How we make decisions

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:

  1. Every person can express their will and preference
  2. A person with disability has the right to make decisions
  3. A person with disability can expect to have access to appropriate support to make decision

Structured Decision Making

The Structured Decision Making Framework explains 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.

Forensic examination

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.

General principles

All decisions made by the Public Guardian must be in accordance with the General Principles outlined under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000.

The General Principles include:

  • presumption of capacity
  • same human rights
  • individual value
  • valued role as member of society
  • participation in community life
  • encouragement of self-reliance
  • maximum participation, minimal limitations and substituted judgment
  • maintenance of existing supportive relationships
  • maintenance of environment and values
  • power should be exercised in a way that is appropriate to the circumstances
  • confidentiality.

Find out more information about our confidentiality requirements, and what to do if you disagree with our decisions.