Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Adult Guardianship (PA-AG) 5: Conflict of Interest

The agency establishes the well-being of individuals as its primary responsibility and eliminates the risk, or appearance, of a conflict of interest.


A conflict of interest exists when an action made on behalf of the individual may be seen as self-serving to the guardianship worker or the agency as a whole.
2020 Edition

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Individuals who receive guardianship services maintain a level of independence and self-determination appropriate to their functional capacity, and are at minimized risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Adult Guardianship conflict of interest policy
  • Documentation of court approval for all guardianship fees
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records

Fundamental Practice

PA-AG 5.01

Whenever possible, the guardianship program:
  1. operates as an independent entity; and
  2. refers individuals to services offered by outside providers.


When the guardianship program is part of a larger agency or entity, it should have the authority to make independent decisions in order to avoid conflicts due to the potentially competing interests of the larger agency or entity. Exceptions to element (b) should be made only when: (1) an appropriate outside service provider is unavailable, and (2) the exception is in the best interest of the individual served. 

PA-AG 5.02

When the agency refers the individual to services offered by a government agency with direct oversight of the guardianship program, reasons for the arrangement should be documented in the case record.

PA-AG 5.03

The agency discloses any potential conflict of interest to all involved parties including the court, the individual, and his or her family as appropriate.

Fundamental Practice

PA-AG 5.04

The agency only petitions the court for its own appointment as guardian when no other entity is available.

PA-AG 5.05

All guardianship fees are reported to and approved by the court.