When VCAT receives an application for administration or guardianship, or for orders about powers of attorney, the member (person making the decision) sometimes asks OPA to gather more information. This is to help VCAT decide whether to appoint a guardian or an administrator for the person the application is about. This is known as an investigation.
VCAT will ask OPA to find out specific information such as:
- Does the proposed represented person (PRP) have a disability which affects their ability to make decisions about personal matters or about their financial and property affairs? Can the person make decisions about such matters if they are provided support?
- Is there a decision that needs to be made for the person by a guardian or an administrator? Who should be appointed?
- What is the PRP's will and what are their preferences – what do they want?
- Can decisions be made informally or be reasonably made through negotiation or mediation?
- What are the views of any primary carer, relative of the person, or someone with a direct interest in the application?
- What are the relationships important to a PRP and how can they be preserved?
- Has the person appointed under an enduring power of attorney (the attorney) complied with their duties as required under the rules applying to them?
- Does the PRP require a medical treatment decision maker to be appointed?
During an investigation, the allocated investigator will usually seek to meet or speak with the PRP and other persons with an interest in the matter.
Whether the investigator meets with the PRP or any interested person will be subject to many factors, including OPA and Departmental rules, policies and directives and public health warnings.
After completing their investigation, the investigator will generally provide a written report to VCAT, which may make recommendations for VCAT to consider and decide on at a further hearing.
- While OPA staff collect and provide information, it is VCAT that decides whether a guardian, supportive guardian, administrator or supportive administrator is needed and, if so, who should be appointed. It is also up to VCAT to decide whether an enduring power of attorney should be revoked, suspended, or whether other changes are required.