Live on Radio Four yesterday when Alan Eccles, the Public Guardian, answered enquiries from the public about the workings of his office (Office of the Public Guardian – administrative arm of the Court of Protection). He highlighted a helpine for people who want to report attorneys they believe are misusing their powers in any way. The number is 0115 934 2777 and he assured listeners that their identity would remain confidential if they needed to ring that helpline. Read More
Amelia Hill in the Guardian on Sunday questions the motivations and efficacy of the Court of Protection whose role it is to take very difficult decisions for people who lack capacity. I am always divided when these comments surface – on the one hand the Court operated for years in a shroud of secrecy and was guilty of failing to communicate properly with the public. However, it has worked tirelessly to address this, particularly with Martin John at the helm as the Public Guardian (head of the Office of the Public Guardian – the department that manages all the paperwork for the Court).
The article also highlights one of the main issues that occurs in every walk of life where the authorities make decisions that can override what a family wants – that when the Court goes against the family the family declares it draconian, but where the Court supports the family it is applauded. This is human nature but does not mean the Court is either inherently good or inherently bad.
I sympathise with anyone who needs to use the Court of Protection as they only engage with it when someone they know and probably love has experienced a serious accident or debilitating illness, however I am wary of scare mongering and suggesting that there is a malevolent force at work rather than a government body with a very difficult job on its hands.
To read the article please click here.
You may be interested to read about the following proposals that have been made regarding changes to fees for Lasting Powers of Attorney (who isn’t?!)
‘OPG’ stands for Office of the Public Guardian – the civil service body which undertakes all the paper work for the Court. The consultation ends May 21st 2011.
The proposed changes below will help ensure full recovery of OPG costs:
- Raising the LPA Application to Register from £120 to £130;
- Implementing a new ‘Resubmission Fee’ of £65 each time an LPA is resubmitted to the OPG within 3 months of it being returned to the Applicant as invalid;
- Discontinuing the production of LPA office copies by the OPG, except in extreme and limited circumstances, and for a £50 fee;
- Removing the Application to search the Registers fee;
- Replacing Type 1, 2A and 2 supervision fees with a flat fee of £320 and introducing an administration fee of £35 for those in Type 3 requiring the de minimis level of supervision;
- Raising the maximum threshold of capital for those cases qualifying for Type 3 supervision from £16,000 to £21,000 over a period of 4 years;
- Introducing a new Fee Remissions policy of 50% for those who have a gross income of up to £12,000;
- Allowing the Public Guardian to vary the levels of fees payable in the future, examples of which could be:
a. Implementing a new discounted fee for any LPA applications that are submitted together
b. Removing or discounting the LPA Registration Fee for Armed Service Personnel
- Renaming a number of OPG Fees in order to make it clearer what they cover
The full consultation document and response form are available to view on the Ministry of Justice Website via the below link. Your views and opinions would be most welcome.