The appointment, made by Lord Falconer, the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, marks an important step towards implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
He is a social worker by training and is currently chief executive of the mental health charity, Mind. As Public Guardian, he will be responsible for regulating people appointed to make finance, health and welfare decisions for those who lack capacity.
Baroness Ashton, the DCA Minister responsible for the Mental Capacity Act, welcomed Mr Brook to his new appointment:
'The new Office of the Public Guardian will be central to the implementation of reforms that will improve the lives of two million people in England and Wales who may lack capacity to make decisions for themselves, and those who live and work with them.
'Richard Brook brings with him a wealth of experience, knowledge and understanding of the needs and wishes of people who lack capacity or have mental health problems which will prove invaluable in leading and developing the new organisation during its first few years.'
Richard Brook said:
'I am delighted to have the opportunity as a result of this appointment to play a significant role in taking forward these important key reforms that affect so many people, carers and families. I look forward to joining the Office of the Public Guardian and working with all stakeholders in ensuring effective and positive services currently and during the introduction of the new legislation.'
The post of Public Guardian was established by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and will be created by the transition of the current Public Guardianship Office (PGO) into the new Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a statutory framework to empower and protect vulnerable people who may not be able to make their own decisions. It makes clear who can take decisions in which situations and how they should go about this. It also enables people to plan ahead for a time when they may lose capacity. The Act is due to come into force in April 2007.
The OPG will go beyond the current remit of the PGO which deals with financial matters for people who lack capacity, to regulating all decision-makers (Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputies) who are appointed to make the whole range of finance, health and welfare decision for people who lack capacity. The new organisation will not be formally launched before early 2007, although it will run in transition mode for a year beforehand. Richard Brook will take up his appointment in February 2006.
The current acting Chief Executive, David Thompson, who has turned round the performance of the PGO over the last two years, is now moving on to a new role.
1. The post of the Public Guardian is a statutory appointment made the Lord Chancellor under the authority conferred by the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The role will be created by the transition of the current Public Guardianship Office (PGO) into the new Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The PGO is based in Archway, London, has nearly 400 staff and an annual budget of£23m.
2. Richard Brook has worked in the voluntary sector since 1986 following 5 years as a local authority social worker in Glasgow, Bedfordshire and east London. His posts previous to Mind were Director of Care and Community Services in the Shaftesbury Society (1996 to 1999) and Chief Executive of the Christian Alliance Housing Association (1999-2001). He has been Chief Executive of Mind since June 2001.
3. For more information about the Mental Capacity Act 2005 see the DCA website: http:www.dca.gov.uk/capacity/index.htm
4. For more information about the PGO see the website:
5. For more information about Mind see the website: