The Office of the Public Advocate has developed a set of Guardianship Standards, which outlines the roles and responsibilities of guardians and details how they are expected to act. These standards conform to the National Guardianship Standards.
The Guardianship Standards inform represented persons and other interested parties what to expect from guardians.
Guardians are expected to meet the following minimum standards:
In providing information, guardians will meet the following standards:
- Provide information to the represented person (where appropriate), the original applicant and the primary carer about:
- the guardian’s role and authority regarding the represented person
- guardianship service standards.
- Where appropriate, guardians will ensure that information about substitute decision-making is provided to primary health care practitioners, such as the represented person’s treating doctor, Royal District Nursing Service or Community Nurse.
In seeking views, guardians will meet the following standards:
- Seek and consider the views of the represented person when making guardianship decisions. Wherever possible, this will happen through personal contact subject to urgency and geographical location of the represented person and the guardian.
- Where possible, the guardian will give effect to the wishes of the represented person.
- Visits and contact will continue as needed to assist the guardian in supporting and promoting the represented person’s welfare and interests through guardianship and advocacy.
- Seek and consider the views of (other) family and people involved with the represented person about any signiﬁcant decisions.
- Take into consideration the recommendations of health care professionals and other service providers involved with the represented person, as the decision requires.
- Consider the views of anyone genuinely involved with the represented person, where these views are put to the guardian and are about issues that the guardian can make decisions about.
- Seek the reasons for, and take account of, the objections of the represented person or interested party, to a proposed course of action. The guardian will consider ways to achieve their wishes or resolve the dispute, if possible.
- The guardian will consider and advocate for the least restrictive alternative that meets the needs of the represented person.
In making guardianship decisions, guardians will meet the following standards:
- Make decisions according to the legislative provisions and principles and the authority of the current order.
- Provide written reasons for decisions at the request of the represented person or interested parties.
In recording information, guardians will:
- Record decisions, including any periods or conditions.
- Record the significant details of all contacts made and decisions taken in relation to the guardianship of the person.
- Record the reasons for all guardianship decisions, including the key facts of the matter, relevant views of the represented person and other parties, and the reasoning of the guardian.
Participate in guardianship reassessments
Guardians participating in guardianship reassessments will meet the following standards:
- Request a reassessment of the current guardianship order by VCAT, if the guardian believes a cancellation (revocation) of the order or a change in the order will help promote or safeguard the welfare and interests of the represented person.
Prior to the reassessment hearing, guardians will:
- Provide a report to VCAT detailing the decisions made and a recommendation regarding the continuing need for a guardianship order. Where possible the guardian’s report should be in writing.
In preparing the report, guardians will:
- Consult with the represented person, as far as possible, to determine their views.
- Consult with relevant key parties and include their views in the report.
- Recommend the continuation of the guardianship order only where there is evidence that the represented person currently needs decisions to be made on their behalf, and where guardianship can help achieve outcomes for the represented person.
Ensure privacy and confidentiality
To ensure appropriate standards of privacy and confidentiality guardians will meet the following standards:
- Protect the privacy and confidentiality of the represented person and the key people in their lives.
- Ensure that the guardian releases only information relevant to the carrying out of the decision.