Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
437. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the target month in 2022 for the full commencement of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015. [27927/21]
The Government made a commitment in the Programme for Government to commencing the 2015 Act, recognising the importance of the much needed reform it represents. We are working towards a date of June 2022 for full commencement.
Amendments are required to the 2015 Act before full commencement can take place. Work is actively taking place on an Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill, which is expected to be enacted by year end. Priority drafting has been secured and publication of the Bill is expected in September. The amendments will streamline processes, in the interests of those using the provisions of the 2015 Act and will strengthen the Act's safeguards.
Some provisions of the Act have been commenced to enable the recruitment of the Director of the Decision Support Service; the establishment of a multidisciplinary working group in relation to Advance Healthcare Directives; and most recently, on 1 February this year, the repeal of the Marriage of Lunatics Act, which means that a ward can now marry if she or he has capacity to do so.
The Decision Support Service has made considerable progress in putting in place the administrative and IT systems needed to operate the 2015 Act. To this end a budget of €5.8 million was secured for the Decision Support Service for 2021, a significant increase on its €3.5 million 2020 budget.
A high-level Steering Group, chaired by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, meets monthly to oversee and drive progress towards full commencement. The Steering Group comprises senior officials from the Department of Health, the Department of Justice, the Mental Health Commission, the Courts Service, the HSE and the Decision Support Service, recognising that successful operation of the 2015 Act will involve multiple stakeholders. They are working towards commencement of the 2015 Act in June 2022, as indicated, with the Decision Support Service opening for business immediately thereafter.