Charity aids House of Lords report

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House of Lords chamber © UK Parliament

House of Lords chamber © UK Parliament

The House of Lords select committee has published a report on the failings of The Mental Capacity Act 2005 with reccomendations for improvement.

This comes after an inquiry took place where evidence was given by Liverpool-based charity Mind on the shortcomings of the Act, which should empower and protect vulnerable adults who aren’t able to make decisions for themselves regarding their well-being and finances.

Chairman of the committee Lord Hardie said: “Those who may lack capacity have legal rights under the Act, but they are not being fulfilled. In many cases complying with the Act is treated like an optional add-on – nice to have, but not essential. In short, the Act is not being implemented.”

The report recommends that to ensure the law is implemented correctly, an independent body should be appointed to oversee and monitor the use of the Mental Capacity Act.

Lord Hardie said: “When the Act came into being, it was seen as a visionary piece of legislation, which marked a turning point in the rights of vulnerable people; those with learning difficulties, dementia, brain injuries or temporary impairment. The Committee is unanimous that this is important legislation, with the potential to transform lives.”

Ally Cobb, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer at Mind said: “This is a detailed and comprehensive report and Mind very much welcomes the recommendations from the Committee, in particular the call for a single independent body to take responsibility for monitoring and raising awareness and understanding of the Act.

“It is absolutely essential that people who lack capacity, and their families and carers, can have complete confidence that decisions made about their care and liberty are done so correctly.”

About Grace Lindsey, JMU Journalism