The Public Guardianship Office (commonly abbreviated PGO) is both an executive agency of the Lord Chancellor's Department and the administrative arm of the Court of Protection. It was only recently established in April 2002, and took over the mental health functions of the Public Trust Office.

What exactly does it do?

Basically the PGO provides financial protection services for clients within England and Wales who are not able to manage their financial affairs because of mental incapacity. It divides its business into two main areas as follows;

  1. Protection - The PGO will assist and advise the families and advisers of the person who is mentally icapacitated, particularly with an application necessary to the Court of Protection. If the Court appoints a receiver it will assist the receiver in completing their duties properly, and monitor their actions in order to ensure that they are at all times acting in the best interests of the incapacitated person.
  2. Receivership Services - As a last resort, if there is no one else willing or suitable to act as the Receiver, the PGO will act as the Receiver itself

It does not however provide these services for free, and has a scale of charges for the various services provided. (Although it will waive its charges in cases of financial hardship.) Its predecessor the Public Trust Office came in for a great deal of criticism both for competence (or the lack of it) and for over-charging hence the emphasis it now places on its Change Programme and its comprehensive compliants procedure.

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