For those working with people who lack mental capacity, a common issue to arise is whether a friend or family member who claims to have decision making authority, does hold such authority. The organisation to turn to is the OPG.
The most common forms of authority, include Enduring and Lasting Powers of Attorney and court appointed deputies – and it’s the OPG’s duty to establish and maintain registers of these forms of authority.
There is a set procedure for requesting a search of the Public Guardian registers and the OPG has updated its guidance on how to request a search of its registers, including a few changes to the OPG form requesting a search of its registers.
Requesting a search of the register: the new OPG100 search form
A few points to note:
o It’s still free to search the registers.
o Additional information can be requested to avoid filling in two sheets, for example where an applicant wants both a power of attorney and deputyship register search.
o If there is a reasonable, justified reason or a legal basis, OPG will share additional information, which is a welcome update. The guidance note indicates they will share information with public authorities with safeguarding concerns and healthcare professionals unable to find relatives or next of kin.
o Those applying must now provide the donor’s address and date of birth (which we do not anticipate will be an issue for most readers). This is intended to help speed up the search process.
These amendments are a constructive and welcome development – you can read the full guidance note here and download the new Form OPG100.