MCA and the Office of the Public Guardian role


The OPG supervises and supports deputies so that decisions made on behalf of someone who may lack capacity are in their best interests, and in line with the five principles of the MCA. Although OPG’s role in relation to safeguarding is more limited than frontline agencies, such as local authorities and the police, the Public Guardian has a statutory function to deal with concerns about attorneys and deputies. As such, OPG plays a key role in supporting, and working with, local authorities to safeguard those at risk.  

OPG is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice and supports the Public Guardian which is a role established by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to protect the interests of those who may lack capacity to make certain decisions for themselves. 

OPG helps people in England and Wales plan for their future so that their health, welfare and financial decisions will be taken care of if they lose capacity to make those decisions themselves.  This is achieved through the registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs). Power of attorney instruments in Scotland and Northern Ireland are maintained by separate bodies.   

The MCA established the role of the Public Guardian. The Public Guardian’s functions are to:

  • Establish and maintain a register of LPAs, EPAs, and deputyship court orders Supervise deputies appointed by the Court of Protection
  • Direct Court of Protection visitors to report on attorneys, deputies and people with LPAs, EPAs or deputyship court orders
  • Receive security where ordered by the court Receive reports from attorneys and deputies when appropriate
  • Report to the court on such matters as it may direct
  • Deal with concerns about the way deputies and attorneys who are acting under a deputyship court order or registered LPA or EPA are exercising their powers
  • Publish information about the discharge of the Public Guardian’s functions