This page provides guidance on how OPG is responding to the coronavirus pandemic. It will be updated when new information is available.
Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will continue to deliver its services and support those planning for the future and who are at most risk in society. As we deal with the impact of COVID-19, we’re working hard to maintain our services. We have robust plans in place that will help us to do this.
We’ll regularly review our position and ability to operate. This might mean that our approach will change to reflect government advice and guidelines. We’ll update this page if that happens.
Our contact centre hours are:
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9.30am to 5pm
- Wednesday 10am to 5pm
Our services are currently experiencing delays, and we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. We are following the principles set out in the working safely guidance so that more staff can work safely in the office, and we’re spending time to ensure our customers get the support they need during this time.
We aim to keep customers informed and updated on delays, so we ask that you are patient with us during this time. If you have an urgent safeguarding referral which means someone is in imminent danger, then contact the police.
Lasting power of attorney applications (LPAs)
We are experiencing delays registering lasting powers of attorney. Please allow up to 20 weeks from receipt of your LPA for your application to be processed. We appreciate your patience during this time.
If you made your LPA using our online service, you’ll be able to track the progress of your application without contacting us.
Making and registering an LPA during the coronavirus pandemic
On 16 August the government changed the rules on self-isolation.If you’re fully vaccinated or under 18 and 6 months you’re not required to self-isolate if you’ve had close contact with someone with COVID-19. Find out whether you need to self-isolate and how you can protect others if:
- you live with someone who has or might have COVID-19
- you’ve been in contact with someone who has or might have COVID-19 but you do not live with them
Making an LPA is an important decision that you should think about carefully. Please read our guidance on making an LPA during the coronavirus pandemic.
Registering an enduring power of attorney (EPA)
If you have an EPA made and signed before 1 October 2007, you must register it as soon as the donor starts to lose mental capacity. Please read our guidance on registering an EPA.
Short-term options for health, welfare and financial decisions
An LPA takes time to register – there are other ways people can make certain decisions for you in the short term that are quicker to put in place. Read our guidance on short-term options for health, welfare and financial decisions.
Safeguarding assessments and investigations
We will try to carry out a risk assessment of all new safeguarding referrals within 2 working days and complete investigations within 70 working days. We will do our best to maintain our levels of service across all our frontline work, however some delays are possible.
We are ensuring the most serious and significant safeguarding risks are being prioritised at this time.
Visitors will continue to conduct some visits over the phone or via video call where appropriate. If you have a visit scheduled during this time, an OPG visitor will be in touch. They’ll contact you by phone or email to discuss how a visit might happen, or to give you an update.
Guardianships - Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017
Our guardianships service will continue during the pandemic. You can find guidance online to help if you are thinking of applying to become a guardian or have already been appointed and have enquiries regarding your role. This includes the guardianship (Missing Persons) detailed code of practice and information on managing missing persons finances.
We recognise how important and reassuring it is for guardians to be able to contact us, especially in the early days of their guardianship. Our usual contact channels remain open and our ambition is to continue to provide as near normal a level of service as we possibly can. It might take us a little longer than usual to contact or update you; this includes responding to any written enquiries, particularly those received by post.
Being a deputy or attorney during the coronavirus pandemic
During the coronavirus pandemic, your role and responsibilities as a deputy or attorney remain the same. However, you should refer to guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread. Read our guidance on being a deputy or attorney during the coronavirus pandemic.
Professional deputies are appointed by the Court of Protection to make decisions for someone who does not have the mental capacity to make decisions themselves. They will continue in this role during the pandemic.
We are working with colleagues across Ministry of Justice (MOJ) including the Court of Protection to ensure that we can continue to offer the best level of protection and service we can for adults at risk.
We will ensure that we reflect government advice in response to coronavirus to help with reducing transmission and will keep our partners updated on our work.
NHS and social services staff: check if a patient has an attorney or deputy
NHS and social services staff can contact us to check if a COVID-19 patient has an attorney or deputy. We aim to respond within 24 hours, Monday to Friday.
Protecting older people and vulnerable adults
Our customers are often the most vulnerable people in society, we ask that they or those who care for them, keep informed about government recommendations and are well supported.
Stay up to date
Check our guidance pages for more information, and we recommend that you refer to these before you contact us. This will allow us to deal with the most serious enquiries and make the best use of our staff while managing an increased work load.
You can also contact us by:
- email on email@example.com
- telephone on 0300 456 0300 - please be aware there may be a delay in answering your call and it might be easier to email us.