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Office of the Public Guardian suspends the practice of issuing temporary welfare guardianship certificates

Previously it has been the case that when joint welfare and financial guardianship orders were granted, and the financial powers were conditional on a bond of caution being lodged, a temporary welfare guardianship certificate was issued by the OPG one week after the final interlocutor had been received by that Office, if caution had not been found in that time. Once the bond of caution was lodged, a final certificate covering both welfare and financial guardianship powers was issued.
In circumstances where it has historically taken up to (and on occasions longer than) 12 weeks for a guardian to be granted the necessary bond of caution, by providing a temporary welfare guardianship certificate the OPG ensured that guardians with both welfare and financial powers need waste little time in commencing the exercise of their welfare functions.  In some cases the almost immediate exercise of welfare powers, such as the power to move an elderly adult with dementia from a hospital to appropriate long term nursing care, was paramount to the adult’s interests. In such circumstances having a temporary welfare certificate ensured that the interests of the adult were not prejudiced by the time it took for the formalities of financial guardianship to be completed.
However in recent years the process of finding caution has been improved significantly. Whilst there are a few cautionary insurers in Scotland, the OPG has a special arrangement with Marsh Limited whereby completion of a pro-forma application can result in a bond of caution being granted, and importantly emailed directly to the OPG, in less than a week. This in turn means the OPG are able to issue final guardianship certificates quicker, with the result that there is often little or no benefit from the practice of issuing a separate temporary welfare certificate.
Whilst the OPG will no longer routinely issue temporary welfare guardianship certificates, they stress that should a guardian request one (as may be the case where welfare powers require to be exercised with extreme urgency), such requests will be met.  The suspension will be reviewed in January 2012