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The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into how the guardianship reform has been implemented

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Summary

​Background and objectives of the investigation

The new law on guardianship, which came into force on 1 July 2013, transferred the local responsibility for persons requiring guardianship from municipalities to the state. As of 1 January 2016 approximately 64,000 people had a guardian, and there were almost 46,000 guardians. Most of the guardians are family or others close to the person in need. The county governor must give the guardians necessary training, guidance and support, and supervise the guardians. The Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority will supervise along with the county governor. This study covers the period 2013–2017.

The goal of the investigation has been to assess the implementation of the guardianship reform based on the aims given by the Norwegian Parliament for increased legal equality and legal security for people who are unable to see to their own interests, and the reasons for any shortcomings in this area.

Findings

ICT problems have delayed the implementation of the guardianship reform

Problems with the ICT system have contributed to the delay, and this still creates challenges for building up the local and central authorities for guardianship and for implementing the reform.

The needs of those requiring guardianship are not taken into consideration when a decision is made to place someone under the protection of a legal guardian

The mandate for the guardianship role often has a general formulation. It can give guardians powers which are too wide ranging and therefore weaken the legal security for those who require a guardian.

The training and supervision of guardians poses challenges

The county governor does not have an overview of completed training schemes for each guardian nor uniform systematics for supervising guardians.

There is little control over and variable follow-up of guardian accounts

  • The county governor often uncovers errors in the guardian accounts.
  • There are no statistics of how many guardians have been deprived of their task. After inspection of the guardian accounts, some county governors have taken assignments away from more than 50 guardians since 2013, whilst one county governor has not taken an assignment from anyone.

There are no national guidelines for central areas

A majority of the county governors are not satisfied with the professional follow-up from the Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority and have, amongst other things, requested better national guidelines in central areas.

The potential for better legal security is not utilised well enough

The Ministry of Justice and Public Security and the Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority have not utilised the potential for better legal security that formed the basis of the reform.

There is no management information or supervision of the county governors

  • The Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority determined performance objectives for the case processing time for county governors in 2016.
  • The Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority has not prepared a joint system for supervision with the county governor.

Recommendations

The Office of the Auditor General recommends that the Ministry of Justice and Public Security

  • Takes the initiative so that the Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority can develop national guidelines in central areas within guardianship, including guidelines for consent competence and individual adaptations
  • Ensures that the Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority gets systematic supervision with the county governors in place as regards guardianship
  • Asks the Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority to ensure that the county governors document the assessments that form the basis for individual adaptations, so that the mandates for guardianship assignments are not more comprehensive than necessary
  • In cooperation with the Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority, considers how the county governors can improve supervision of guardian assignments and control of guardian accounts
Ministry/ministries:

Riksrevisjonen, Storgata 16, P.O. Box 6835 St. Olavs plass, 0130 Oslo, Norway

Phone: +47 22 24 10 00

Org.nr: 974 760 843