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Minister unveils plan to introduce Liberty Protection Safeguards in October 2020

The Government intends to bring the Liberty Protection Safeguards system into force on 1 October 2020, the Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage has announced.

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019, which paves the way for the introduction of the Liberty Protection Safeguards system, received Royal Assent last month (16 May 2019).

The Liberty Protection Safeguards will replace the current Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards system, which Dinenage said was “broken and bureaucratic, and currently leaving thousands without protection”.

The 1 October 2020 start date is subject to the Government’s ongoing implementation planning with delivery partners and the Welsh Government and the progress of its work on developing the Code of Practice and statutory instruments for the reform.

In a letter, which can be viewed here, the Minister of State for Care said: “The Code of Practice will be a vital document for practitioners, the people who rely on these protections and their families. My absolute priority is to ensure the Code of Practice delivers on providing detailed and easy to understand guidance which will ensure the successful implementation of the new system. Our focus must be on getting this right.”

Dinenage claimed good progress was being made and the Government expected initial outputs from the working groups contributing to this work by summer 2019.

She said it was expected that the final draft of the Code would be laid before Parliament in spring 2020. “We are working closely with the Ministry of Justice to align this work with the review of the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice. We are also in the process of drafting the statutory instruments under the Act. We will engage with the sector on the development of the regulations and we expect that these will also be laid before Parliament in spring 2020.”

The Minister said that alongside the work on the Code of Practice and statutory instruments, the Government was taking forward a range of activity to prepare for implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards, working closely with key delivery partners and stakeholders.

It will shortly publish some initial materials which will be publicly available and can be used by the sector as a starting point in the preparations for the new system. “We are also in the process of developing training both to support staff in the sector with the change to the new system, and to approve people to become Approved Mental Capacity Professionals.”

Dinenage acknowledged that there would still be people who have an authorisation in place under the current Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards system on the date the new system comes into force.

“We will work with delivery partners and stakeholders on developing transitional arrangements, but it is our expectation that such people will remain under their existing authorisation until it expires,” she said.

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