In 2018 Gavin ‘Jack’ Thomas was appointed as the Public Guardian for St Helena and Ascension Island, in accordance with section 124(1) of the St Helena Mental Health & Mental Capacity Ordinance, 2015. The Public Guardian is based at Brick House in Jamestown and can be contacted on Tel: 22713.
The Public Guardian, within the framework of the Mental Health & Mental Capacity Ordinance, 2015, protects vulnerable adults who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. One of the most important functions of the Public Guardian is to supervise the people who have Powers of Attorney for those vulnerable adults. Whilst the Public Guardian post sits within the Children’s and Adults Social Care Directorate, the Public Guardian reports directly to the Chief Secretary.
People can make provision for a time when they may not have mental capacity.This can be done through a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) which appoints a donee to make decisions on a person’s behalf in respect of their personal welfare and/or property and affairs. The Lasting Power of Attorney is only triggered if, at some point after having made it, the person loses mental capacity.
If someone no longer has mental capacity in relation to a particular decision and that person did not make a LPA the Ordinance enables the Supreme Court to appoint a deputy on their behalf. 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 ordered to make decisions about a person’s property and financial affairs this could involve managing property, selling property, buying property and conducting legal proceedings on that person’s behalf. If the deputy is ordered to make decisions about a person’s personal welfare this could involve deciding where the person lives, what contact they have with others 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
Should you wish to learn more about the role of the Public Guardian or Deputyship then please contact the Public Guardian based at Brick House on Tel: 22713.