81.Memorandum from Cardiff People First
We think the bill will be helpful for people:
who are traditionally recognised
as being able to make decisions, then for some reason lose that
who have never had the capacity to
The bill will not be helpful for people;
who traditionally were not viewed
as being capable of making decisions for themselves, people with
a learning disability.
We are an organisation for people with a learning
disability, led by people with a learning disability. Members
find that many people think they are not capable of making decisions
when they are. Many members find other people decide for them.
Some people will make decisions which suit them, not the person
with a learning disability. So some people with a learning disability
are afraid that staff/parents/carers/others will use the Bill
to boss them around, stop them from doing things and make them
do things they don't want to.
The Bill is clear what happens in cases where
the person does not have capacity to make decisions. But we would
like to ask what happens when the person is capable of making
decisions but does not have the opportunity to do so or is not
allowed to? Going to court seems a bit heavy.
More needs to be included in the Bill to protect
the rights of people with a learning disability to make their
own decisions. Services are needed to support people to make those
decisions. The public need to know that people with a learning
disability are capable of making decisions for themselves unless
We liked the idea that the Bill assumes people
have capacity unless determined otherwise. At the Department of
Constitutional Affairs workshop in Cardiff in July it was explained
that the Bill over time hopes to change attitudes to decision-making
by people with a learning disability. This is good. But the Bill
needs to do more to protect that right to make decisions until
attitudes have changed.
Also, the Bill is okay if people stick to the
rules. If people don't, there needs to be an accessible complaints
procedure. More independent advocates are needed, to support people
who can make their own decisions but find others don't listen
or won't let them make decisions.
We would also like to ask who decides if a person
is incapable of making decisions for themselves? Some people with
learning disabilities are worried that just anybody who claims
to have their best interests in mind will be able to take over
their lives. So how is this decided? Would there be checks to
make sure this did not happen? How do people complain if they
disagree with the decision?
It is important that the judges in the Court
of Protection and Public Guardians are chosen carefully and have
experience of these issues.
We would also like to ask, who is going to decide
when the deputies take over making decisions from people?
We do not like the term Mental Incapacity.
If the bill becomes law, our ideas for telling
people about this are:
Mobile information unit
Social workers/doctors etc.