Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Office of the Public Guardian response

This page provides advice and guidance on how OPG is responding while affected by the coronavirus. This will be updated when new advice is available.

Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will continue to deliver its services and support those who are planning for the future and at most risk in society. As we deal with the impact of coronavirus, we are working hard to maintain our services and have robust plans in place which will support us to do this.

We will regularly review our position and ability to operate, this might mean that our approach will change to reflect Government advice and guidelines. We will provide updates when relevant.

Contacting us

We are currently receiving a high volume of calls. Due to the coronavirus, our staffing levels have been affected, this means it might take longer than normal for us to respond to calls and customer enquiries.

If you currently act as an attorney or deputy, and have enquiries regarding your role, you may wish to refer to gov.uk for guidance and practice notes to help you make key decisions. You can find further guidance:

We will 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 will continue to provide our LPA services and this includes processing and registering of LPA’s. We aim to register LPA applications within 40 working days, and we’re currently performing in line with our ambition, but due to coronavirus, this could change and it might take us longer than normal. We will continue to provide updates when required.

Safeguarding assessments and investigations

We will endeavour 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.

Visits

In accordance with recent government advice, all travel relating to OPG visiting work will be reduced. Visitors are still conducting some visits over the phone, where appropriate, as an alternative to face to face visiting.

Deputies, donors and attorneys scheduled for a visit will be contacted by an OPG visitor with an update. Visitors may still contact customers via phone or email during this time.

Guardianships (Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017)

Our Guardianships service will continue, if you are thinking of applying to become a guardian, or have already been appointed as a guardian and have enquiries regarding your role, you may wish to refer to the Guardianship (Missing Persons) detailed code of practice or the pages on managing missing persons finances to help you make key decisions.

We recognise how important and reassuring it is for Guardians to be able to contact our Supervision team, 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 via Royal Mail delivery.

Working together

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.

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.

The government has published guidance on social distancing and protecting older people and vulnerable adults.

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 at: customerservices@publicguardian.gov.uk
  • Call us on 0300 456 0300 if it is necessary to speak with us directly, but please be aware there may be a delay in responding and it might be easier to email us.

We are continuously monitoring the situation, and will provide updates on our operational guidance on our social media channels: Twitter @OPGGovUK Linkedin and Facebook

Published 24 March 2020