26 April 2023 has been confirmed as the date for the full commencement of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (the "Act").
The Act provides for a new human rights-based framework for people with capacity issues. The Act also abolishes the current wards of court system and replaces it with a modern, person-centred framework to maximise autonomy for people who require support to make decisions about their personal welfare, property and financial affairs.
The full operationalisation of the Decision Support Service (DSS) will occur on 26 April 2023 when individuals will be enabled to interact with the new ground-breaking service for the very first time. The DSS is the service established by the 2015 Act to, inter alia, regulate and register decision support arrangements, supervise the actions of decision supporters and investigate complaints made against them under the 2015 Act.
Decision supporters include decision-making assistants (Part 3 of the 2015 Act), co-decision-makers (Part 4), decision-making representatives (Part 5), attorneys (Part 7), and healthcare representatives (Part 8). Under the Act, decision support under the Act may be availed of by “relevant persons”, that is, a person whose capacity is in question or may shortly be in question in respect of one or more matters, or a person who lacks capacity in respect of one or more matters.
The Chairman of the Board of the Mental Health Commission Dr John Hillery said “We have all been waiting on the commencement of the 2015 Act that will change the lives of thousands of people in this State for the better.”
In welcoming the announcement, the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission, John Farrelly, said: “This Act provides a legal basis for people who may have difficulty with their decision-making capacity. It also provides important tools for all of us, for advanced health care planning, and by way of enduring powers of attorney. So, the Act puts in place a regulated system of support that will match people with the support that meets their needs.”
The Director of the new Decision Support Service (DSS), Áine Flynn, also warmly welcomed the announcement by the Minsters and thanked all those people who have worked hard over the years to bring this new service, and the legislation underpinning it, to fruition.
“This is a vitally important piece of legislation that many people have been waiting on and they can justifiably celebrate this morning, knowing that we now have a definite date to start the new service,” Ms Flynn said.
“The DSS is ready to open its doors, and we look forward to beginning to help people access the new service and all of the supports set out under the Act.”
The DSS have prepared a helpful section on their website to assist individuals for the commencement of the Act. The link can be accessed here:
Written by Eimear Burke and Hannah Unger.
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