The Mental Capacity Act is a law that protects vulnerable people over the age of 16 about the decisions they make.
This could be if someone needs to make a big decision but other people doubt they can make it. This may be because of their disability. An assessment can be done to check if they can make the decision themselves or not. If they can’t, a best interest decision can be made by other people on their behalf.
It should always be presumed that you are able to make your own decisions. This is unless you have difficulty with the following:
- understanding the information you need. For example, what the outcome will be or remembering the information for long enough to make a decision
- weighing up your options and making a choice
- communicating your decision in any way. For example, by blinking or squeezing a hand
No-one can decide a person lacks mental capacity. Even if they think the person has made a bad or strange decision. If the person cannot make a decision at a certain time, they may still be able to:
- make it at another time
- make decisions about other things
When others make decisions on your behalf, they must follow the Mental Capacity Act. For more information have a look at the Mental Capacity page on this Sheffield Local Offer page.
No-one should make a decision for a young person if it can wait until they can do it themselves. Parents and professionals must always support them to be involved as much as possible in a decision made on their behalf. Even if the young person does not have the capacity to make it themselves. Communication aids can help to do this.
You may need an independent advocate to help collect your opinions and put your view across. Professionals in health, education or social care can ask for an independent advocate if needed. You can get help from an advocate at age 16+.
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