Background and principles of the OPG (Office of the Public Guardian)
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) was established in October 2007 by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA). It is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice, with responsibilities across England and Wales (separate arrangements are in place for Scotland and for Northern Ireland).
The OPG’s responsibility is to support people and help them plan ahead so that their health, welfare and financial decisions will be taken care of if they lose mental capacity, and to safeguard the interests of people who may lack the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005
This Act set out the role of Public Guardian. It introduced a legal duty for the Public Guardian (supported by OPG) to supervise deputies appointed by the Court of Protection, and to investigate complaints or concerns about the actions of deputies, registered attorneys and people acting under an order of the Court of Protection.
This policy supports the Public Guardian’s role in safeguarding. It shows how OPG will work with other agencies to recognise and manage suspicions, allegations and findings of abuse of adults and children at risk, who are within the Public Guardian’s remit.
OPG is committed to the following principles in all aspects of its safeguarding work:
- Empowerment – putting people first and helping those who lack mental capacity feel involved and informed.
- Protection – supporting victims so they can take action.
- Prevention – responding quickly to suspected cases of abuse.
- Proportionality – making sure what we do is appropriate to the situation and for the individual.
- Partnership – sharing the right information in the right way.
- Accountability – making sure all agencies have a clear role.
More relevant legislation in England and Wales.
The Care Act 2014 came into force in England on 1 April 2015. The Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014 is due to come into force in Wales on 1 April 2016. The acts introduce new duties and responsibilities on local authority adult social services as the lead agencies in protecting adults at risk. This gives public services and government clear responsibility to make sure that people in the most vulnerable situations are safe from abuse or neglect.
The OPG supports the principles in the acts and believes that safeguarding is everyone’s business. We know how important it is for organisations to work together and create shared strategies to protect people.