State Trustees Limited: management of represented persons
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.