What makes a good Deputy from the family’s perspective?


A medical negligence case is about our child whom we have fought for due to a traumatic birth or clinical incident. We have been through many clinical assessments, treatments and diagnosis. We have fought for Local Authority and Education access and support.

We are engaged and motivated parents who do everything we can for our child and often suffer from PTSD ourselves as a result of our experiences. That can make us forgetful, angry, resentful and very, very tired. Caring 24/7 for a child with complex needs is not easy. We are sorry we sometimes come across as grumpy, it is our lives.

Starting a negligence claim is often a result of our fear for our children when we are no longer around to protect them. We want them to be safe and happy for as long as they are alive, often that isn’t very long.

All of our children are our priority.  

We constantly feel guilty – are we doing enough and the right thing for our injured child? Are our other children missing out as a result? – we know they do miss out a lot. Growing up with a sibling with additional needs means time and energy from mum and dad are missed by our other atypical children. Never mind the loss in finances to parent carers and the impact of that on our other children. When you have a child with complex needs in a motorised wheelchair, watching another child at sports or school concerts becomes so much harder. IF parents can physically access these spaces, they are often too tired or the affected child is too ill to risk it. All family members are affected by the negligence to one.

Be humane to us, we are not professionals. We are traumatised but switched on parents if a professional Deputy is in our life. We have managed to rise above all the day to day worries and stresses we already have and added to it by pursuing a legal claim on behalf of our child. We are not stupid, but we are very tired. Your fees are a result of our actions on behalf of our child.

If it wasnt for us, you woudnt be getting paid as a Deputy for our child.


As parents we have got used to being gaslighted – it is a thing. Our radars are sharp and if we feel a Deputy is not being transparent our trust with them is broken. It is up to a Deputy to gain our trust, not automatically expect it from us.

Tell us you don’t want to speak to us because you are high-rate costs and your costs will not be recoverable if you are seen to be doing lower-level tasks. Be clear and in writing because we forget and we like something we can refer to if in doubt. Tell us who we can speak to in your firm, what about and how much it will cost our child’s fund every time we do speak to someone. Explain to us your costs may seem high to us as mere ordinary people, but it is because of the trusted and responsible work you do and the legal responsibility you have to our child as your client.  

Share all figures with us, we know that legally a Deputy doesn’t have to share anything with a parent. The Office of Public Guardian tells us we are just “interested third parties” or “other stakeholders”.


We do not understand how that ever came about or was thought useful or appropriate. It is certainly not made clear to us as parents during litigation when a Deputy is suggested, but it is what it is and here we are. We will address that legal position in due course, but in the meantime – a Deputy not sharing financial with concerned families without any reason will always be seen with suspicion. Work with us and be transparent. The good professional Deputies are always transparent.   


Usually in our cases a Deputy is for property and finance. We retain parental rights for our child until they are 18. Which means we as parents decide therapies, medications, care regimes etc NOT a case manager or financial Deputy. Please do correct me if I am wrong in this statement – we like to know our rights and appreciate friendly professionals supporting us.

We know there is no legal requirement for a case manager but appreciate the good ones and the excellent support they give to us as parents. We as parents recognise, we need someone else who understands and knows our child so if anything happens to us, our child will be in good hands. We welcome good case managers.

We are confused when a case manager has meetings with a Deputy – for what reason? We are told it is so the Deputy can understand the benefits of any care regime in place and whether financially they are working.  Why meet with an unregulated and often unqualified person who is earning large fees to discuss our child’s wellbeing? We appreciate this seems to have been custom and practise for some time but is it in the best interests of the child? Ask the parents if the care regime is working. The parents are the ones who know their own child and what benefits if any they are gaining from a particular therapy. If you feel strongly you must meet with a case manager, include the parents in those meetings. We use zoom or teams all the time, it can be convenient for everyone.

Try to think how you would feel as a parent if fee earners were meeting to decide your child’s needs without you present. Remind yourself of the boundaries of your role and responsibilities as a professional property and finance Deputy.


As parents of complex children we tend to be very informed and want the best for our child. We may not always be as articulate as professionals; we do need and respect professional guidance. We talk to other parents and tend to know what makes a good case manager and what doesnt, what care would be good for our child and what equipment would benefit them. We need your support to ensure our child funds last for life. That is always our concern.

Checklist of a good Deputy from a family’s viewpoint

  • All invoices should be approved by parents before paying.

Such a basic improvement and should be standard in how we work together.  There have been many recent incidents where invoices have been paid by a Deputy for services that were not rendered becasue the parents hadnt approved an invioice. Only the parent can confirm if a case manager or therapist has visited. Such a simple basic process that gives the parents trust in the Deputy.

  • Be clear on time costs

We know your time is expensive but we are told you as Deputy are managing our child’s funds and sometimes, we need answers. Tell us who we should go to for different things. We don’t want to waste your valuable and expensive time – especially if you won’t be able to claim for those costs. We are happy talking to named paralegals if they are cheaper and can claim for their time in sorting out our concerns.  

  • Email us

Suspicion is always high if a Deputy wants to chat and not put anything in writing. Often there is good reason when a telephone call is better, but confirm via email. It makes us feel listened to, understood and respected.

  • Listen and act

If we don’t want to work with a case manager, carer or therapist, there is a good reason. Would you like someone in your home and working with your precious child who you don’t trust? We don’t like it either. We aren’t being vexatious or awkward. We have our reasons and that should be enough. Don’t ignore our concerns. It usually ends in changing Deputies when we aren’t listened to and nobody wants those costs and wasted time.  Court of Protection and Office of the Public Guardian take note please – changing Deputies affects us as families more than anyone – we do it as an absolute last resort of not being listened to and concern for our childs wellbeing.

  • Trust us

Final words from a mum in our private support group:

“We know our children and we want those involved through the claim and afterwards

to support us, as our child’s parents to ensure that our children

have as long and satisfying lives as possible”.

Useful further reading

OPG Deputy Standards – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/opg-deputy-standards

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