In order for a deputy to fulfil their role and responsibilities, it is essential that they are able to maintain effective communication with the protected person and family members or others concerned with their affairs. This does not necessarily mean that they will all agree on what is in the person’s best interests but there does need to be open discussion and consideration of relevant wishes and feelings.
I have experienced cases where there have been disagreements surrounding best interest decisions and these matters sometimes have to be referred for consideration by the Court of Protection. However, whenever there are different views or opinions it is still important to openly discuss these in an effort to better understand the decisions and how it impacts upon the person concerned. When you make a decision on behalf of someone who lacks capacity it is not always a case of black and white but rather delving in to grey areas to try and determine what is best for the individual concerned. It is essential that the person who lacks capacity is at the centre of this process and this is the reason why no two cases are the same, what is best for one person in a certain scenario is not necessarily right for someone else in a similar situation. Sadly, there isn’t a book of right and wrong answers that you can refer to.
I have said in previous articles that I think it is essential for deputies to keep an open mind and empower people to make decisions but in order to achieve this there first needs to be effective communication. If protected parties or their family members cannot get hold of their deputy or don’t feel as though they can talk openly with them, then this will prevent the collaborative approach that is required
It doesn’t matter what the preferred method of communication is but I always encourage clients and family members to contact me as often as they feel necessary, especially if something is troubling them. I always provide them with my mobile phone number and hope that they see me as someone that they can talk to. Without this relationship it would be almost impossible to provide advice and insight regarding best interest decisions. Whilst our office is based in Altrincham we act for clients all over the country and modern technology helps us to communicate with clients wherever they might be. I also travel to see clients and am happy to meet them somewhere that makes them feel comfortable and able to talk openly.
If you or a family member have experienced difficulty in contacting your deputy or don’t feel as though you can talk openly with them then it may be worth considering a change. If that is the case then please see my previous article ‘Can I change Professional Deputy’ or feel free to contact me on 0161 6155554, by email to Tom.Young@psg-law.co.uk or by visiting our Altrincham office.