Adult Care & Support

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Free Personal Care for under 65s

In September 2017 the Scottish Government announced it would extend the Free Personal Care policy to people under the age of 65 who are assessed as needing it.

The announcement followed a feasibility study conducted by the Scottish Government, to examine the impact of this extension and the potential relationship with social security provision. Work will shortly begin with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and a range of stakeholders to shape implementation and to put in place the capacity that will be needed to meet demand.

The introduction of free personal care for under-65s follows a high profile campaign by Amanda Kopel, wife of former Dundee Utd footballer Frank Kopel who was diagnosed with dementia aged 59. Mrs Kopel lodged a public petition in 2013 calling on the Scottish Government to raise awareness of the daily issues faced by people with Alzheimer’s and dementia and to “ensure that free personal care is made for all sufferers of this illness regardless of age”.

The campaign led to a proposal for a Members’ Bill by Conservative MSP, Miles Briggs, proposing the removal of the age-limit that restricts the right to free personal care to those aged 65 or over.

Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000

The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act provides ways to protect and safeguard the welfare and finances of adults who lack capacity to take some or all decisions for themselves because of a mental disorder or an inability to communicate. The Act also aims to support the involvement of adults with incapacity in making decisions about their own lives as far as they are able to do so. 

Anyone authorised to make decisions or take actions on behalf of someone with impaired capacity must apply five specific principles: benefit to the person; least restrictive option; taking account of their wishes; consultation with relevant others; and encouraging the person to use existing skills as well as develop new skills. 

Under the Act a number of public bodies are involved in the regulation and supervision of those authorised to make decisions on behalf of a person with incapacity, including the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland), the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, the courts and local authorities.

The Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) has produced Frequently Asked Questions in relation to the Power of Attorney and other issues related to the Public Guardian’s powers.

In September 2017, Ministers announced that a review of the scope of reform required to the Adults with Incapacity legislation would take place as part of the 2017-18 Programme for Government. It has been confirmed that Andrew Rome has been appointed to chair the review of how mental health legislation meets the needs of people with learning disabilities or autism.

A Government consultation recently took place on proposals for reform to the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. The proposals relate to the following:

  • Graded Guardianships
  • Change of forum for Adults with Incapacity (AWI) cases
  • Creation of supported decision maker role and a supported decision making scheme
  • Clarification of use of powers of attorney in deprivation of liberty cases
  • Creation of short term ‘placement order’
  • Clarification of the interaction between aspects of the AWI legislation and Adult Support and Protection legislation.

Adult Protection

The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 was introduced to ensure a legislative response was available for people and situations not covered by the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 and the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. It allows local authorities to make inquiries where they would otherwise have no power to do so.  

A Code of Practice was published alongside the Act for local authorities and practitioners which provides guidance on when and where it would normally be appropriate to use these powers. 

In 2012, the Scottish Government identified five National Adult Support and Protection priorities, based on emerging issues and themes report by the National Adult Protection Coordinator. The projects ran in 2013-14 and final recommendations were made for changes and future improvement. 

The five National Adult Support and Protection priority projects were:

National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland

The Scottish Government published the National Missing Persons Framework, produced in collaboration with Police Scotland, local authorities, NHSScotland and a number of third sector organisations. The Framework sets out the roles and responsibilities of the respective agencies and outlines the Government's key national objectives to prevent people going missing but also limit the harm associated with people going missing. 

The Framework includes 8 commitments under the core objectives of prevention, response, support and protection. These commitments include:

  • Agencies to ensure that prevention planning takes place locally for vulnerable individuals and groups.
  • Agencies to exchange proportionate information to ensure that missing people are located quickly.
  • Agencies to ensure that specialist support is made available to people who have been missing and their families.
  • Scottish Government to ensure that risks of harm are highlighted in all training and guidance.

The timescale for the majority of actions in the Framework is 2018. 

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