Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 22nd October 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Barker Baroness Barker Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Voluntary Sector) 10:00 pm, 22nd October 2018

My Lords, I am glad that the noble Baroness has given us this opportunity to discuss a really important matter, albeit that it is late at night. I noted what the Minister said at various times throughout the debate about reliance on the code of practice. He will know that, as we have been trying to make clear all the way through the debate on the Bill, if some rights are not statutory rights in the Bill, then compliance is question. I rather suspect that the Bill that was presented to us was not compliant. I do not see how a Bill which, on the face of it, would enable somebody to be detained without being met and assessed by a professional person could be compliant.

There are a number of key matters which the Government are, at the moment, talking about putting into the code of practice—perhaps, possibly on a good day, into regulations—but which need to go back into the Bill. If they do not, the responsible body will not have the statutory responsibility to see that they are carried out. They are: the basis for the detention and the necessary and proportionate test and when that test applies; the role of IMCAs and access to appropriate persons; professional qualifications and training for people undertaking those pre-authorisation reviews; where an AMCP referral should be made; and the obligation to provide information to the person and their family about authorisation. All those things are important.

I say from these Benches that if we do not have considerable movement towards putting those things into the Bill, however briefly, the Bill will still be in trouble when we come to Report.