The Mental Capacity Bill, the Drugs Bill and the Disability
Discrimination Act all received Royal Assent today,
writes Clare Jerrom.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a statutory framework for
people who may not be able to make their own decisions because of a
learning difficulty, mental health problem or an illness such as
The Act provides protection for professionals and carers to
lawfully care for someone who cannot consent without incurring
liability and creates independent mental capacity advocates to
support and represent people lacking capacity.
There is also the provision of living wills to allow a person
whilst they have capacity to make an advance decision to refuse
The Disability Discrimination Act amends the existing Disability
Discrimination Act to introduce a new duty on public bodies to
promote equality of opportunity for disabled people and provides
protection for people diagnosed with cancer, MS and HIV.
It also ensures that all functions of public authorties are
covered by the DDA as until now, it just applied to services.
The Children’s Society welcomed the Act and police adviser
Chris Osborne said: “The government’s commitment to ensuring that
schools are fully included in new duties to promote disability
equality is an important victory for the rights of disabled
children and young people.
“This will mean that schools will be required to take action to
provide equality of opportunity for disabled children; to monitor
and assess progress and outcomes for disabled children and involve
and consult with them,” he added.
At the same time the Drugs Bill received Royal Assent. It brings
in powers to make drug dealing near a school or using children as
couriers an aggravating factor in sentencing and gives police
powers to test for class A drugs on arrest and require those who
test positive to attend a drugs assessment and follow-up
It also establishes a new drug intervention order to run
alongside antisocial behaviour orders to address drug misuse by
people acting antisocially.