What we do
The Mental Capacity Act requires us to assume that people have the capacity and can make decisions themselves, unless otherwise established. A person will be given all possible help to make specific decisions before being assessed as lacking the capacity to make their own decisions.
If we think a person may lack the capacity to make a decision, even after being offered support, a social worker or other qualified person will carry out a capacity assessment to check if they can make a specific decision. Where it has been assessed that a person lacks the capacity to make a decision, decisions will be made in their best interest.
Any restrictions because of this decision will be in the person’s best interest and will be relative to the likelihood of the person suffering harm as a result of the decision.
Planning will always continue to involve the person as far as possible, taking into account their wishes, feelings, values and aspirations as well as their needs and wellbeing. They may be supported and represented by family and friends. If this is not possible, an independent advocate will be appointed. The advocate will represent the person, speak for them and challenge the local authority’s decision if necessary.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards came into force on 1 April 2009. They provide protection for vulnerable people who are accommodated in hospitals or care homes in circumstances that amount to a loss of their liberty and who lack the capacity to consent to the care or treatment they need. The safeguards do not apply to people detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.