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Martin Searle Solicitors

Professional Deputy Standards Guidance

Community Care law team explain the five Professional Deputy standards and how we can help Professional Deputies satisfy these standards

In July 2015, the Office of the Public Guardian issued guidance through which the OPG seeks to ensure that all professional and local authority Deputies are operating to the high best practice standards. Many Professional Deputies will already be meeting or exceeding these standards for their clients. However, the assessment and supervision process and the detailed documentation requirements may prompt the Professional Deputy to consider involving community care and education law specialists to demonstrate their best practice commitment to exceeding the standards.

It may be useful to refer to our list of Abbreviations Used in Community Care Law and Abbreviations Used in SEN and Disability Law.

The five Professional Deputy Standards

  1. Standard one: secure the client’s finances and assets
  2. Standard two: gain insight into the client to make decisions in their best interests
  3. Standard three: maintain effective internal office processes and organisation
  4. Standard four: have the skills and knowledge to carry out the duties of deputy
  5. Standard five: health and welfare standards

How we can assist the Professional Deputy in satisfying the Standards

As one of a very small handful of community care and education law specialist firms who offer in-house services and training to Private Client teams, we can complement the work of Professional Deputies and Attorneys. Our services include undertaking annual or other file audits and advising on complex education, health and social care matters. We offer a flexible approach which meets your individual requirements, so that you can demonstrate to the OPG how well you are meeting your clients’ needs. Our services include:

Initial audit at the point when you are first appointed as Deputy

Our initial Professional Deputy audit focuses on Standards 1(a)(4) and 1(a)(6) and will cover a review of the current and historic education, health or social care funding that may be available to your client in addition to their welfare benefits entitlement. It will also highlight any potential challenges to the social services financial assessment process – for example, when your client should benefit from a property disregard, or when their beneficial interest in jointly-owned property has been overvalued. We can also make recommendations about benefits and support for client’s family, in particular when they are caring for your client in the family home.

Full audit on settlement of your client’s Personal Injury or Clinical Negligence case

In addition the matter covered in the initial audit, the full audit will further consider the impact (if any) of the settlement on any means-tested benefits or publicly funded support.

Annual review for all cases

This annual “health check” ensures that you are continuing to secure all potential sources of publicly funded care and benefits support for your client. We will also advise on any issues around transition (for example, from child to adult care and support); matters arising from any changes in your client’s needs; and potential challenges to any changes in your client’s package of care and support instigated by the Local Authority or Clinical Commissioning Group.

In-house training for your team

We are happy to provide bespoke expert in-house training for your team on a regular or one-off basis, according to your requirements.  This could cover for example:

  • challenging NHS funding decisions and the rules on paying for adult social care ( Standard 1(b)(2));
  • Safeguarding (Standard 3(c))
  • Care planning and care arrangements (Standards 1(g) and 1(h))

If you are a Professional Deputy or Attorney and require advice and assistance on any community care or education law matter, we can help. Contact us on 01273 609911, or email
info@ms-solicitors.co.uk to find out more.

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