The Society's Mental Health & Disability Subcommittee is looking for help in gathering data on timescales for preparation of mental health officer reports

The Mental Health & Disability Subcommittee of the Society (“MHDC”) would welcome assistance from practitioners who deal with guardianship and intervention order applications under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 in gathering data on timescales for preparation of mental health officer reports.

Anecdotal evidence indicates widespread failures by local authorities in meeting their obligation under s 57(4) of the Act to have the required MHO report for welfare applications under part 6 prepared within 21 days of notice by the applicant to the chief social work officer of intention to apply. There is a general impression that, while there are variations from area to area, demands are outstripping currently available resources. Proposals in the recent Scottish Law Commission Report on Adults with Incapacity, and in the current Mental Health Bill, would further increase MHO workloads.

The matter was addressed at a recent meeting between members of MHDC, the Care Inspectorate and the Mental Welfare Commission, and the MHDC intends to pursue this further with the Scottish Government and other interested parties. Hard data would be helpful. Practitioners are requested to send to a list of dates of receipt of all recent MHO reports with, against each, the local authority and the number of days since the s 57(4) intimation: for example, “31 March 2015 – Glasgow – 20 days”. Ideally this should cover six months to 31 March 2015. If the period is shorter, it is still essential that all reports received within that period (whether timeous or not) are included.

Further comment is optional but would be helpful. Descriptions of the impact of delays in some individual cases, anonymised, could be particularly helpful. Other general comments could cover experience of trends, for example as regards delays or quality of reporting. 

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