Amendment to the Mental Capacity Act becomes law

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act

On 16th May 2019 the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act gained Royal Assent, following a contested journey through Parliament. The Act provides an update on the 2005 Mental Capacity Act, a piece of legislation which sets out what should happen when a person lacks capacity to make one or more decisions for themselves. Barrister Steve Broach has written a detailed yet accessible update about the Bill process, which can accessed here.

The Act will introduce the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS), which is a new model to safeguard and protect individuals who lack capacity and may be deprived of their liberty during their care.

The need for an amendment

The current system, the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), has received significant and widespread criticism for creating a huge burden on the system and not adequately protecting vulnerable individuals.

The DoLS will run alongside the new LPS for a year after implementation, to ensure that all cases are transferred effectively. In a contrast to the DoLS, the new LPS model will apply from age 16, which is an important and welcome move as it extends protections to 16 and 17 year olds.

CDC is part of a working group with the Department for Education to ensure that the new statutory guidance and code of practice will meet the needs of children and young people and their families.

The journey from Bill to Act

The Act was subjected to intense scrutiny throughout its development. Campaigning efforts from across the sector led to substantial changes being made to the original Bill.

The statutory guidance and Code of Practice for both the Act and the Liberty Protection Safeguards, which will set out how the legislation should be implemented, are under development and consultation from across the sector.

Signposts to more information

Keep an eye out for upcoming updates and more information about how the Act and the Liberty Protection Safeguards will affect disabled children, young people and their families.

In the meantime these resources give important context to help you to navigate the changes: