‘Ministers must eliminate conflict of interest within ‘troubled’ mental capacity proposals,’ care leaders say

Professor Martin Green OBE

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill has continuously been criticised by care leaders because of the conflict of interest within some of the principles of the draft legislation.

Care England, the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) and the Relatives & Residents Association are among the care sector leaders to set out their position on the Bill:

Managers with a controlling interest over care and support businesses should not be in charge of processes and decisions to deprive people of their liberty.

Care leaders have called for a reform and an improved Bill would be welcomed by the sector – they have also urged the Government to collaborate with the sector to get the principles within the legislation right and fit for purpose.

Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, said: “We want to work jointly with the DHSC and Ministers and we welcome the interest shown by them at our meeting last week.

“We hope the many detailed items which were discussed have been captured by officials and will now be actioned in terms of government amendments to the Bill.”

In the Bill’s latest development, further concerns have been raised – this time by the Joint Select Committee. The objectivity of deprivation of liberty processes, under government’s proposals, have been called into question.

Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of the VODG, said: “We are pleased that the government is now meaningfully beginning to engage with the sector. We still have a number of concerns about the Bill, a significant one being the conflict of interest issues.

“We see the conflict of interest as a threat to good care for individuals which risks placing providers in an unfair position where their integrity could be questioned because of a badly thought through Bill.”

Judy Downey, chair of the Relatives & Residents Association, said: “The Joint Committee on Human Rights has joined the chorus of disapproval about this Bill. It has highlighted the fact that the Bill does not meet the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“Let’s hope the Government takes notice and urgently redrafts the Bill accordingly.”

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill was introduced to the House of Lords on 3 July 2018. Sector leaders welcomed the very first discussion with senior officials and Ministers on 25 October 2018 – a meeting that was held with provider, commissioner and charity representatives.

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