Once appointed as Deputy for a family member or friend, you will be required to submit a Deputyship report on an annual basis to the Office of the Public Guardian (‘OPG’).
The OPG are the organisation responsible for supervising all Deputies and so the report is a vital part of this supervision process.
The report gives the OPG information on areas such as a person’s assets, any income and expenditure for that year, significant decisions you have made as well as any concerns you may have in relation to your Deputyship.
Following the report being submitted, the OPG will review the information provided and either confirm that they accept the report, or they may raise further enquiries with you.
It is therefore extremely important that you complete the report as fully as possible with all the relevant information. Below, are some top tips to help you submit your report;
Keep a Record
Every year, you are required to submit a lot of information to the OPG through the report, so it is important that you are keeping records along the way, rather than trying to remember everything when the report is due. The new online system for the reports really helps with this as it means you can add to it along the way and it will save the information until you are ready to submit the report.
The link to the online system is below- you will just need to set up an account.
You will need to keep track of all decisions you have made on behalf of the person you act for, who has helped you make that decision and if the person concerned was involved in the decision making. You also need to confirm that you have visited the person concerned- there is a requirement for a Deputy to visit the person they act as Deputy for at least once a year.
Be aware of the Reporting Period
The OPG are only interested in the accounting period covered by the latest report, so only include information within this period. For example, if you have purchased a property after the reporting period, this will go either in the section on actions you are to take or leave it until the next report.
Additionally, ensure that balances and asset valuations are within the reporting period too. If they are outside of the dates, it can impact the balancing for the next report.
Include All Assets
It is important that all assets are added to the report, including cars, caravans, bikes, property, motorhomes, scooters as well as items that have specifically been listed on insurance policies. You will need an up-to-date value for all assets to put in the report.
Update Contact Details
Each year, check that the contact information (including addresses) is correct for the person you are acting as Deputy for and you.
Preparation is key!
Give yourself enough time to obtain all the information that the report requires. You will need updated information and valuations from third parties (such as investment information) so it is important that this information is requested in good time.
In particular, you are asked if you have checked benefits entitlement or if you are in the process of checking. The OPG will expect you to know the benefits position of the person you act as Deputy for, so it is best to give yourself enough time to check their entitlement to benefits and be able to confirm this in your report. Benefits figures are updated on an annual basis. Additionally, if the circumstances of the person you act as Deputy for have changed, this may mean they are entitled to a benefit they have previously been ineligible for. It is also a good time to review entitlement to state funding such as direct payments or NHS Continuing Healthcare funding.
You will need to provide the OPG with the date of the latest care plan – the OPG will expect this to be updated on a yearly basis so if the care plan hasn’t been updated, you may need to query this in your role as Deputy.
Don’t be afraid of flagging any concerns you have about your Deputyship within the report. It is useful for the OPG to be aware of any difficulties in advance so that they can support you and in case anything happens (for example, a difficult family member).
Communicate with the OPG
If for any reason you are having difficulty in submitting your report by the deadline given by the OPG, make sure that you communicate this with them and request an extension. It is likely that a one-off extension will be given and the OPG would much prefer that this is discussed with them, rather than them having to chase for a response. Lack of communication can be flagged as a concern by the OPG, so it is important you are open and transparent.
Following the recent case of Re ACC & Others  EWCOP 9, certain action a Deputy takes needs to have Court of Protection authority. If you have obtained further authority from the Court of Protection for any decisions or actions taken, it is helpful to attach the Order(s) dealing with the authority so that the OPG can see that you have followed the correct process.
Separation of Funds
As Deputy, it is important that you separate the funds you hold as Deputy from your own funds. This should mean separate bank accounts and separate records so that there can be no overlap and errors.
How can Brain Injury Group help?
If you would like advice about bringing a brain injury claim, capacity, deputyships, managing the award of compensation or any other aspect of brain injury welfare, legal or financial advice, we have specialist brain injury solicitors and Court of Protection solicitors who can assist.
Contact Brain Injury Group – to get in touch you can either:
- Call us on 0800 612 9660 or 0330 311 2541
- Email us at email@example.com
- Complete this short enquiry form and we’ll get back to you
- Find a specialist brain injury solicitor near to you
About the author
Gemma Eason is a Senior Associate Practice Development Lawyer for Court of Protection and Public Law at Brain Injury Group Member Firm Irwin Mitchell LLP.
Irwin Mitchell are a national law firm whose solicitors work hard to make things easier for their clients and their family. Over the past 2 years they have helped clients recover more than £1 billion in compensation, but this is only part of the story, their solicitors also help clients access the rehabilitation, medical care and support needed to achieve the best recovery possible.