We listened with interest this morning to Radio 4’s Today programme.
(To be specific, the time was 8:42 am, and the relevant discussion can be heard online at time-point ‘2:42’ of the broadcast, available online at bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b90pym#playonline ).
The Today programme’s interviewees were:
Alex Rook, senior partner at the solicitors Irwin Mitchell, who specialises in Human Rights and Court of Protection issues, and
Rosa Mockton, learning disability campaigner.
They were describing how today they will appear in court to argue that the Court of Protection is not (but should be) appointing Deputies for Personal Welfare (‘Welfare Deputies’) on a consistent and true interpretation of the ‘best interests’ of the person lacking capacity . They will argue that because the Mental Capacity Act and its Guidance focus on exceptional and difficult cases, and assume that the majority of cases will be decided ‘through agreement’ after ’round the table discussions’, best interests are often under-considered or mis-considered.
Rescare has campaigned on this issue since the Mental Capacity Act was implemented. We have first-hand knowledge of how unsuccessful most of our members (parent carers) have been in any applications for welfare deputyship. On this website, their is an earlier blog post on this theme, entitled ‘The Eye of A Needle’!
Rook and Monckton argue (like us) that the practical reality of the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act has been the dis-empowerment of family carers and parents; while conversely social workers and care departments have been allowed to take more best interest decisions – although those decisions are increasingly based not on best interests alone but affected by financial and policy considerations. In answer to the interviewer’s question, they explained that they were well aware that there are degrees of incapacity; that they were concerned that the views of adults with some capacity are not sufficiently sought or considered, and that the best interest assessment of those with more serious conditions is often flawed.
The interview is well worth listening to. It will be available online for the next month. We will update you on developments…
PS. Rook and Monckton’s petition to the court was crowd-funded. I think we owe a debt of thanks to all those who contributed.
It is with deep sadness that we must inform you of the death earlier today, 29th March 2018, of Rescare’s founder, Richard Jackson. Richard was the motivating force behind the foundation of Rescare in 1984, and served Rescare in the roles of Chairman and latterly of Honorary President. Many members of Rescare will have met or spoken to Richard over the years. In 1994 Richard was awarded the MBE for his services with Rescare on behalf of people with learning disabilities, their carers and especially family carers. Our thoughts are with Richard’s family at this sad time. A full obituary will appear in due course on this website and in Resnews.
Richard Jackson,, with his wife Edith and grandchildren, outside Buckingham Palace, MBE Investiture, March 1994
9th Feb 2018: Joint Committee on Human Rights launches inquiry into DOLS reform
Rescare covered the issue of DOLS and the repercussions of the Cheshire West case in several articles in Resnews, our newsletter to members, in 2016 and 2017. One of the repercussions of that case was that the Court of Protection became clogged with literally thousands of DOLS applications from local authorities, despite various attempts to develop a fast-tracking mechanism. The feeling of many was that the current situation re DOLS is unsustainable, not least the Law Commission, who in March 2017 called for DOLS to be replaced ‘as a matter of pressing urgency’.
We are grateful to the 39 Essex Street chambers for alerting us to the following in its latest ‘Mental Capacity’ bulletin:
Whilst we await the Government’s response to the Law Commission’s Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty report, the Joint Committee on Human Rights has launched an inquiry into ‘the right to freedom and safety: Reform of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.’ Continue reading
Appointment of new minister reflects (hopefully) government’s higher priority for adult social care.
From Community Care Jan 23rd 2018
Caroline Dinenage will be the minister of state overseeing adult social care, the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed.
The decision to give the remit to Dinenage marks an elevation in the importance of adult social care within the government following it being handed to a junior minister for the first time in eight years in the 2016 reshuffle.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care said the decision to give the responsibility for adult social care to a minister of state rather than a parliamentary under secretary of state reflected the expanded portfolio of the department following Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest reshuffle of her ministerial team earlier this month.
Rescare welcomes the minister to her new position, and also the fact that adult social care is now the remit of a minister of state.
PPS. Reminder to self – it’s now the Department of Health and Social Care. I must start to use the new acronym DHSC !
PIP: On 21st December 2017 Justice Mostyn delivered his judgement in the High Court in the case of RF v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
The individual (RF) was a client of the charity Public Law Project, and was supported by the mental health charity MIND and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), who appeared as 1st and 2nd Interveners in the case. The court also heard statements from the charities The National Autistic Society, Inclusion London, Revolving Doors and Disability Rights UK.
Details of the judgement are available here on the Public Law Projects website . Continue reading
On 17th October, in a Westminster Hall, Catherine McKinnell, Labour MP for Newcastle North, introduced a debate amongst MPs with the following words: “I beg to move that this House has considered supporting and safeguarding adults with learning disabilities”.
In doing so, she was again highlighting the truly shocking murder of Lee Irving and speaking for Lee’s family, asking what had changed since 2015 to prevent similar incidents.
The full transcript of the debate is available via this link and we encourage you to read it (It is not too long). Continue reading
Just a quick reminder to Rescare members...
Rescare AGM is on 6th October 2017 at the Friends Meeting House, Stockport
Location details: www.stockportmeetinghouse.org.uk/location/
Members should have already received their invitation in the post a few weeks ago. If you now decide to attend, please notify us by phone or email.
Some disturbing news from Sussex, reported by BBC local news:
“Police inquiries and unannounced inspections have been carried out at disability care homes in West Sussex.
They were in response to “significant safeguarding concerns” after a number of reported deaths.
The Care Quality Commission was alerted to Sussex Health Care services by West Sussex County Council…”
This story does not appear yet to have gone ‘national’, presumably pending the results of these initial investigations, and has only been re-reported by a few news agencies. Continue reading