For Written Answer on: 21/04/2021
Question Number(s): 1217 Question Reference(s): 18248/21
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth the sections of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 that have commenced to date; his plans and associated timescales for the commencement of the remaining sections of the Act; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The commenced sections of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (the 2015 Act) are:
- Part 1 other than sections 3, 4, and 7 and Part 9 other than section 96, section 102 and Chapter 3 were commenced by the Minister for Justice and Equality on 12 October 2016 (S.I. No. 515 of 2016). The Order appointed 17 October 2016 as the date on which specified provisions of Parts 1 and 9 of the Act came into operation.
- The definition of “Minister” in section 82; the definitions of “code of practice” and “working group” in section 91(1); and section 91(2) were commenced by the Minister for Health on 13 October 2016 (S.I. No. 517 of 2016). The Order provided for the commencement, on 17 October 2016, of section 91(2) and relevant definitions, for the establishment, by the Minister for Health, of a multidisciplinary working group of suitable persons willing and able to make recommendations to the Director of the DSS in relation to codes of practice pertaining to the advance healthcare directive provisions of the Act.
- Section 91 was commenced by the Minister for Health on 13 December 2018 (S.I. No. 527 of 2018). The Order provided for the commencement, on 17 December 2018, of the remainder of section 91 which outlines the formal process to be undertaken by the Director of the DSS regarding the preparation and publication of the code of practice pertaining to the advance healthcare directive provisions, including the requirement for the Director to obtain the consent of the Minister for Health in order to publish the code of practice.
- Section 7(1) commenced by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on 27 January 2021 (S.I. No. 24 of 2021). The Order provided for the repeal of the Marriage of Lunatics Act, 1811, on 1 February 2021
My aim is to commence the remaining sections of the 2015 Act in June 2022. The 2015 Act provides a modern statutory framework to support decision-making by adults with capacity difficulties. The 2015 Act is primarily the policy responsibility of my Department except for Part 8 of the 2015 Act which deals with advance healthcare planning and is the responsibility of the Department of Health.
My Department chairs the Inter-Departmental Steering Group (IDSG), previously under the remit of the Department of Justice and Equality, which includes the Decision Support Service, the Mental Health Commission, the Courts Service, the HSE, the Department of Health and the Department of Justice. Its remit is to ensure that IDSG members are taking the actions necessary to ensure that the 2015 Act is commenced by June 2022. To this end I secured a budget of €5.8m for 2021 for the DSS to enable it to develop the necessary systems, including IT systems, to become operational. My officials are also working on the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill, which will provide necessary amendments to the 2015 Act, with the aim of enactment by year-end. In the meantime, I will commence any sections of the 2015 Act that I can, bearing in mind the interconnectedness of the Act.