The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is a hugely significant piece of legislation. Yet it is widely misunderstood and often poorly implemented. It applies in England and Wales only, and its purpose is to enable people to make decisions about their own lives, if they possibly can. Decisions could be simple and routine, such as whether to have a cup of tea or a cup of coffee in the morning. Or they could be very profound, such as whether to have treatment for cancer, whether to continue living in one's own home, or whether to have sex.
A weekly podcast
To the best of our knowledge there isn't a weekly podcast out there covering the Mental Capacity Act. So we've decided to create one ourselves! The first episodes were released on 10th June 2019 - click here for more details. You can listen to them for free from any type of computer with an Internet connection, but if you want to download them and listen to them on the go on your tablet or mobile device (as most people do) then you'll need a podcast player app. You have two choices:
- To do this for free, you'll need to download the Patreon app from iTunes (for Apple devices) or Google Play (for Android devices) by clicking the logo below. The app is free to download and free to use.
- Or, if you would prefer to use your favourite podcast player app, for example the one that comes pre-installed on iPhones and iPads, then you'll need to become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Patron to the podcast (Bronze subscriptions start at $5.00 per month, which is the equivalent of about £3.95 per month). Click on the logo below for more details and explore the "Tiers" information panel.
There is also a Facebook discussion group linked to the podcast which you are very welcome to join now if you wish. We hope this will become a busy and vibrant place to discuss all aspects of the Mental Capacity Act and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and the Liberty Protection Safeguards. It's a closed group, so you'll need to request permission to join. We'll also be posting items on Twitter and Linkedin.
Although the podcasts themselves will be free to download, there will be lots of exclusive bonus features available to anyone who wishes to become a Patron by paying a small monthly subscription (starting at £3.95 per month). Bonus features include downloadable handouts, powerpoint presentations, early access to episodes etc, as well as podcast interviews with people who are involved with the Mental Capacity Act (eg lawyers, MCA/DOLS Leads, campaigners, carers and users of services). Confirmed interviewees at present are:
- Mark Neary (counsellor, writer, speaker, co-founder of the "Rightful Lives" online exhibition, human rights campaigner, and father of Steven who was unlawfully detained by the London Borough of Hillingdon in 2009-10) - episode was released as a free bonus for everyone on 3rd June 2019
- Emma Berry (MCA and DOLS Lead for Southampton City Council) - episode due for release on 9th August 2019
- Baroness Ilora Finlay of Llandaff (Professor of Palliative Medicine at Cardiff University, and Chair of the National Mental Capacity Forum) - episode due for release on 20th August 2019
- Roger Laidlaw (DoLS Coordinator at Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council) - episode due for release on 2nd September 2019
- "Mr E" (the Shared Lives Carer of "HL", whose detention in Bournewood Hospital for 6 months in 1997 - the "Bournewood Case" - eventually led to the introduction of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in England and Wales) - episode due for release on 20th September 2019
- Rachael Griffiths (Community Manager for PoHwer, which provides Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy services across England and Wales) - episode due for release on 4th October 2019
- Alex Ruck Keene (lawyer, 39 Essex Chambers) - episode due for release on 25th October 2019
- Adrian Dunsterville (Regulatory Policy Manager – Mental Health, Care Quality Commission) - episode due for release on 8th November 2019
- Kelly Boyce (Safeguarding Adults and Mental Capacity Act Lead for James Paget Hospital, Great Yarmouth) - episode due for release on date TBC
- Tim Spencer-Lane (lawyer currently on secondment to the Department of Health & Social Care, working on the Liberty Protection Safeguards) - episode due for release on date TBC
- Alix Lewer and members to be confirmed (from the Include Choir) - episode due for release on date TBC
More names will follow as we arrange them. Click here for full details.
Patrons will also have their names and links to their own websites or social media sites listed here.
Who will be interested in the podcasts?
We hope of course that the podcasts will be of interest to anyone involved in the very broad field of health and social care, which includes professionals, volunteers, family members, users of services etc. But moreover we hope they will be of interest to the population in general. In a very narrow sense the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is the law, so it must be followed, but in a wider sense the issues that it covers - the ability to make decisions for oneself - are really important moral dilemmas which touch the lives of all of us.
Release time is noon on Mondays (Silver and Gold Patrons get early access, ie noon the previous Thursday). Click here to access the episodes.
Please check back here regularly for more details. Or of course we will let you know by email if you're on our mailing list.
Free bonus interview: Mark Neary (counsellor, writer, speaker, co-founder of the "Rightful Lives" online exhibition, human rights campaigner, and father of Steven who was unlawfully detained by the London Borough of Hillingdon in 2009-10) (3rd June 2019)
Series 1: The fundamentals of the Act
- Episode 1 - All about this podcast (10th June 2019)
- Episode 2 - Why was the Act introduced (10th June 2019)
- Episode 3 - The 5 Statutory Principles (17th June 2019)
- Episode 4 - Helping & supporting people to make their own decisions (24th June 2019)
- Episode 5 - Who should assess capacity, and when? (1st July 2019)
- Episode 6 - How to assess capacity (8th July 2019)
- Bonus episode 1: Questions about Series 1 (July 2019 - for Gold Patrons only)
Series 2: More details about the Act
- Episode 1 - Making best interests decisions (12th August 2019)
- Episode 2 - Protection for people who provide care or treatment (19th August 2019)
- Episode 3 - Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court Appointed Deputies (26th August 2019)
- Episode 4 - The role of the Court of Protection (2nd September 2019)
- Episode 5 - Advance Decisions to Refuse Treatment (9th September 2019)
- Episode 6 - Independent mental capacity advocacy services (16th September 2019
- Bonus episode 2 - Questions about Series 2 (Sept/Oct 2019 - for Gold Patrons only)
Series 3: Still more details about the Act
- Episode 1 - Safeguards and controls relating to research (21st October 2019)
- Episode 2 - Children, young people and mental capacity (28th October 2019)
- Episode 3 - The crossover with the Mental Health Act (4th November 2019)
- Episode 4 - The role of the Public Guardian (11th November 2019)
- Episode 5 - Resolving disputes about capacity and best interests (18th November 2019)
- Episode 6 - Data protection and sharing of information (25th November 2019)
- Bonus episode 3 - Questions about Series 3 (December 2019 - for Gold Patrons only)
Series 4 and beyond are dependent on sufficient numbers of Patrons subscribing to our Bronze, Silver or Gold subscription tiers. Patrons can then influence the order, and content, of these Series. Each Series will continue with the same structure as above, taking in real Court of Protection cases. Proposed topics include:
Series ??: Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and Liberty Protection Safeguards
Series ??: Sexual Activity and the Mental Capacity Act
Series ??: More detail about assessing capacity
Series ??: More detail about best interests
Series ??: Life sustaining treatment
Series ??: Mental capacity legislation outside of England and Wales
Series ??: Unwise decisions