Have your say on the ‘son of DoLS’ Bill

Care home managers with views on the ‘son of DoLS’ Mental Capacity (Amendment) [Lords] Bill are invited to submit written comments to the Public Bill Committee.

The committee meets for the first time on Tuesday 15 January, and it will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage, which is expected to be not later than (but possibly before) 5.00pm on Thursday 24 January 2019. Managers are urged to submit comments sooner rather than later. 

Guidance on submitting views is available online.  

The role of care home managers has been fiercely debated during the Bill’s passage through the Lords, with safeguards put in place to reduce conflict of interest and ensure that all assessments are completed by those with the appropriate experience and knowledge. Amendments propose that the responsible body will make a decision whether to allow a care home manager to carry out the relevant functions prior to authorisation, including arranging assessments and carrying out consultation, and also to conduct reviews.

Other amendments explicitly exclude care home managers or staff with a financial interest in the home from undertaking assessments or pre-authorisation reviews. The amendments are said to “counteract any incentive the care home manager might have to ensure that a resident stays in a care home inappropriately. We are also determined to make sure that the care home manager cannot act as a gatekeeper to independent mental capacity advocacy (IMCA).

A code of practice will set out definitions for valid and up-to-date assessments, and also interventions, to ensure consistently. 

The intention of the Bill is to reform the process for authorising arrangements which enable people who lack capacity to consent to be deprived of their liberty (for the purpose of providing them with care or treatment). The new regime created by the Bill would replace the existing authorisation process, known as Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), which were introduced in 2009.     

The Bill has completed its passage through the House of Lords and was introduced in the House of Commons on 11 December 2018. It had its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 18 December 2018.

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