As you will be aware, the health and social care sector (like others) is working hard to maintain essential services in what are extremely challenging times. Whilst the manner in which many of us work is being adapted in line with current Government and Public Health England guidance, it is recognised that much of the work we undertake can’t simply just stop. So, there is a balance to be had between ensuring, as far as possible, the wellbeing of everyone (especially vulnerable people) and maintaining vital services. I am committed to maintaining as many of the services I provide throughout this period of uncertainty whilst acting responsibly to help ensure the safety of those I work with, vulnerable people and their carers.

To this end, until further notice, the following will apply:

Where possible, I will assess and consult people using non face-to-face methods such as Skype and telephone calls. Sometimes this is not possible and, in those situations, where safe to do so, I will continue with a face-to-face approach. If this is required, current Government guidelines will be followed. Whichever method will be adopted will depend entirely upon the nature and urgency of the work and will be discussed with the instructing party and care providers where applicable.

I wish you a safe and healthy time as we work together over the coming months,

Best Wishes, Gary.

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Tel: 0203 617 1255

Mental Capacity: Census 2021

If you are an attorney (Lasting Power of Attorney), deputy or care home manager, you may have a role to play (in addition to completing your own form) in the upcoming census.  Census 2021 is Sunday 21st March 2021 and households are starting to receive a letter with details about how to complete the census online.  If you require a paper census form, you can request one by visiting www.census.gov.uk or calling 0800 141 2021.

Completing the census is a legal requirement, but there will be some people who aren’t able to complete it themselves and will require support.  If you live in a care home, the care home manager will have a paper form for you to complete and each resident should complete a form (or complete it online using an access code).  Care home residents will receive a form at the care home if you are a:

  • UK resident who lives or plans to stay in the establishment for six months or more
  • UK resident with no usual home elsewhere
  • non-UK resident who lives or plans to stay in the UK for three months or more and you have no permanent UK address
  • caretaker, maintenance worker or other staff, or a member of their family, who usually lives here and you have no other address

In all other cases, you will receive a letter at your home address.  If you require census information in accessible formats, they can be ordered here.

Does a person who lacks capacity need to complete a census form?

“…permit and encourage the person to participate, or to improve their ability to participate, as fully as possible…”

It is a legal requirement for all adults to complete a form for Census 2021, regardless of whether they have the mental capacity to make the decision or not.  Therefore, if you are a deputy, attorney or care home manager, you may need to support people to complete their forms.  In fact, if the person can’t complete the form themselves then it is your responsibility to complete it as best you can.  Some questions are marked voluntary and these questions don’t have to be completed.

If you do complete a form on behalf of someone else, the principles of the Mental Capacity Act should be followed.

  • Presume that the person does have capacity to complete their own form
  • Ensure that you have taken all practical steps to help the person complete their own form before concluding they can’t
  • An unwise decision does not necessarily mean that the person lacks capacity

If, after applying these three principles, you conclude that the person lacks the mental capacity to complete Census 2021, the following principles must be applied:

  • Any decision made must be in the person’s best interests.  This doesn’t mean the option that the attorney or deputy would make themselves, but would take into consideration the views and wishes of the person and consideration of the decision that they would likely have made themselves.
  • Any decision should be made having considered whether it could have been made with less interference with their rights and freedoms.

If you require further information, you can speak to a census advisor Monday-Saturday and the contact details can be found here.