Safeguarding must respect the autonomy and independence of individuals as well as their right to family life. Staff should not act without consultation and the consent from the adult at risk unless the adult does not have the mental capacity or unless to act in the vital interest of others. This may include an emergency situation or in interest of the public to prevent the abuse or neglect of others. The principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 must be followed.
In order to protect those who lack capacity and to enable them to take part as much as possible in decisions that affect them, the following five statutory principles which underpin the Mental Capacity Act, apply:
- You must always assume a person has capacity unless it is proven otherwise
- You must take all practicable steps to enable people to make their own decisions
- You must not assume incapacity because someone makes an unwise decision
- Always act, or decide for a person without capacity in their best interest
- Carefully consider actions to ensure the least restrictive option is taken
Principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005
- The following principles apply for the purposes of this Act.
- A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he lacks capacity.
- A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help him to do so have been taken without success.
- A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he makes an unwise decision.
- An act done, or decision made, under this Act for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done, or made, in his best interests.
- Before the act is done, or the decision is made, regard must be had to whether the purpose for which it is needed can be as effectively achieved in a way that is less restrictive of the person’s rights and freedom of action.