The Department of Health has published the new statutory guidance on the Care Act 2014. I had a number of concerns about the draft safeguarding guidance (I think the phrase “recipe for human rights violations” was the description I gave it at the time), so I quickly raced through to look at the new and revised guidance. I appreciate that the Department had around 4000 responses to the consultation, and only a few months to consider and digest them all, but I can’t help but feel they should have waited longer and got it right. There are some absolutely howlers in here.
I could moan on about the ungrammatical sentences that have crept in, the incorrect table of contents, the shoddy referencing* (if somebody could tell me what Bury Council’s homepage has to do with the Court of Protection – see paragraph 7.26 and footnote 124 on page 119 – I’d be interested to know), the lack of clear guidance on the limits of what can be done in the name of ‘best interests’ without seeking court authority, but it’s this sentence from page 135 of the safeguarding chapter that really stood out:
14.22. Financial abuse is the main form of abuse by the Office of the Public Guardian both amongst adults and children at risk
Just. I mean. I’ve got no words. This is simply incredible. Surely they can’t leave it like this?!
[Update (five minutes later) – looks like the DH are on the case…]
*Actually, I will have a little moan about referencing. It’s really bad practice to use URLs instead of proper references. Very important documents like No Secrets and the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice are referenced simply by name and URL or even just by URL. Yet if those URLs cease to work, how will people know what document is being referred to? And why should you have to follow a URL to know that the source being referred to is, for example, the MCA Code? It’s much better to include the author, year of publication and full title, to ensure that people a) know what you’re referring to without having to look it up, and b) when the government or whoever hosts the link (inevitably) shuffles their URLs around in years to come, it can still be located.
Department of Health and Home Office (2000) No Secrets: Guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse, London.
Lord Chancellor’s Office (2007) Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice, TSO: London.