In September 2016, Governor Lisa Phillips appointed Paul McGinnety as the first Public Guardian for St Helena, in accordance with section 124(1) of the St Helena Mental Health and Mental Capacity Ordinance, 2015.

It is the Public Guardian’s role to protect vulnerable adults on St Helena who lack the mental capacity to make decisions.

Paul said:

“Having just raised awareness through a week-long series of events which included elder abuse, it is an opportune moment to remind people of the role of the Public Guardian in supporting the elderly and those most vulnerable on the Island.   

 Lasting Power of Attorney

 When individuals still have capacity they can make provision for a time when they may not be able to make decisions for themselves. This can be done through a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) which appoints a donee to make decisions on their behalf in respect of personal welfare and/or property and affairs. The Lasting Power of Attorney is only triggered if, at some point after having made it, an individual loses mental capacity.

 If someone no longer has mental capacity in relation to a particular decision and that person did not make a Lasting Power of Attorney, the Ordinance enables the Supreme Court to appoint a deputy. A deputy may make decisions in relation to a person’s property and financial affairs and/or a person’s personal welfare. If the deputy is appointed to make decisions about a person’s property and financial affairs this could involve managing property, selling property, buying property and (if authorised by the court) conducting legal proceedings on that person’s behalf. If the deputy is appointed to make decisions about a person’s personal welfare, this could involve deciding where the person lives and consenting to medical treatment on behalf of that person.

The work of donees and deputies is kept under review by the Public Guardian whose role includes:

  • Keeping a register of LPAs
  • Keeping a register of court orders appointing deputies
  • Supervising the deputies appointed by the court
  • Receiving security required by the court
  • Receiving reports from donees and deputies
  • Reporting to the court
  • Investigating complaints against donees and deputies, and
  • Submitting a yearly report to the Governor

 People are strongly encouraged to create a Lasting Power of Attorney which must be registered with the Public Guardian. Appointed donees will receive support and supervision from the Public Guardian.

Please contact the Public Guardian, Paul McGinnety (tel: 22470), the Adults Safeguarding Team (tel: 23172) or the Community Mental Health Team (tel: 22593) if you need help or would like further information.

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 SHG

26 June 2017

 

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