Becoming a Deputy


Becoming someone’s Deputy isn’t always an easy decision to make. We spoke to one family about why they applied and how they found the process.


Why did you decide to become a Deputy?

I was always the Appointee from the DWP [Department for Works and Pensions] for my daughter T.  I managed her money from when she was young and had started to receive benefits. When she became 18 – an adult in Social Services’ view – I continued as she has severe learning disabilities, autism, challenging behaviour and a diagnosis of Canavan’s disease [Spongiform Leukodystrophy] and a mental age of around 2 so she was still not able to manage her finances.


She had always lived with us, attending day school and then at 19 a day centre [as it was called then].  However, when she was 32 she went into Supported Living accommodation as a tenant sharing with one other lady with 24 hour support fully funded by our Local Authority. I continued being her Appointee with no problems.


In 2017 our Local Authority were getting Court of Protection Deputyship for people they funded.

And simultaneously introducing ‘Fairer Contributions’ whereby they clawed back contributions from the people they funded via Social Services.  The Local Authority also insisted where there was a tenancy, as in supported living, that there was a signature on the tenancy agreement.  [We had refused to sign it and our daughter did not have the capacity to sign it].  They strongly advised providers that if they or families did not apply for Deputyship then they would apply themselves to manage people’s finances.


When we were told about this, my husband and I felt very strongly that we didn’t want the Provider to be responsible for managing our daughter’s benefits [she has no other savings or assets] so we looked into becoming her Property & Financial Affairs Deputy along with my other daughter [all this means is that you are appointed by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) /Court of Protection COP and you can have joint Deputyship].


How was the process? 

Going ahead, there were forms to fill in. There has to be written evidence that the person lacks capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.   This has to be assessed by an independent assessor which is used as evidence when applying.


We decided to go with a solicitor who had experience in making the application for Finance Deputyship and at the same time, something we hadn’t thought about, he suggested applying for Health and Welfare deputyship too. The whole process was about 4 months.


Initially a Surety bond has to be taken out issued by the OPG.  In our case is was a one off payment.  This is to protect the finances if the Deputy does not carry out their duties. There is a fee for annual supervision from OPG but our daughter is exempt because of her benefits and no other assets.


We did have to change her bank account to a ‘Deputy account’ and were strongly advised by the bank that we should not allow a care worker to have the bank card to access petty cash for T’s day to day expenses as ultimately it was our Deputy responsibility.


How has it helped?

Being a Deputy comes with the responsibility of completing an annual report, which can be done online.  Our circumstances mean there isn’t much to fill in really, you don’t have to itemise every single purchase, only items over £1000.  BUT I do keep every single invoice on file just in case I am asked because it’s not our money to spend.  I understand the Finance and Property officers are very thorough in overseeing the reports.


The Health and Welfare visitor contacts us once a year to see if we need any advice and makes a visit to see T.   This is very helpful from our point of view as it is an independent professional visiting and the Provider will know this. We have a chat and they can give us advice too and we can always contact their office.  It works both ways.


We have found that we are informed and included in decisions e.g. support plans, GP visits, dental visits etc, which we should be anyway as family, but it seems to be acknowledged even by the Local Authority.  I did find that when I mentioned I was a Deputy and offered an opinion at a meeting or asked a question, the response from professionals was much more acknowledged.


The above is only one family’s experience. It can vary from person to person. For example, you don’t have to take up both Deputyships, you may apply to be either Property & Financial Affairs Deputy or Personal Welfare Deputy.

You can get a solicitor to help or apply yourself by downloading and completing the online forms which requires details about your son or daughter such as where they live, what benefits they are on etc. The form needs the written support of a doctor’s opinion on your child’s condition and the doctor can assess if he/she  lacks capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

If you would like further advice about applying to become a deputy then there are organisations such as Challenging Behaviour that you can speak to and they will help you decide if it’s the right decision for you and your family.  For more information on how to become a Deputy visit: