The very slow-motion game of Parliamentary ping-pong in the final stages of the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill continues, says capacity legal specialist Alex Ruck Keene, with the Bill returning to the Lords on Wednesday 24 April.
At that point, the Lords will have to consider whether to accept the Government’s proposals (accepted by the Commons):
- Not to have a statutory definition of deprivation of liberty (other than the reference to Article 5 ECHR), and to have guidance in the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) Code, to be reviewed regularly;
- In relation to the provision of information upon authorisation.
VODG (Voluntary Organisations Disability Group) has expressed significant concerns over the Bill. Concerns put to government by the sector, and which remain unresolved in the last iteration of the Bill, include:
- The financial costs of implementing the new system will fall to care providers in a sector that is already at full stretch following successive funding cuts
- Too much weight being given to a code of practice which sits outside of the proposed legislation.
Analysis undertaken by a consortium of care provider membership organisations identifies problematic assumptions with government’s own impact assessment that could lead to badly implemented law. This includes additional financial costs being passed onto independent and voluntary sector providers with no comparable diversion of funding away from local authorities.
For more on the Liberty Protection Safeguards and its implications, see the briefing paper online.