Consultation on Capacity Bill

The public are invited to give their views on the island’s first draft Capacity Bill, which aims to enhance the protection of people who are unable to make their own decisions. 

A consultation which has just gone live offers a further opportunity to help shape a landmark piece of legislation giving rights to people who lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves and providing a clear legal framework for decision-making on behalf of others. 

Proposals include a new Lasting Power of Attorney which would allow decisions to be made on behalf of another person on health and welfare as well as financial and property matters. Definitions and guidance on the way capacity should be assessed are included, along with provision for people to make advance decisions about how they would like their affairs to be managed should they lose capacity to make decisions in the future. 

The latest consultation follows a call in August 2020 for input from the public and professional bodies on the principles guiding the new policy. A total of 154 responses were received from individuals and organisations, broadly supporting the introduction of a new Capacity Bill and the overarching principles behind it. A summary of those responses can be read here.  

The consultation paper sets out the purpose of the Bill and explains its 10 key proposals. Respondents are guided through the draft legislation topic by topic, with a summary provided on each section and an opportunity to give feedback at the end of each topic ‘chapter’. 

Minister David Ashford said: ‘We want to gather a wide scope of opinion so no prior knowledge is assumed, and our open question format invites people to comment from any angle on the proposals. Providing for people who may have lost capacity in a way that safeguards individuals’ rights, dignity and wellbeing is an integral part of a modern health and care system. The protection and rights the draft Bill seeks to establish may be needed by any of us or a loved one at some time in the future, so we are all invested. I urge anyone with an interest to take part in the consultation.’ 

Feedback to the current consultation will shape the draft Capacity Bill which will be subject to future parliamentary scrutiny and potentially, further revision. The consultation runs until Thursday April 8.