Office of the Public Guardian

Justice written statement – made on 6th May 2008.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) supports the Public Guardian in discharging his statutory duties under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The OPG was formed in October 2007 with the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act and 2008-09 is therefore the first full financial year of operation for the agency.

The following list sets out the key performance targets that have been set for the Office of the Public Guardian and the Court Of Protection for the year 2008-09.

KPI1: Lasting Power of Attorney/Enduring Power of Attorney

On receipt: a) (i) On receipt of an invalid or incomplete LPA or EPA, we will notify 80 per cent. of applicants within 10 working days.

(ii) On receipt of a valid LPA, in 80 per cent. of cases we will notify the party or parties not making the application within 10 working days.

On registering: b) (i) We will register 98 per cent. of LPA applications within five working days of the end of the statutory waiting period(1).

(ii) Where an attorney makes an EPA application within 10 days of notifying relatives, we will register 98 per cent. within five working days of the end of the statutory waiting period(2).

(iii) Where an attorney makes an EPA application more than 10 days after notifying relatives, we will register 98 per cent. within 15 working days of receipt, or within five working days of the end of the statutory waiting period, whichever is the later.

KPI 2: Supervision of Deputies

All deputyship cases will require a supervision regime based on a risk assessment. Risk criteria include: whether a deputy has been refused credit or is an un-discharged bankrupt; whether the deputy has any financial interests which conflict with those of the client; the value of the client's estate; the relationship of the deputy to the client; and any objections which were made to the appointment of the deputy. a) 90 per cent. of new deputyship cases will be assessed and a supervision level set within 30 working days of the court order being served on the Public Guardian. b) 100 per cent. of ongoing deputyships with close supervision (type I) will have a formal reassessment of the supervision level within 13 months of the previous assessment. c) We will carry out a case review on no less than 4000 type II cases during the year.

A case review could be a combination of:

review of annual report; carrying out a visit; and review of supervision level following short-term intervention.

KPI 3: Contacting the OPG

The contact centre will act as point of communication for anybody contacting the OPG for advice and information about the OPG, the Court of Protection and other MCA-related issues. It will also act as the first point of contact for most deputies in relation to queries about their powers and duties. a) We will respond to 95 per cent. of correspondence (including letters, faxes and emails) within 15 working days of receipt. b) 85 per cent. of telephone calls to the contact centre will be answered within 60 seconds.

KPI 4: Investigations

Upon receipt of an investigations case in the compliance and regulation unit, it is allocated to a specific caseworker. At this point of allocation the 14-day target to set an action begins. The three month target to complete the investigation is inclusive of the 14 days in which the action plan is put in place. a) We will put in place an approved action plan in 100 per cent. of investigations cases within 14 days of receipt. b) 75 per cent. of investigations will be completed within three months.

KPI 5: Quality of Service a) To measure the quality of service people are experiencing in different areas of the organisation, we will carry out targeted surveys throughout the year and report the findings in the OPG 2008-09 annual report. A baseline figure will be agreed with Ministers following receipt of the 2007-08 results and will published in the Public Guardian section 60 report. b) We will also devise measures concentrating on the quality of service delivered through the contact centre. The results will be published in the 2008-09 annual report.

KPI 6: Finance

Based on the statutory instrument for fees approved by Parliament, we will aim to achieve the following targets for full cost recovery:

a) OPG—100 per cent. full cost recovery. b) Court of Protection—63 per cent. full cost recovery.

Full cost is defined as:

The total cost of carrying out the provision of services to the taxpayer, less social subsidy/fee remission; financial losses over and above a yearly notional premium; in-year bad debts write off and exceptional items.

Court of Protection

1. In 95 per cent. of cases we will contact the applicant within 20 working days of receipt of the formal application.

2. In 75 per cent. of applications where no oral hearing is directed, the court will give a direction within 16 weeks; and in 98 per cent. of applications the court will give a direction within 20 weeks.

3. In 75 per cent. of applications where an oral hearing is directed, the hearing will be arranged within six weeks of the direction, with all hearings being arranged within 14 weeks.

4. We will respond to 95 per cent. of correspondence (including letters, faxes and emails) within 15 working days of receipt.

5. We are due to carry out the first survey of court satisfaction by the end of March 2008. Our objective for 2008-09 is to increase satisfaction in court services from this baseline.

Copies of the Office of the Public Guardian framework document and business plan will be available in the Libraries of both Houses and from the website of the OPG (www.publicguardian.gov.uk) from 6 May 2008.

(1)The statutory waiting period for LPAs is 6 weeks from the latest date on which the Public Guardian gave notice as required by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 that he had received an application to register the LPA.

(2)The statutory waiting period for EPAs is 35 days from the latest date on which the attorney gave notice of his intention to register the EPA as required by the Mental Capacity Act 2005.