n-compass is proud to have been part of a group of 32 leading advocacy providers who collaborated on a joint response to the draft code of practice for the Mental Capacity Act and Liberty Protection Safeguards. See the full response here.
Many thanks to Voiceability and Advocacy Focus for coordinating the response and all the other organisations that took part.
Advocacy is integral to the Mental Capacity Act, particularly the Liberty Protection Safeguards. The group's focus was to ensure it remained firmly on the map and that the advocate role was clearly defined so eligible people could continue to access advocacy.
Here is an overview of the key points.
- Definition of a deprivation of liberty. The group shared concerns that the scenarios used within the draft code were unhelpful and that a review of the definition of a deprivation of liberty is needed.
- Co-production approach. The code would be significantly improved if it were informed by the individuals who have been subject to the Act or who have been deprived of their liberty.
- Independence. The code could go further to acknowledge the importance of the advocate's independence from Responsible Bodies and care providers. This is key to our ability to represent the individual's wishes and ensure their rights are upheld.
- Unique role. Advocates should not be expected to support any other objectives; they are not mediators and do not express a view or opinion on what individuals should do.
- Funding and resources. It is envisaged that advocate numbers will have to increase to support the greater number of people subject to the Liberty Protection Safeguards. The sector would welcome ongoing conversations about where extra resources could be targeted, including additional funding, to support the recruitment and training of the many new advocates that will be needed.
- The Appropriate Person. The role of Appropriate Person is a serious undertaking and carries significant responsibilities. We are concerned that mentions of volunteers taking up this role are unhelpful and will lead to confusion and misinterpretation. We recommend that references to volunteers carrying out this role be removed.
What happens next?
- Consideration of the consultation responses will take place during the summer of 2022
- The government plan to put the necessary legislation before parliament during the winter of 2022
- Implementation of LPS is expected during 2023