Response from Nick Hodge to the Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty consultation

The Autism Centre’s Nick Hodge, Professor of Inclusive Practice, submitted this response to the Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty Consultation. If you have not yet responded and would like to then there is still time. Information on how to do this can be found at

Dear Mr. Spencer-Lane

I really welcome the review of the current law in relation to Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty. I welcome the thrust of the proposed changes and I am especially pleased to see the  LB Bill recognised within them. I would like to add the additional comments on the following proposals:

  • 6-10 I fully support the LB Bill. No Local Authorities and NHS in England should not set personal budgets for disabled people living at home by reference to the cost of meeting the person’s needs in residential care. People should be fully supported to live where they consider home and where they wish to be.
  • 6-11. Yes people should have their wishes met concerning where and with whom they live. It is critical to maintain family and community links.
  • 6-12 Yes as detailed in the LB Bill Local Authorities and NHS in England should report annually. In doing so they should  report on a. The number of living arrangements made in the previous 12 months for disabled persons for whom the local authority or NHS body is responsible; b. When and by whom the decision was taken in each case where a living arrangement was made which was not consistent with the wishes and feelings of the disabled person; c. Why in each case where the living arrangement made was not consistent with the wishes and feelings of the disabled person there was no appropriate living arrangement available which was consistent with their wishes and feelings; d. What plans are in place in each such case to make a new living arrangement which is consistent with the person’s wishes and feelings; e. The name of the social worker with responsibility for the person’s care plan; and f. The steps taken to comply with the duty to secure a sufficient supply of community support.
  • 11-1 : Yes there should be a right to apply to the First –Tier tribunal but this needs to include the provision of skilled and fully qualified legal support. The Centre for Education and Inclusion Research at Sheffield Hallam University conducted research for the DFE on how parties experienced the new appeals procedures for school exclusions. In the abstract of the attached paper you will see that for parents and carers and young people preparing for and attending the appeal came at high personal cost. The process was experienced by them as unbalanced and inequitable because schools had access to greater resources and could if required fund legal support. For most parents and carers and young people this was not an option. Access to this was repeatedly raised as an essential by these parties.
  • 11-6 The nature and structure of the First-Tier tribunal should be the best fit for the requirement of the appellant and his/her advocates. For some the preferred mode of engagement might be via a paper review for others they may feel that they can only present their case in person.
  • 12-1 – people may well need more than one advocate. Circles of Support ( can be an excellent way of providing someone with a team of people around them all of whom bring different skills to support of the person at the centre of the circle. The requirement of an establishment of a circle of support would ensure a greater range of people who monitor and are concerned for the person’s welfare.
  • In the accessible format version I wonder if it is correct to say that some people cannot make decisions. In my experience it is usually that they have not been correctly enabled to make them.
  • Practitioner carers need to be appointed who are  committed to their work, skilled and  effectively supported.



About The Autism Centre, Sheffield Hallam University

The Autism Centre is part of the Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion within the Faculty of Development and Society, Sheffield Hallam University. The Autism Centre promotes a view of autism as a different way of being. Whilst many people may live happy and accomplished lives with autism, different ways of being can challenge and confuse others. To help with understanding The Autism Centre delivers accredited courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level. Its team of academics engage with research and consultancy and publish widely on the autism spectrum and disability.
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