Guardianship and Administration

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Reassessment of orders

Section 61 of the Guardianship Act sets out the requirements for VCAT when conducting a reassessment hearing.

VCAT must conduct a reassessment of a guardianship order or an administration order:

  • within 12 months after making the order, unless VCAT orders otherwise; and
  • in any case, at least once within each three-year period after making the order unless VCAT orders otherwise,

and may at any time conduct a reassessment of any order made by it (either of its own initiative or on application of any person) under the Guardianship Act.

The reassessment of orders is important because the client's condition and circumstances may change.  The date by which the 'automatic' reassessment of the order will be undertaken is usually recorded in the order itself.  Alternatively, any person (including a guardian, administrator or the client) can apply to VCAT seeking a reassessment of the guardianship or administration order if they believe that the order is no longer necessary (because the client has recovered their capacity to make decisions) or that the current administrator or guardian is not acting in the person's best interests.

An Application to revoke or reassess a Guardianship or Administration Order Form should be used.  The application form requires reasons to be provided for the application, and that a medical report or other supporting documents are provided. If reports are not attached to the application, they must have been requested and the relevant doctor’s details provided.  A copy of the completed application must be sent by the applicant to the client, their primary carer, their nearest relative and any existing or proposed guardian or administrator (Guardianship Act s 62).

Upon reassessment, VCAT can by order continue, vary, amend or replace the existing order, subject to any conditions or requirements it considers necessary to revoke the order (Guardianship Act s 63).

Reassessment of administration orders

It can be difficult for someone to have an administration order revoked, because they need to have evidence that they can make reasonable decision about their money. This is very hard to demonstrate when you are already on an administration order. You should ensure that a client’s expectations are managed and that they understand that getting back control of their finances is often a gradual, staged process. It is useful to advise a client that the following evidence may assist in a successful revocation of an order:

  • Using a financial counsellor to help manage bills and debts
  • Joining the Financial Independence Programme (FIP) if the client is with the State Trustees (VCAT can direct State Trustees to put someone onto the FIP)
  • Encouraging your client to keep a diary of what they spend money on, what bills they get, and when they pay them
  • Saving receipts when they buy food and other practical items
  • Opening a savings account and saving a little bit of money when they can afford it
  • Taking responsibility for paying some bills
  • Asking the administrator to give the some more money to show they can budget (eg giving payments weekly or fortnightly to demonstrate that the client can manage money over the course of a week or a fortnight without having to request further money)
  • Ensuring client keeps in regular contact with people like their case manager, social worker, financial counsellor, carer and doctor so they have people who can give evidence that they can make reasonable decisions.