The Office of the Public Guardian's staff are able to make a range of decisions on behalf of adults with impaired decision-making capacity. For information about our confidentiality requirements, and what to do if you disagree with our decisions, please click here.
We believe all of our clients can live full lives, often contributing and realising potential that others may never have imagined. Therefore all our decisions aim to reflect this. We do not believe that a declaration of impaired decision-making capacity by a Tribunal (which may attract the Public Guardian’s appointment) means that an adult cannot meaningfully contribute to decisions made about them.
That's why we operate from a framework of supported decision making for everything we do. This means “the process of assisting a person to make their own decisions, so they can develop and pursue their own goals, make choices about their life and exercise some control over the things that are important to them”. This approach to decision-making attempts to affirm the adult’s right to be in charge of their own life.” (Definition courtesy of NSW Department of Family & Community Services).
Supported Decision-making as an approach to guardianship has its foundation in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Its core principles are that:
Information on the position of the Public Guardian when making decisions as guardian or attorney for adults with impaired capacity. This prioritises and promotes a least restrictive decision making model within guardianship. View the Structured Decision Making framework.
Information about the Public Guardian's decision making when someone is seriously ill, unconscious or unable to communicate. Includes:
Information on the decision making process that the Public Guardian will use to make decisions in relation to both Short Term Approvals and other decisions relating to Restrictive Practices for Guardianship clients of the Office of the Public Guardian. View the Restrictive Practices Decision Making information.
A forensic examination is one type of decision that the Public Guardian may make on behalf of an adult with impaired decision-making capacity. A guardian or attorney may consent to a forensic examination of the adult in order to gather evidence that a criminal offence has been committed against the adult.
A power of attorney is a formal document giving another person the authority to make legally binding decisions on your behalf. There are two types of power of attorney: general power of attorney and enduring power of attorney. Find out more about Power of Attorney decisions.
The Office of the Public Guardian may consider a residential aged care placement for a person if all community-based options for their proper care and support have been exhausted, and if they would be placed at unacceptable risk of harm or neglect if they were to remain living in their current accommodation arrangements.
Find out more about Residential aged care decisions for clients of the Public Guardian.
All decisions made by the Public Guardian are in accordance with the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 general principles and health care principle.
The general principles include:
The health care principle states that power of a health care matter should be exercised in the way least restrictive of the adult’s rights. Additionally, that power should only be exercised if it is necessary and appropriate to maintain or promote the adult’s health or well being; or if it is in the adult’s best interests.
The Public Guardian has a direct role in implementing the obligations and protecting rights prescribed under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Although a function of guardianship can include making decisions on behalf of the adult in relation to services funded under the NDIS, the Public Guardian promotes a supported decision making approach and encourages adults with impaired decision-making capacity to have maximum participation and minimal limitations in decisions affecting their lives. Find out more about the Public Guardian and the NDIS.