Represented persons are those deemed
incapable of managing their own affairs due to disability, mental
illness, injury or other incapacitating circumstances. They are
considered to be among the most vulnerable members of the
community. Under the Guardianship and Administration Act
1986 (the Act) represented persons are appointed
administrators who must manage their legal and financial affairs
while acting in their best interest. State Trustees Limited is the
administrator for over 10 000 represented persons in Victoria.
This audit assessed whether State Trustees
is managing the financial and legal affairs of represented persons
in their best interests.
The audit found that State Trustees is not
able to clearly demonstrate that it is fulfilling its obligations
to represented persons. Its focus is on measuring its commercial
success and it relies predominantly on compliance with its service
contract with the state as a proxy for compliance with the Act.
However, this does not demonstrate the quality or effectiveness of
the management of represented persons' affairs and it does not have
the robust governance, monitoring and reporting mechanisms needed
to do so. There is also inadequate quality assurance and review of
the services provided to represented persons.
State Trustees’ direct engagement with represented persons is
not sufficient for it to be assured that their needs and wishes are
properly understood. In addition, poor information management and
high case manager turnover means that decisions about their affairs
are not always based on complete or accurate information.