Frenkel Topping held their annual Deputy Day in London on May 9th. The focus of the day was on Safeguarding. Delegates heard from Senior Judge Hilder at the event, as well as Paul Tregoning from the OPG,  Ruth Hughes from 5 Stone Buildings and Mark Holt from Frenkel Topping. The day was expertly hosted by BBC Radio 4 Money box presenter, Paul Lewis.

In her speech Judge Hilder highlighted that it was noted that a local authority was applying to Court using standard/similar forms (COP 9), not notifying anyone of the application.

The Court carried out an audit in January and 6 out of 10 applications failed the test.

Judge Hilder reminded delegates that their duties under Rule 9.10 and Practice Direction 9B para 4: “The Applicant must seek to identify at least three persons who are likely to have an interest…

https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/pd-9b-notification-of-an-application.pdf

In such cases applications will be stayed and delayed. An interim order may be made requesting that the applicant identify and notify persons – This will, of course, delay proceedings and the issuing of a final order.

Office Holder:

In another matter that will be of interest to Local Authority Deputies, the Court is concerned with Orders made where there is an ‘Office Holder’ appointed. The case law highlighted was SH (2018) EWCOP – What happens where an Office Holder is appointed and they are replaced, who supervises the change?

http://www.courtofprotectionhub.uk/cases/sh-2018-ewcop-21

Judge Hilder reported that following the ruling on the case, the OPG have a duty to monitor and report any concerns back to the Court.

The Enfield vs Matrix Deputies case was, of course, highlighted. The process of calling in a bond was set out in the second ruling (Matrix 2) where the Court has to be satisfied that P has lost assets.

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCOP/2018/22.html

Judge Hilder also reported that more decisions are due in respect of the 3rd Sector and other fee collecting companies.

Pilot Schemes:

Judge Hilder went on to speak about Pilot Schemes, currently there are none active in the Court. The new Court Rules committee is up and running, the first commitment is to put the committee on a statutory basis.

With respects to mediation, it is not likely that there will be a formal pilot, instead the Court will back a voluntary scheme. If this proves that it offers benefits then there may be a formal pilot, though the OPG have their own Mediation Pilot.

On the subject of urgent orders Judge Hilder passed on a plea from the Court’s authorised officers – File Evidence. Without the evidence attached they cannot make urgent decisions, so if you need a care bill paid urgently submit a copy of the bill.

With respects to the sale of properties the Court is looking for evidence of living arrangements and, if applicable, evidence that a Dols application has been made and the standard authorisation is in place.

OPG:

Paul Tregoning spoke on behalf of the OPG. Paul made it abundantly clear that the focus of the OPG is to make LPA’s more mainstream and part of life. The OPG are continuing the drive for more digital communication.

Whilst the Court have no plans for a mediation scheme, the OPG have plans for their own. As part of their investigations they find that there is no abuse but a dispute, normally sibling rivalry. Hence the reason that they have set up a pilot to try and stop matters getting to Court and preventing lengthy legal battles.

The OPG recently launched its safeguarding strategy, Paul said that their model is about protection first, investigation and resolution. The OPG that they will always help in safeguarding cases, signposting people to the right service.

In the very near future the OPG will become responsible for supervising the new “Guardians of Missing Persons” in England and Wales. This new legislation will appoint a Guardian when someone goes missing or just disappears. No one is currently able to manage their property and affairs; from July the legislation creates the new status. It will be purely for property and affairs matters and will operate like Deputyship. A new code of practice and forms are due to be introduced soon.

Finally, the Court are undertaking a campaign and pilot in the London Borough of Islington with local partners to encourage more people to make an LPA

https://powerofattorney.campaign.gov.uk/