Welcome, everyone, to the first meeting of the Committee. Can we start by making sure that our phones and iPads are on silent? We will first consider the programme motion on the amendment paper. We will then consider a motion to enable the reporting of written evidence for publication. I hope we can take those two things without too much debate. I call the Minister to move the programme motion, which was agreed by the Programming Sub-Committee yesterday.
It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Austin. The Bill amends the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and reforms deprivation of liberty safeguards, which, if the Committee will forgive me, I will refer to as DoLS. DoLS came into force in 2009 to provide protections for vulnerable people who require care and treatment but do not have the capacity to consent. However, due to the cumbersome and inefficient nature of the current DoLS system, many people are not receiving those vital protections. Hon. Members across the House heard on Second Reading that there is currently a shocking backlog—
(1) the Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 9.25 am on Tuesday 15 January) meet—
(a) at 2.00 pm on Tuesday
(b) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday
(c) at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday
(d) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday
(2) the proceedings shall be taken in the following order: Clause 1; Schedule 1; Clauses 2 to 4; Schedule 2; Clause 5; new Clauses; new Schedules; remaining proceedings on the Bill;
(3) the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 5.00 pm on Thursday 24 January.—
Copies of the written evidence received will be made available in the Committee Room.
We now begin line-by-line consideration of the Bill. The selection list for today’s sitting, which is available in the room, shows how the selected amendments have been grouped for debate. Amendments grouped together are generally on the same or similar issues. Decisions on amendments take place not in the order the amendments are debated, but in the order they appear on the amendment paper. The selection and grouping list shows the order of debate; decisions on each amendment will be taken when we come to the part of the Bill the amendment affects. I will use my discretion to decide whether to allow a separate stand part debate on individual clauses and schedules following the debates on the relevant amendments.