Urgent: act now to protect our human rights

Update on the Mental Capacity Amendment Bill

[Featured photo of the House of Commons]

 

Click on these links to read more about the Mental Capacity Amendment Bill:

House of Commons briefing on the bill

Our evidence to the Public Bills Committee

Template letter to MPs with amendments to the Mental Capacity Amendment Bill

Please email al.morrison@inclusionlondon.org.uk for our evidence to the Public Bills Committee in Easy Read (file too large to link here)

We started a petition in 2018 asking people to support our call to protect the rights of people receiving care and support. The petition has nearly 200,000 signatures which shows the widespread opposition for this bill.

38 degrees petition on the Mental Capacity Amendment Bill

At present, the government seems intent on bulldozing a potentially dangerous bill through Parliament. If we don’t act now, this bill could become law. There are serious implications of the Mental Capacity Amendment Bill:

  • The Mental Capacity Amendment Bill is not rights based, it does not protect or promote Disabled people’s liberty and it does not reflect the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
  • There are serious conflicts of interest as to who has the power to make important decisions about a person’s deprivation of liberty and this could mean that people are forced to live in care homes be physically or medically restrained if it’s an easier or cheaper option for a local council or service provider.
  • The government now wants to seriously restrict the rights to advocacy for people facing deprivation of liberty, as well as support to enable a person to understand their rights and to understand, challenge or appeal the process.
  • The government has rejected an important amendment put forward by the House of Lords which now means people will be left without support to understand the process, take part in it, raise objections and prevent authorisation before it is too late.

Inclusion London opposed the bill when it was debated in the House of Lords and worked with members of the Lords to make amendments to the bill. These amendments would have been an improvement to the bill in its original form and would have better protected our human rights. There was cross-party support for these changes to the bill. We’re incredibly disappointed that the government has watered down these changes in the amendments they have presented to the Public Bills Committee, the committee chosen of MPs from different parties who will scrutinise the bill and then report back to Parliament on their findings. There has been a very short timeline for this committee to look at this bill to see if it needs changes or if it should or shouldn’t become law.

There has also been a very short period of time for members of the public to voice their thoughts or concerns with the bill. When asked, the government could provide no evidence they had sought to consult Disabled people. The government has also failed to put the bill in Easy Read, a format that will help people most likely to be affected by the bill to understand it. This is unacceptable and is in breach of the Equality Act.

We feel strongly this bill shouldn’t be rushed through in this way. We’re asking for proper consultation with the people who will be impacted by this bill. There needs to be adequate consideration and scrutiny of what this bill could mean for people receiving care and support.

We hope the government can pause and work with Disabled People’s Organisations and self-advocacy groups to ensure the Mental Capacity Amendment Bill becomes an act that promotes and protects Disabled people’s liberty.

We’re asking you to act now.

  1. Read our briefing
  2. Post about the bill on social media using the #mentalcapacitybill hashtag
  3. Please write to your MP using our template letter. MPs will get a final chance to debate this bill and make changes to it in the next couple of weeks. Contacting your MP now could really make all the difference. Find your MP here: https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
  4. Email the Public Bills Committee with your thoughts or concerns about the bill. The deadline is 24th January at 5pm but please be aware the government could decide to stop receiving evidence before then. https://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2018/december/have-your-say-on-the-mental-capacity-amendment-bill/