Resource for families to ensure they are involved in best interest decisions


We have posted a number of times recently about the Mental Capacity Act (2005) and issues relating to the knowledge of professionals about its operation. We would like to draw your attention to a new resource which is designed to help families involved in best interest decisions, to ensure they are involved. The resource has been developed by Ambitious about Autism, Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation along with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors.

The need for the tool arose from concerns that some professionals were failing to consult with families, as required under the Act.

Mencap for example, in its report ‘Death by Indifference: 74 deaths and counting’ found many examples of health professionals failing to abide by the Act and ignoring crucial advice from families.

The resource is designed to support parents who have concerns about their potential lack of involvement in best interest decisions. It consists of two template letters.

Template letter one is for when family members are concerned that they may not be involved in best interests decisions and sets out the clear legal requirement to involve them.

Template letter 2 is for when decisions have already been taken without the involvement of family members..
Both letters can be individualised  appropriately.

You can download the leaflet at

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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