Office of the Public Guardian

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:00 am on 19th July 2011.

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Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Education) 11:00 am, 19th July 2011

I am not sure, Mr Dobbin, whether you think that there is a lack of confidence or awareness at the Office of the Public Guardian, but I certainly think that that is the case. My awareness has been considerably increased by having to deal with the Office of the Public Guardian over the past three years on behalf of my constituent.

My constituent is clear that the property in her case could have been sold on a number of occasions and has supplied documentary evidence to that effect. She believes that those sales were prevented by the lack of action from the deputy and from the Office of the Public Guardian.

I received a similarly disappointing answer from the then Minister, which parroted a lot of what the Office of the Public Guardian itself had said. Throughout this period, my constituent was active in trying to resolve matters both through her solicitors and in corresponding directly with the Public Guardian. In the meantime, she was bearing all the expense of the property, which amounted to a considerable sum.

On 18 March, I again wrote to Martin John, the Public Guardian, emphasising that the sale was being prevented by the lack of authority being provided on Mr F’s behalf and that my constituent was concerned that the property could be placed under embargo to recover charges that she could not afford to pay, which would certainly not be in the interest of either party.

The Public Guardian replied. For the first time—we are talking about one and a half years on into this correspondence— he indicated that the deputy was being advised not to pay any of the share of the charges by their solicitor and that the Public Guardian could apply to the court to discharge the deputy, but did not consider it appropriate “at present.”