Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has launched a new service to support staff from across local authorities, social care, police and NHS, who are dealing with adults at risk.
Staff from these organisations can request information we have on our registers to help them make urgent decisions about someone who may lack mental capacity.
OPG aims to respond to requests submitted through the new service within 24 hours, Monday to Friday.
What does the service provide?
OPG’s register holds information about anyone who has a lasting or enduring power of attorney (LPA or EPA), or has a court-appointed deputy in place.
From Tuesday 30 March 2021, staff from the relevant public sector organisations will be able to request a quick search of the register. OPG will then be able to provide the following information:
- If the LPA/EPA or deputyship relates to property and finances or health and welfare decision-making
- Names and contact details of attorneys or deputies
- LPA/EPA registration date or Court of Protection (COP) court order date
- If there are any restrictions on the power of attorney or court order
- Whether an attorney has authority to give or refuse life sustaining treatment on behalf of the individual
- How multiple attorneys or deputies should act - jointly or severally
- Whether the LPA, EPA or deputyship is registered, cancelled, revoked or expired
- The expiry date of court orders, where relevant
When should someone access the service?
This service should be accessed only when you need to make an urgent decision. Here are some examples where staff from relevant organisations might need to access this service:
- when moving a person out of hospital care to an alternative setting in order to release their bed
- when a best interest decision on medical treatment is needed for a patient in hospital
- to find out if a person's wishes are detailed in an LPA, for example in relation to receiving life sustaining treatment
- for contact details of people who are legally allowed to act on behalf of a person such as an attorney or deputy
- If a decision needs to be made about administering the Covid-19 vaccine
- To find out if there is an LPA/EPA or deputy in place to assist with financial abuse investigations where there is an adult at risk involved
Staff will be required to send a short email to OPG’s dedicated team to access the service. Details of how the email should be structured can be found on Gov.uk
Local authority staff should only use the rapid response service if they are looking into a safeguarding enquiry under Section 42 of the Care Act 2014.
Andy Tovey, Senior Implementation Manager said: “We are pleased to be launching a valuable service which will support colleagues who are working with some of the most vulnerable adults in society.
"The Covid-19 pandemin has highlighted the need to provide information in a quicker more accessible way, following our successful Covid-19 specific quick register search for NHS and social services staff, we are keen to continue delivering efficient, effective and collaborative services.
"Following, an urgent search request, if you have a concern about someone who has a registered LPA/EPA or deputy in place, you should raise this with OPG’s safeguarding team."
Our response email to the search request will include a form which can be used if a concern is identified or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember that an investigation into the conduct of attorneys or deputies will not be triggered automatically, and you need to contact us so that our investigations team can look into this.
You can visit GOV.UK to find out more information about how to report a concern about someone who has an attorney or deputy