The Mental Capacity Act provides a legal framework for making decisions on behalf of vulnerable adults who lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves. The Act provides that a person making a decision on behalf of a vulnerable adult needs to consult widely, including with anyone who cares for the person who lacks capacity, and the decision maker must make decisions that are in the person’s best interests.
The Law Society submitted to the House of Lords Select Committee that the front line professionals who work with vulnerable adults are frequently unaware of the Mental Capacity Act or they lack the skills to put it into practice.
A member of the Law Society’s Mental Health and Disability Committee said:
“Unfortunately, professional training for key frontline work staff has not kept pace with the increase in complexity of community care. We would like to see more training on the legal framework and practical application of the Mental Capacity Act… safeguarding the dignity and wellbeing of people with impaired capacity should be a priority for Governments. Solicitors often handle the aftermath of poor implementation of the Act and it is essential that steps are taken to increase awareness so our most vulnerable citizens are not at risk.”
The Law Society call for a review of deprivation of liberty provision; greater resources for the Official Solicitor and the Court of Protection and the Hague Convention on the international protection of adults to be ratified for England and Wales also.