Public Guardian FAQs
Find out answers to common questions about the Public Guardian.
The Public Guardian is your guardian
If we have been appointed as your guardian, here are the answers to some common questions.
Why has the Public Guardian been appointed?
The Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) has appointed us as your guardian because there are some decisions in your life that need to be made.
You may not be able to make these decisions for yourself.
Your family, friends and carers might not be able to make these decisions either.
How long will the Public Guardian be your guardian?
The guardianship order says how long we will be your guardian, and what decisions we can make.
You can ask us to give you this information.
When your guardianship order ends, the Guardianship Division of NCAT will meet again to decide if you still need a guardian to help you make decisions.
How does the Public Guardian make a decision?
To make a decision we need information about:
you and what is happening in your life
what decisions need to be made for you
the choices available for you and whether the decisions will be a good thing for you.
We will ask you what you think about the decisions we need to make and what you want or need.
We will also ask people who care for you and help you to give us information and to give their opinion on what would be a good decision for you.
It might take a bit of time to get all the information from you and the people in your life.
When we have this information and thought about all the choices, we will then make a decision.
What does the Public Guardian think is important when making a decision?
We want to make decisions that we think you would make yourself if you were able to.
When making decisions, it’s important to us that we help you be:
as independent as possible
happy about where you live and have people around you that you like
healthy and get good health and medical care if you need it.
What you say and think is very important to us, even when this is different to what other people might have to say.
The Guardianship Act says that we must listen to what you say and make decisions that will be in your best interests
Is your information kept private?
Anything you tell your us will be kept private.
We will not give other people any information about you unless:
you tell us we can
we need to give that information to make a decision for you
we are required by law to do so.
Will the Public Guardian come and see you?
We will talk to you about what is happening in your life, how you feel about guardianship and what you think about the decisions which might need to be made.
We will do this either by visiting you, talking to you on the phone or asking someone else to speak to you.
You can talk to us if you are worried about what is happening or think there is something we should know.
Information for family, friends and service providers
If someone you know has been appointed the Public Guardian as their guardian, here are the answers to some common questions.
How does the Public Guardian make decisions?
We need to know what decisions are necessary, what choices are available and the effect the proposed decision will have on the person’s life.
When we have this information and have considered all the options available, we will make a decision.
We will do this by:
Talking with the person.
We will find out their views (past and present) lifestyle choices, beliefs and values to help make decisions on their behalf.
Talking to people who know the person well and who may also be affected by the decision.
We are interested in the thoughts and opinions about what the person would have wanted or what is considered best for them.
Asking service providers to give us information about the support and services available and to give an opinion on the outcome of potential decisions.
What guides the Public Guardian when making decisions?
We can only make decisions in the areas of authority set out in the guardianship order.
You can read the guardianship order to see what areas of authority (functions) we have.
A guardian must make decisions that reflect the principles of the Guardianship Act 1987.
We are also guided by written policy statements on particular decision-making areas and a number of internal decision-making procedures.
Can I make a recommendation for the decision?
Yes. You can make your recommendation through a proposal. The Public Guardian may request a proposal from you when we are considering what is the best decision for a person we represent. You might also submit a proposal if you feel a new decision needs to be made.
You should talk to the guardian if you would like to submit a proposal. The guardian can talk to you about the decision being considered, if a proposal is needed, what you should include in a proposal and how a decision will be made. More information about submitting a proposal is available in this factsheet.
How long does it take for the Public Guardian to make a decision?
It can take time to collect all the information that is needed and to talk to the person with a guardianship order and other people who will be affected by the decision.
At times a decision may not be possible until services or support is available.
You should talk us about the length of time we think it will take to make a particular decision.
It is important to remember that where medical or dental treatment is urgent a doctor or dentist can provide this treatment without consent.
Who will the Public Guardian keep informed?
Family members, friends and service providers who are closely involved with the person, or who will be affected by the decision will be kept informed throughout any decision-making process.
There may be some information that we might not provide if the person under guardianship does not want that information given out, or if it is personal information that other people do not need to know.
Can you ask for the reasons for a decision?
If you are affected by a decision you can ask the guardian for reasons why a decision was made. You can also ask for these reasons to be given to you in writing.
What happens if the decision has financial implications?
We will always work closely with either the person who informally provides financial support, or the person appointed under a power of attorney or financial management order when making a guardianship decision that could have financial implications.
The Public Guardian does not make financial decisions for a person with a guardianship order.