Local project for people with disabilities gets national approval
A project developed by Shropshire Council’s Joint Training team and local advocacy group Taking Part (Advocates with Learning Disabilities) is being adopted nationally following an endorsement from Baroness Ilora Finlay of Llandaff.
The project involved designing an easy read card of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA). The ‘MCA Hand Card’ interprets the five principles of the MCA in an easy to read format, supporting people to understand their rights.
The MCA is designed to protect and empower individuals who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment.
It is a law that applies to individuals aged 16 and over.
The card is illustrated with a hand print of the five key principles and acts as a guide on MCA legislation for those who may be affected by mental capacity, as well as for professionals and those who support people.
Baroness Finlay, who is Chair of the National Mental Capacity Act Forum, had seen the card at a presentation made by Shropshire’s Joint Training Team at the Forum’s conference back in March 2016. The presentation was well received by the Baroness, who has now taken the idea and adopted it as a national card for the Mental Capacity Act Forum.
Baroness Finlay said:-
“The work in Shropshire to promote the Mental Capacity Act across all sectors is very impressive.
“The hand print is accessible, helps people understand the principles of the Act and demystifies the legislation – this brilliant way of getting the message over needs to be rolled out nationally. It will help frontline staff in all sectors that interact with the public to understand how to support people to make good decisions and recognise what to do when a person lacks the capacity to make that particular decision at that time, whether small decision or major decisions.”
The project came about following a training session for people with learning disabilities.
The group wanted an insight into the Mental Capacity Act training and information on what is provided to professionals and others who work alongside people with care and support needs. They wished to be involved in developing the information in an easier format.
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult services, said:-
“Baroness Finlay’s endorsement is a real accolade for us and a fantastic testament to the great work of those who have come together to produce the Mental Capacity Act easy read card.
“Mental Capacity training is essential to the role of those supporting and volunteering within health and social care who may at some point be supporting individuals who lack capacity in a specific area of their lives. This easy to read handout, co-produced by people who use the service, is a great resource for those undertaking MCA training as well as for those who may be affected by mental capacity.”
Mary Johnson from Shropshire’s Joint Training Team commented:-
“It was important for those people who may use our services to be provided with the opportunity to learn the same knowledge as staff who support them. This resulted in developing a specific training course for individuals which subsequently led to the development and production of the easy read hand card.”
Members from Taking Part also commented, saying:-
“The opportunity to train gives us the right to be properly involved, make sure nothing about us without us.
“We were really pleased that Baroness Finlay was so impressed that she has asked if the logo can be used across the country. The hand logo will now become the symbol everywhere for MCA. She liked it so much that she has asked us if it can become the national logo for MCA.
“Staff had a card to remember, we wanted a card to remember.”
For more information on the hand card and also training on Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards card email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the Mental Capacity Act visit https://shropshire.gov.uk/disability-information/mental-capacity-act/