In a report published yesterday (19 July 2017), the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (known as the LGO) has outlined some of the very real concerns it has about the treatment of people who lack capacity to make their own decisions about how they are cared for when decisions are being made for them. The report has also found that vulnerable people are being forced in to situations against their will because care providers are not going through the proper processes.
In 2016-17, the LGO investigated more than 1,200 adult social care complaints in detail, with one in five of those complaints involving concerns about mental capacity or the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). The LGO upheld 69% of those investigations, which is higher than the 53% average figure.
Some of the problems highlighted by the report include issues with the current DoLS system, delaying or not carrying out assessments to determine a person's capacity to make decisions for themselves, poor decision making when deciding on someone's best interests, and not involving family and friends in the decision-making process.
Michael King, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, has said "The people who these measures are designed to protect are all too often being let down by poor practice. And, while I appreciate the complex emotional and practical decisions social workers need to make, the people they look after are still entitled to be treated fairly, and have their assessments undertaken correctly and in a timely manner. People should have the right to make choices for themselves unless they have been assessed as not having capacity. We have issued this report to highlight where things are going wrong, so we can help authorities get things right and improve services for people."
Conroys Solicitors LLP offer advice and assistance in legal matters relating to mental capacity law and DoLS. To arrange a free 30 minute consultation with one of our mental capacity lawyers, please telephone the office on 01872 272 457.