Government changes name of ‘incapacity’ bill

The government confirmed this week that a draft bill to protect
and empower vulnerable adults would be renamed the ‘Mental Capacity
Bill’ as opposed to the Mental Incapacity Bill, writes
Clare Jerrom.

A joint parliamentary committee report on the draft bill
published last November said the test of mental capacity, not
incapacity, was central to the bill and recommended changing the
name in order to improve public attitudes.

The government said the draft bill provides a new statutory
framework to protect vulnerable people, carers and professionals,
and makes clear who can take decisions in which situations and how
they should go about it.

The committee had raised concerns that the scope of the proposed
‘general authority’, which would allow everyday and emergency
decisions to be made on behalf of a person unable to make their own
decisions, remained unclear.

A coalition of 30 charities warned last week that the bill would
be “toothless” unless it ensures the availability of
advocates to guard the rights of those who need support to make
decisions. The government confirmed that further work would be
undertaken in the area of advocacy.

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