When you have been appointed as a guardian by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), your role is to:
- support the person with their decision-making where practicable and appropriate
- make decisions for them when they are not able to make the decision, even with support.
Your authority as guardian comes from the Guardianship and Administration Act 2019, which sets out your powers and duties.
The guardianship order will specify the personal matters you can make decisions about, such as:
- where and with whom the person lives
- access to services
- restricting visits to the person.
Supporting the person
It's important to provide the person with practicable and appropriate support to help them to:
- make and participate in decisions affecting them
- express their will and preferences
- develop their decision-making capacity, as far as this is possible.
Making a decision
Where possible, you should support the person to make their own decisions.
When you make a decision for the person, you should:
- make a decision that gives all practicable and appropriate effect to the person's will and preferences, unless this would cause them serious harm
- if you are not able to form a belief about their likely will and preference, make a decision that promotes their personal and social wellbeing.
You are required to:
- act as an advocate
- act honestly, in good faith, and with reasonable skill and care
- encourage and assist the person to develop their decision-making capacity
- act in a way to protect the person from neglect, abuse or exploitation
- not use the position for profit or act if you have a conflict of interest (unless permitted by law or VCAT)
- not disclose confidential information gained in your role unless authorised to do so by VCAT or by law
VCAT must reassess the order within 12 months unless it has stated otherwise in the order. At the time, VCAT will consider whether you have performed your duties as a guardian.
There are possible legal consequences for guardians if they act dishonestly or negligently. It is, therefore, important that you take your duties seriously.
If you are unsure of your duties and responsibilities as a guardian, or would like some guidance regarding a particular decision, you can write to VCAT and request advice. You may also phone OPA’s Advice Service for assistance.
Additional important information about your role is in the Guardianship Guide.