Supervision and limits to a deputy's powers

Find out about the limits on a deputies' powers, as well as the supervision put in place by the Office of the Public Guardian.

Are there limits to a deputy's powers?

The authority and powers granted to a deputy should be as limited in extent and duration as is reasonably possible. There are specific restrictions on a deputy's powers. A deputy has no authority to:

  • restrain the person with dementia
  • make a decision for the person if they can make the decision themselves
  • go against a decision made under an existing power of attorney
  • refuse life-sustaining treatment for a person who lacks capacity to consent.

The court can cancel a deputy's appointment at any time if it decides the appointment is no longer in the best interests of the person with dementia who lacks capacity.

Every deputy order (the paper that states a deputy's powers) is different, and may contain further clauses and limits to specific powers. Examples include a limit on how much can be spent in a single transaction, or a cap on how much can be spent in a certain time period.


The role of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is to protect anyone who lacks the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. The Court of Protection and the OPG are essentially the same institution but with defined functions: the Court makes the decisions and the OPG attends to all the administration.

The OPG supervises deputies, provides evidence to the Court and offers information to the public. They have a responsibility to check that you are doing everything you should be doing. This involves making sure that you comply with the terms of the Court order, and that the decisions you make on behalf of the person are in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act and in the person's best interests.

There are two different levels of supervision:

  • General - all new deputies are placed under general supervision in the first year because they may need more support and guidance. If there are concerns about a deputy, they will also be placed under general supervision
  • Minimal - if the assets of the person with dementia are below £21,000 and there are no concerns about the deputy, they will be placed under minimal supervision.

For further information on supervision levels, see the OPG website, or contact them via the Office of the Public Guardian website. 

Supervision fees

A supervision fee must be paid annually. The amount will depend upon the type of supervision (see above): the more supervision required the higher the fee. For current rates see the OPG website, or contact them (see 'Other useful organisations').

Further reading