What guardians do

What guardians do

If you have an guardianship order then you will have a guardian appointed to help you with lifestyle decisions. There are several things the guardian must do. This includes talking regularly with you and asking what you want to do, considering your wishes and acting in your best interests. If you are unhappy with your guardian, you can take action.

What guardian​s can do

When a guardian is appointed to make decisions, they can only make the decisions that Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) places in the order. The orders can say that the guardian can make:

  • personal and lifestyle decisions
  • decisions about:
    • accommodation
    • medical and dental care
    • healthcare
    • access to services.

A 'limited order' will specify the types of lifestyle decisions that the guardian can make. For example, the guardian may only have the power to make decisions about accommodation. A 'plenary order' allows the guardian to make all lifestyle decisions.

A guardian must act in your best interests. This means a guardian must:

  • protect you from abuse, exploitation and neglect
  • consider your wishes
  • advocate on your behalf
  • encourage you to make your own decisions.

However, a guardian does have the power to make decisions and may make decisions that you do not agree with.

What guardians cannot do

A guardian cannot make decisions about your money. Only an administrator (Guardianship List) can help you look after your money, under an administration order.

A guardian cannot make decision about ‘special procedures’. This means a guardian cannot decide to terminate a pregnancy or consent to some other medical procedures. A special application must be made to VCAT for these decisions.

If you are unhappy with your guardian

You may not like your guardian. You may not think your guardian is helping you. You may think the guardian is making decisions you do not agree with.

Figure out what you are unhappy with. Is it how your guardian is treating you? Remember, your guardian can make decisions that are in your best interests. You might not always agree.

Try to talk to your guardian

It can be hard to tell someone that you are not happy with them.

But if you are able to let your guardian know how you feel, your guardian may be able to explain their decision. You may feel better if you understand more about why they made a decision.

Make an official complaint

Talking might not have helped. You may want to make an official complaint.

If your guardian is from the Office of the Public Advocate:

  • you can complain directly to them
  • if you cannot fix things this way, you can complain to someone higher up
  • if this still does not fix things, you can call the Victorian Ombudsman. They can look into complaints.

The Victorian Ombudsman can only look into complaints about government organisations, like the Office of the Public Advocate. With other guardians, you will have to go back to VCAT and ask for a re-assessment hearing, where you can ask for a different guardian or to have the order cancelled.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with guardianship and administration.