The art of connecting deputies
Court of Protection appointed deputies and trustees all share the same passion for supporting vulnerable individuals. Increasing demands from the Court of Protection, particularly regarding clients' financial and investment management affairs, coupled with a level of practice isolation, inspire practitioners to join our annual Deputy Day events. The opportunity for deputies and trustees to share best practice, concerns and solutions in a confidential and supportive environment has been invaluable for many, and has offered us a unique insight into the role of those who ensure vulnerable individuals have quality of life, for life.
In November 2009, Frenkel Topping hosted its first Annual Deputyship Conference in Birmingham.
A number of leading experts in the field of Court of Protection work covered a variety of subjects and issues as diverse as challenges facing the Office of the Public Guardian, investment, market commentary, and current issues pertaining especially to deputies among others.
Since that first event, we have organised and hosted regional Deputy Days in London, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham amongst other locations. The annual conference has always taken place in London and is due to do so again on 12 May 2016 at the Great Connaught Rooms in Holborn, London.
The initial inspiration for hosting Deputy Day was a comment from one of our instructing deputies, who said: 'Nobody hosts an event for deputies, so we never get to talk to each other'.
Motivated by the concern that deputies did not have an outlet to share concerns, successes and solutions, we decided to establish such a day for professional deputies to help educate, inform and, yes, meet other deputies!
Since 2009, the event has grown in size and popularity and is now attended by deputies, trustees, litigators, case managers and others. It is now seen by the deputyship community as one of the 'go to' events of the year.
From strength to strength
At the time the first event was held, there were no forums for deputies to regularly converse and meet each other, unless they were part of the Court of Protection User Group, which has a limited membership.
Over the years, presentations have covered myriad of topics including investment marketplace, the Mental Capacity Act 2005, adaptation of accommodation, investment issues and the popular breakout groups discussing relevant issues and questions submitted by delegates. These were introduced at the second deputy day and are still a pillar of the event.
High profile speakers have included individuals from the Court of Protection, Office of the Public Guardian, SCCO, the city, the NHS and of course, many deputies themselves.
It is testament to the reputation of the event that speakers are always keen to present to what is always an interested and informed audience of delegates. We always aim to invite key Court of Protection judges and often welcome Senior Judge Denzil Lush to our London Deputy Day stage, as we will do this year.
This year's conference, The Art of Wellbeing, aims to support deputies and trustees in their role as guardians of wellbeing: what that means; who is impacted by their decisions; what they need to know; and unpicking the successes and risks of wellbeing decisions.
Having worked with professionals to guide and train them through the holistic financial and investment implications of the Care Act 2014, an act that stresses the importance of long-term wellbeing plans for the vulnerable, alongside delivering our services through a dedicated Wellbeing Strategy, we felt that Deputy Day London 2016 required a strong wellbeing angle to further support practitioners.
With this in mind, as well as the wellbeing theme running throughout, we have introduced our first dedicated wellbeing panel comprised of leading professionals from social, financial, care, and deputyship fields to discuss challenging wellbeing matters, and to answer your questions or concerns.
The conference will also look at the implementation of the Care Act, how to avoid risk, enabling wellbeing through financial planning, the rights of individuals, avoiding professional negligence, and addressing issues of abuse including physical, mental and financial.
Respected QC Andrew Ritchie of 9 Gough Square will chair the event, followed by a key note speech from Senior Judge Denzil Lush in one of his last formal events before retiring from his position.
A place for likeminded professionals
The conference will feature the extremely popular, useful and interactive wellbeing breakout hubs that allow deputies to discuss any topic, large or small, and benefit from the feedback, experience and knowledge of deputies from many different firms with different levels of knowledge and expertise.
This year, the issue of the implementation of the Care Act, and its implications for deputies and vulnerable individuals alike, will be held as a fully interactive panel session. Featuring experts from a variety of relevant areas, the session will address aspects of what is proving to be an extremely complicated, potentially confusing and risky area for deputies and their clients.
Although we designed the first Deputy Day as a conference based around a very traditional structure, the event has developed and evolved over the years and this is almost entirely based upon feedback and requirements of the delegates.
All conference organisers say they welcome feedback and at Frenkel Topping we act upon it. Again and again, delegates have told us that the open forums and the ability to ask and receive information has been one of the most popular aspects of the event. We often hear that, for deputies, 'it is the one event we can go to with a problem and come away with half a dozen suggestions and solutions provided by my fellow practitioners, at no cost but with the benefit of experience'.
Our annual Deputy Day is created exclusively for professional deputies, trustees, Court of Protection specialists, litigation and private client experts, as well as case managers and other professionals who help enhance the quality of life and long term wellbeing of vulnerable clients.
We would be delighted to welcome you and your colleagues to this event to help support your practice, introduce you to those who can enhance your service for vulnerable clients and allow you to share your concerns and successes with like-minded professionals who share your passion for an incredibly demanding but rewarding role.
Deputy Day London: The Art of Wellbeing, takes place on 12 May 2016 at the Grand Connaught Rooms, Holborn.
For the full programme and to book your place, please visit bit.ly/DeputyDay16 or frenkeltopping.co.uk/events.
We look forward to seeing you there!