Improving the Public Trustee

The Public Trustee of Tasmania has made significant progress implementing the recommendations of the independent review of the operations of the Public Trustee.

The report contained 28 recommendations, which the Public Trustee and the Government fully supported. We have implemented 15 of the recommendations, with 8 recommendations in progress and due to be completed within the next 12 months.

The last 12 months have been about consolidation with a focus on improving the client experience. The Public Trustee has commenced a staff recruitment drive to significantly reduce caseloads levels from 100 to 150 clients down to 50 clients per Client Account Manager.

Reduced caseloads and other Government initiatives will significantly improve the experience for our clients. This will also help support our hardworking and dedicated staff at the Public Trustee who perform both an important and challenging role.

In addition to the legislative changes, the Government has been working with the Public Trustee to introduce changes to the Ministerial Charter, Statement of Corporate Intent, and the Client Service Obligation Agreement to provide the necessary focus and support to drive improved outcomes.

We have been engaging and building strong and committed relationships with stakeholders. Client and Stakeholder reference groups have been established and we are actively working together to implement
the recommendations as well as developing a common approach for supported decision-making.

I would like to take this time to acknowledge and thank those clients that are part of these groups as well as the following organisations.

  • Anglicare
  • Baptcare
  • COTA Tas
  • Health Consumers Tasmania
  • MultiCap Tasmania
  • North West Support Services
  • Office of the Public Guardian
  • Palliative Care Tasmania
  • SpeakOut Advocacy
  • TasCoss;
  • Tasmania Legal Aid; and
  • Tasmanian Health Service.

The Public Trustee has also commenced work in the community providing information and education sessions around the key services we provide not only for clients appointed through the guardianship steam but also assisting Tasmanians with Wills, estate planning, deceased estate administration, and managing trusts.

If you would like to discuss the important work the Public Trustee does and how we are improving our services, I would welcome an opportunity to talk to you. Please call 1800 068 784 to make
an appointment.

I look forward to keeping you updated on further progress.

Todd Kennedy (Public Trustee CEO) December 2022

Click here to download our Improving the Public Trustee December 2022 update flyer 

Progress update on the independent review recommendations

ReferenceRecommendationResponsibilityStatus Update
1.1The TASCAT ensure that hearings are held for the granting of all emergency orders and explain the emergency order process and outcome to the subject and his or her family and support group. (pg 27)TASCAT
1.2The TASCAT update the Annual Report pro forma for Administrators to include a report on section 57 duties and outcomes. (pg 27)TASCAT
1.3The Attorney General introduce legislation to amend the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 in advance of implementing the recommendations of the TLRI: (pg 27) to enable TasCAT to examine the extent of a conflict of interest. I suggest adopting the provisions in the WA Legislation; and consider at the same time a minor amendment of the appeal provisions of the Act to incorporate the WA provisions.Tasmanian Government In progress
2.1Review communications across all fields of work of the Public Trustee; (pg 29)Public Trustee
2.2Consider the levels of service/communication required for represented persons and implement them; (pg 29)Public TrusteeIn progress
2.3Consider the appropriateness of the CAMs pooling model and settle performance standards; (pg 29)Public Trustee
2.4Train all staff on record keeping, particularly accurate inventory recording when the Public Trustee takes possession of property; and (pg 29)Public Trustee
2.5Consider its resourcing requirements for CSO clients in the context of the next CSO Agreement. (pg 29)Public Trustee / Treasury
3.1Improve its file management practices and recording, including resubmit/reminders; and (pg 30)Public TrusteeIn progress
3.2Review filing separation between the legal section and operational filing for the same matter. (pg 30)Public TrusteeIn progress
4.1The Public Trustee develop appropriate information and presentations so that the Tasmanian community understands the various roles and powers of the Public Trustee especially in areas of managing a represented person’s estate and when entering an aged care facility and more generally about the Trustee’s powers when administering a represented person’s affairs. (pg.31)Public Trustee
5.1The Public Trustee engage with stakeholders and implement a Customer Reference Group to assist in the development of appropriate service initiatives and improve its services to clients. (pg 31)Public Trustee
6.1Develop a customer centric model to support the journey of all Public Trustee clients with a focus on delivering best practice in the industry so that Tasmanians feel secure in their engagement whether that be as a represented person, executor or administrator of last resort; (pg 32)Public TrusteeIn progress
6.2Provide training to staff about customer service standards and appropriate expectations as a professional trustee; (pg 32)Public TrusteeSupported – subject to completion of the review under 6.1.
6.3Implement a program of training for client account managers that covers the policies and procedures of the Public Trustee to better support staff; and (pg 32)Public Trustee
6.4Develop a policy to be able to identify and triage complex matters including legal/commercial and to obtain appropriate advice to avoid delays in the administration of estates; and (pg 32)Public Trustee
6.5Expand management reporting to the Board to include a regular Board report on compliance with administrator obligations under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995; and Include in the report under 6.5 a separate section which addresses performance against best practice standards for administrators. (pg 32)Public TrusteeIn progress
7.1The Government appoint the Disability Services Commissioner to an oversight role for represented persons with a grievance. (pg 33)Tasmanian GovernmentSupported in principle – subject to appointment of Disability Services Commissioner.
C1.1The Attorney General and Treasurer update the Public Trustee’s Ministerial Charter to reflect their expectations in respect of CSO and represented person clients and the management of funds held in trust. (pg 41)Tasmanian Government
C1.2The Public Trustee include in its Statement of Corporate Intent performance measures relating to: (pg 41) trustee industry financial performance targets; its obligations under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 Act to represented persons in respect of promoting their independence and communication in respect of their wishes; client satisfaction with CSO delivery; and its obligations under the Public Trustee Act 1930 as a manager of trust funds.Public Trustee
C3.1The Treasurer request the Tasmanian Economic Regulator to undertake a review of the Public Trustee’s fees and charges for those clients who are required by legislation to use its services. (pg 53)Tasmanian GovernmentSupported in principle – subject to further consideration of the most appropriate and timely mechanism for the review.
C3.2The Public Trustee match the fees charged to represented persons with those in the Northern Territory. (pg 53)Public TrusteeSupported in principle – subject to completion of the review under C.3.1.
C3.3The Public Trustee keep the Treasurer informed on the status of its request for a GST exemption for represented person fees. (pg 53)Public Trustee GST exemption declined by ATO
C4.1The Attorney General and the Treasurer review the scope of the CSO services purchased from the PT where there appears to be private sector provision such as for the administration of estates under $60k. (pg 60)Tasmanian Government
C4.2The Public Trustee include performance indicators relating to the quality of client service provided in the next CSO agreement. (pg 60)Public Trustee / Treasury
C4.3The Attorney General and the Treasurer fully fund the Public Trustee’s net avoidable costs of service provision in the next CSO agreement, with funding escalation to reflect demand growth. (pg 60)Public TrusteeIn progress
C4.4The counterparty to the next CSO agreement should be the Minister for Community Services supported by the proposed Tasmanian Disability Commissioner. (pg 60)Tasmanian GovernmentSupported in principle – counterparty for interim CSO Agreement remain unchanged at this time
C6.1The Attorney General and the Treasurer retain the existing GBE model for the Public Trustee and use the performance framework in the Government Business Enterprises Act 1995 to improve service delivery to its CSO clients and represented persons. (pg 74)Tasmanian GovernmentIn progress

Click here to download our Improving the Public Trustee December 2022 update flyer 

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