Current Status of the Decision Support Service
The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was signed by the President on 30 December 2015. The Act reforms Ireland’s capacity legislation which has been in place since the 19th century. It establishes a modern statutory framework to support decision-making by adults who have difficulty in making decisions without help. The Mental Health Commission, among many others, has warmly welcomed the Act as a necessary reform of Ireland’s legal framework for vulnerable adults where their capacity is in question or may become in question in the future.
The Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 provides for the establishment of the Decision Support Service within the Mental Health Commission to support decision-making by and for adults with capacity difficulties and to regulate individuals who are providing support to people with capacity difficulties.
The Act significantly extends the statutory remit of the Mental Health Commission to include wide-ranging regulatory and information functions for the Director of the Decision Support Service. The Commission is committed to working with the Department of Health and the Department of Justice and Equality, and other relevant stakeholders to put in place the necessary infrastructure to make the Decision Support Service operational in a timely manner. To date the Commission has been in discussions with the relevant Government Departments to secure the necessary human and financial resources that will be necessary to progress the detailed and complex planning and operational elements that are required for the implementation of this legislation. The Mental Health Commission is participating in an Inter-Departmental Steering Group comprising officials of the Department of Health and the Department of Justice and Equality in order to advance the resourcing and establishment of the Decision Support Service. The Inter-Departmental Steering Group has met on five occasions to date.
At present, a limited number of provisions of the Act have been commenced, including provisions to allow for the recruitment of the Director of the Decision Support Service. To view the provisions of the Act that have been commenced please click here.
Following detailed scoping and when the operational processes required for the DSS are in place, the Commission will liaise with the relevant Government Departments in relation to the provisions of the Act that will need to be commenced to make the Decision Support Service operational. Currently, it is anticipated further commencement will occur during the course of 2017.
In its Business Plan 2017 the Mental Health Commission has identified a number of priority areas to prepare the backdrop for the operational roll-out of the Decision Support Service, which will be subject to the budgetary allocation granted for the Decision Support Service in 2017. This will be made available on our website in due course.