Report on proposed Mental Health Services LCO published

Published 24/06/2008   |   Last Updated 14/07/2014

Report on proposed Mental Health Services LCO published

The Assembly’s Proposed Mental Health Services Legislative Competence Order (LCO) Committee has published its report on the proposed LCO supporting the request for legislative powers over mental health to be transferred from Westminster to the National Assembly for Wales.

The proposed order would allow the Assembly to pass Measures to improve the assessment and treatment of people with mental health disorders before they become subject to compulsory detention under the Mental Health Act 1983. It would also allow the Assembly to give people a right to independent advocacy to help them make important decisions about their treatment and the support they require at an earlier stage in their illness.

This was the first LCO to be proposed by a Member who is not part of the government. Jonathan Morgan AM proposed the LCO after winning a ballot of all AMs last year.

David Melding AM, Chair of the Committee, said:  “Mental Health Service Provision is an important and often highly emotive area. After consulting widely and listening carefully to the views of stakeholders during the scrutiny process the Committee is strongly of the view that the Assembly should have the powers to make law in this area.

“We heard compelling evidence from people who have been subject to detention under the Mental Health Act 1983 and mental health organisations about their experiences of mental health services and how having earlier access to treatment and social care would help patients. One of our key recommendations is that any future Measure tackling these issues would have to cover not only duties on the health service, but also on local authorities, in particular social services. This would ensure that they work together jointly and coherently to provide “treatment and care” – not just medical intervention - for persons with mental disorders which would help their recovery and rehabilitation and could prevent them from reaching crisis point and becoming subject to compulsory detention.

“The proposed order has received wide-ranging support from mental health organisations and service providers and there has been cross-party support from the committee members who have provided an excellent example of effective scrutiny and cross-party working as well as from the Minister for Health and Social Services.”

The Committee was established in March to consider and report on the proposed Order. It consulted widely across the field of mental health services to inform its work. In addition, the Committee took oral evidence from the Minister for Health and Social Services; The Law Society; the Association for Directors of Social Services; The Royal College of Nursing Cymru; The Royal College of Psychiatrists; Mind; Gofal Cymru; Hafal; Cymar; and Cardiff Community Health Council

In its report the Committee agrees, in principle, that the Government of Wales Act 2006 should be amended to give the Assembly new powers to make its own laws, known as Assembly Measures, in the area of mental health services. It goes on to make a number of recommendations including that the proposed Order should also refer not just to “treatment” but also to “care” to reflect the range of services which may be required to enable recovery and rehabilitation.