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Mental Capacity Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:15 pm on 1st February 2005.

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Photo of Baroness Barker Baroness Barker Social Services, Non-Departmental & Cross-Departmental Responsibilities 10:15 pm, 1st February 2005

We come to what I consider one of the most important parts of the Bill. It covers one of the most important elements in determining whether the Bill works in practice—the codes of practice.

In preparing to move this amendment, I found myself wondering how many people will see the codes of practice and how many will see the Bill. I rather suspect that thousands and thousands of people who see the codes of practice will never see the Bill. I therefore believe that it is important that we spend a little time on the subject.

I preface all my remarks on the following provisions by repeating the thanks that I gave on Second Reading to the Bill team for giving us a draft code of practice to look at before we considered the Bill. That is very welcome. It has been enormously helpful to see the sorts of information that will be given to professionals—many of whom will only very rarely come into contact in their work with someone who lacks capacity.

The purpose of the amendment is to do something that is very simple but also very important—to ensure that the code of practice is in a format that is accessible to the one person who matters, the person who lacks capacity. I have been enormously impressed throughout our consideration of the Bill at the way in which we have been able to see things such as easy-read versions of the Bill and consultation documents. At times I have found those documents immensely valuable.

I consider it pretty much essential that this provision is passed. We cannot begin telling other people what to do if we are not prepared to do it ourselves. That is why we should adopt this fairly simple but important amendment. I beg to move.