Chapter 6 You've been appointed - what to do next
Informing and involving others
After the hearing, and while you are waiting to receive your certificate, it is a good idea to make a list of everyone who needs to know about the powers you have been granted and to write to them, setting out what these powers are, and providing them with a contact address. For example:
- Financial powers - notify the bank, building society and any other financial institutions you may be dealing with. It's advisable to make an appointment to discuss arrangements that need to be put in place. They will need to scan the original order into their files before you can operate the account.
- Medical decision-making powers - If you are granted medical decision-making powers then the doctor or other health care professional responsible for treating the adult, must seek your consent to treatment.
The only exception is when it has not been 'reasonable or practicable' for the doctor to contact you, for example, because you have not left full contact details - day time and night time, changes during holiday periods, etc. Therefore it is important to contact the doctors who have responsibility for the care of the adult and send them a copy of the order with your main contact addresses - mail, telephone and e-mail and notify them of any changes immediately. It will also be helpful to do the same with any other health care professionals the adult has regular contact with.
- Welfare decisions - contact the care manager/social worker and any care providers involved with supporting the adult, and let them know what powers have been granted. You will be able to delegate certain powers,
e.g. to support workers to make day-to-day decisions. They will need to know when they should refer back to you. It is best to put this in writing and request a meeting to discuss arrangements. This can avoid misunderstandings.
The adult, family members and others
As soon as you receive your certificate, you should arrange to meet other family members and anyone else with a close interest in the adult's welfare, in order to discuss what happens next. You should involve the person as far as possible and discuss with everyone how you plan to go about what you need to do. You will need to ask for their views and suggestions (remember the principles - to take account of the views of the adult and the views of others with an interest).
Contact with supervisory bodies
Financial guardianship: as part of the ongoing supervisory duty of the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland), a case officer will be in contact to discuss financial management planning and accounting requirements with you and will offer support and advice. In addition the OPG has powers to investigate if anyone raises a complaint about the way you are operating the guardianship (further details from the OPG).
Welfare guardianship: where the adult has a mental disorder, the Mental Welfare Commission will write to you, and the person on guardianship, to offer advice. In some situations the Commission may arrange a visit. The Commission can investigate complaints when requested by the local authority or others.
The local authority: has a duty to visit you and the person on guardianship within three months of your appointment and to make another visit within the first year. After that the local authority has a duty to visit at least twice a year. The visit is usually carried out by a Mental Health Officer. The purpose of the visit is to check that the guardianship is going well and to offer assistance. If anyone makes a complaint against the way you are operating as guardian then the local authority has a duty to investigate. The local authority can also involve the Mental Welfare Commission in an investigation.
Email: Alison Mason
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