Deprivation of liberty: authorisation of arrangements enabling care and treatment

Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:25 am on 15th January 2019.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

As I said, due to the cumbersome and inefficient nature of the current DoLS system, many people are not receiving the vital protections they need. Members across the House heard on Second Reading that there is a backlog of 125,000 people waiting to have their safeguards considered. That is 125,000 people who are not receiving the protections they are entitled to, as well as families who do not have peace of mind and carers who do not have legal cover. Worse still, more than 48,000 of those people have been waiting more than a year for an authorisation to be considered. I hope hon. Members agree that that simply cannot be allowed to continue.

The Government tasked the Law Commission with reviewing DoLS and, after more than three years of extensive engagement, it concluded that the system needed to be replaced as a matter of pressing urgency. The Bill concentrates on the Law Commission recommendations that focus on the delivery model. In certain regards, such as making consultation on the individual’s wishes and feelings an explicit feature of the Bill, we go further than the Law Commission recommended.

The Bill has passed through the other place. We worked constructively with the Lords to make important changes, including by ensuring there is no conflict of interest in the role care home managers play in the new system and by removing references to “unsound mind”, which is outdated and stigmatising. We hope to continue working constructively as the Bill passes through the Commons. Indeed, I have already met hon. Members from across the House, as well as key sector stakeholders, to ensure that we listen and respond to their concerns. I know the hon. Member for Worsley and Eccles South cares as much as I do about getting this right.

Clause 1 inserts schedule AA1 into the Mental Capacity Act. This replaces DoLS with a new administrative scheme for authorising deprivation of liberty, known as liberty protection safeguards.

Photo of Barbara Keeley Barbara Keeley Shadow Minister (Mental Health and Social Care)

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Austin. I look forward to the hours of important debate we have ahead of us on the Bill. Let us hope the temperature in the room balances out somewhat over the next few hours, because we are suffering a little bit at the moment.

I want to say clearly that the Opposition are committed to improving the Bill, despite the many reservations we have about not only its contents, but the way it has been developed so far. Should the Government push ahead with the Bill, our job is to ensure that it is the best it can be. We have tabled nearly 30 amendments, which are the minimum reforms needed to ensure that the Bill is fit for purpose.

I am sure that the Government want to produce a Bill that works. No Minister or Department wants to introduce a law that creates complicated case law and necessitates further legislation in the near future. We will work with the Government over the next few weeks to improve the Bill in a spirit of co-operation. If we can do that, we might just have a serviceable Bill at the end of this process.

We will not oppose clause 1 stand part. Indeed, clause 1 is the only part of the Bill that nobody is trying to amend.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.