Singapore's Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has launched a certification course to train professionals who wish to register as professional deputies and donees.
Under The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2016, the roles of professional deputies and donees were introduced to enhance support for seniors with little or no family support in the community. From there, the act allows for specified groups of professionals to perform these roles for a fee. On that note, all registered professional deputies can also act as professional donees.
A professional donee is appointed by an individual before he has lost mental capacity, while a professional deputy is appointed by the court for an individual who had not appointed a donee prior to losing mental capacity.
This newly launched certification course is a compulsory component of the registration framework for professional deputies. The course is to ensure professional deputies and donees know their responsibilities, and are trained to carry them out in the best interests of the person who has lost mental capacity.
The certification course was developed by MSF in collaboration with the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). The course can cater for up to 25 participants in the first run, which will commence in July 2018 and take place over 4 days.
The MSF's Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has consulted representatives from various organisations across the legal, medical, accounting, and social service sector, to develop a robust registration framework for professional deputies, while ensuring that the necessary safeguards are in place to protect vulnerable persons who have lost mental capacity.
The certification course will be open to lawyers, accountants, healthcare, and social service professionals who are registered under the respective professional bodies.
Apart from passing the certification course, professionals must meet additional criteria, which includes:
- Relevant experience with mental capacity cases, or a continuous period of at least five years of experience in their respective fields of work.
- No financial embarrassment (e.g. not undischarged bankrupts and must have a good credit rating).
- Not be convicted of certain criminal offences such as crimes against a person or public order, or be the subject of a civil judgement involving breach of fiduciary duties. The full list of criteria can be found at SUSS website.
They can then apply to the Family Justice Courts to be appointed as professional deputies, or be appointed as professional donees by persons making their Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
Registration for the inaugural run of the certification course opens yesterday (21 May) and will close on 10 June 2018. Interested professionals can visit the SUSS website.
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