Ombudsman reports concerns with decision making for people who lack mental capacity

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in England have today published a report ‘The Right to Decide: Towards a greater understanding of mental capacity and deprivation of liberty’. The Ombudsman report, based on adult social care complaints, sets out:

  • Problems with assessments to determine whether someone has the capacity to make decisions for themselves
  • Poor decision making when deciding on someone’s best interests
  • Failures to involve friends and families in the decision process
  • Problems with the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards System (DoLS) system

These issues reflect concerns the Challenging Behaviour Foundation has raised around the use of the Mental Capacity Act (2005). Families tell us about the wide-ranging negative impact that poor decision making and failure to take into account their views has on their family members with severe learning disabilities.

The Ombudsman said that they “issued this report to highlight where things are going wrong, so we can help authorities get things right and improve services for people.”

The report offers guidance to social care professionals on how to get things right when working with people who may lack mental capacity. Local authorities must ensure they meet their legal duties and uphold the rights of some of the most vulnerable in our society.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation website contains Frequently Asked Questions aimed at family carers about making decisions and about raising concerns (including how to contact the various Ombudsmen).

To download the report click here

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