Knowledge and Practice Hubs

Mental capacity, deprivation of liberty and best interests knowledge and practice hub

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Learning points

  • The key steps to follow when assessing capacity or making a best interests decision.
  • Using the Guzzardi test to determine whether a situation amounts to a deprivation of liberty.
  • What case law says about the capacity to consent to sexual relations and marriage.
  • Test your knowledge of the law on mental capacity and deprivation of liberty (only available to premium partner organisations).

This hub helps you with point 5, mental capacitypoint 9, organisational context, and point 11, level of capability at the end of the ASYE, of the knowledge and skills statement for social workers working in adults’ services.

Please note: in July 2020, care minister Helen Whateley announced that implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS), which replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), would be delayed. The government received representations from social care and health bodies about the difficulties they would face in making the 1 October 2020 deadline in light of the impact from Covid-19. Consequently, full implementation has been delayed until April 2022, although some provisions, covering new roles and training, will come into force ahead of that date.

Assessing mental capacity


Supported learning

Quiz: Mental Capacity Act
Supported learning content is only available to premium partner organisations. Find out more about supported learning here.

Supported learning

Interactive case scenario: mental capacity assessment Supported learning content is only available to premium partner organisations. Find out more about supported learning here.

Best interests

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elmari bishop 100x100Elmari Bishop is a consultant social worker and lecturer practitioner. Her specialist areas include the Mental Capacity Act (MCA), Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), Mental Health Act, safeguarding and the Human Rights Act, as well as the interface between them. Elmari provides consultancy and training around these areas.

Elmari is currently the safeguarding and legal intervention lead for Thurrock Council and maintains links at national level as the MCA/DoLS lead for the Mental Health Alliance. Elmari is also a member of the MCA/DoLS regional implementation network in the east of England and leads on best interests assessor (BIA) refresher training in this geographical area. She has many years of experience in the field of adult mental health as an approved mental health professional and in working as the MCA/DoLS lead for a large NHS organisation. Elmari continues to practise as a BIA.

steven-richards 100x100Steven Richards is a Mental Health Act reviewer with the Care Quality Commission, inspecting the care and treatment of people detained under the act. He is also a specialist adviser for the commission in relation to the Mental Capacity Act and a director of Edge Training and Consultancy. Steven has worked in the mental health field for over 20 years, both for the NHS and voluntary sector.

He has been an in-patient advocate for Mind working across adult, older people and psychiatric intensive care units and as an advocate represented directly before the Court of Protection. He has co-authored a number of books, wall charts and apps on the Mental Capacity Act and Mental Health Act.

Other contributors include Javeda Jafri, Rita Panayides, Ed Mitchell, Daniel Baker, Mr and Mrs E, Annabel Lee, Kate Mercer and the Law Society.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, do let us know.