Know Your Acts

In this section we have included information on all the Acts that are relevant to your relative when using health and social care services.

Family carers told us that knowing the laws which should protect their relative would support them to advocate successfully. It would give them the confidence to request, for example, reasonable adjustments, knowing it is their relative’s legal entitlement.


What is an Act?

What is an Act of Parliament


Human Rights Act 1998

Human rights are the fundamental (basic) rights and freedoms that belong to every single one of us, anywhere in the world. Human rights apply no matter where you are from, what you believe in, or how you choose to live your life.

Human Rights Act

(Please also read the Equality Act section)


Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and ensure equality of opportunity for all. It protects us from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.

Equality Act

(Please also read the Human Rights Act section)


Mental Capacity Act 2005

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) applies to anyone aged 16 years old and over. It protects people who have been assessed as lacking the mental capacity to make all their own decisions about their care and support and/or treatment. It covers decisions about day-to-day things like what to wear or eat or serious life-changing decisions like whether to move into a care home or have major surgery. It ensures that any decisions made on behalf of someone are always in their best interests and as much as possible people are involved in the decision making process.

Included in this section is information about the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). DoLS ensures that if someone is unable to consent to their care and support and/or treatment arrangements in either a care home or hospital they are protected if those arrangements deprive them of their liberty (freedom). Any arrangements which deprive someone of their liberty (freedom) are assessed to check they are necessary, the least restrictive option and in the person’s best interests.

Mental Capacity Act

(Please also read the Communication section. Communication is key to being able to have choice and control over your life.)


Mental Health Act 1983

The Mental Health Act is the main piece of legislation (law) that covers the assessment, treatment and rights of people when they are detained (sectioned) and protects them if the Act is not applied legally.

Mental Health Act

(Please also read the information in Section 3. Leading a good and meaningful life will reduce the risk of your relative being detained (sectioned) in a mental health service.)


Children and Families Act 2014

This Act applies to children from birth to 25 years old and has changed the way services for vulnerable children are provided by giving them greater protection with special attention to children with a learning disability, autism of both, and by helping parents and the family as a whole. It covers access to education, further education, health and social care, childcare, transition from children to adult services and more choice about how services can be accessed and delivered.

Children and Families Act

(Please also read the Transition section)


Care Act 2014

This law sets out how adult social care in England should be provided. Its focus is on wellbeing and prevention e.g. providing eligible services before someone (and their family carers) reach crisis. It promotes choice and control over how services are delivered and flexibility about what services will make a difference.

Care Act

(Please also read the information in the Living a good and meaningful life section.)


Health and Care Act 2022

The main aim of this Act is to transform how NHS England is organised, focusing on improving health and care services and tackling health inequalities through better health and care integration including partnership working. The Act introduced the requirement for all providers of health, care and support to ensure that all staff receive training on learning disability and autism.

Health and Care Act


Autism Act 2009

This Act placed a legal obligation on the Government to have a strategy for improving services for autistic adults, underpinned by providing statutory guidance to councils. It also has a built-in review – approximately every 5 years – which allows for the strategy and the statutory guidance to be updated for areas which are not delivering. The latest guidance includes guidance for children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both.

Autism Act