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Question

109. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the details of all provisions of the Assisted Decision Making Capacity Act 2015 which still require a commencement order; if a timeline has been established for these commencement orders; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14406/17]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 provides a modern statutory framework to support decision-making by adults with capacity difficulties and it is being commenced on a phased basis.
A number of provisions of the Act were commenced in October 2016 in order to progress the setting up of the Decision Support Service. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) Order 2016 (S.I. No. 515 of 2016), brought Part 1 (Preliminary and General) and Part 9 (Director of the Decision Support Service) of the Act, other than sections 3, 4 and 7 in Part 1 and sections 96 and 102 and Chapter 3 in Part 9, into operation on 17 October 2016. These provisions were brought into operation in order to enable the process of recruitment of the Director of the Decision Support Service (DSS) to begin. The recruitment and appointment of the Director of the DSS, and the appointment of DSS staff, is a matter for the Mental Health Commission (a body under the Department of Health) with the approval of the Minister for Health. My Department does not have any statutory function in relation to the recruitment and appointment of the Director.
The commencement of Part 8 of the Act, which provides a legislative framework for advance healthcare directives, is a matter for the Minister for Health. The Minister for Health, under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) (No. 2) Order 2016 (S.I. No. 517 of 2016), brought some provisions of Part 8 of the Act into operation on 17 October 2016 . The provisions commenced in Part 8 were the definition of “Minister” in section 82; the definitions of “code of practice” and “working group” in section 91(1); and section 91(2). The commenced provisions provide for the establishment by the Minister for Health of a multi-disciplinary group to advise in relation to codes of practice on advance healthcare directives. The multi-disciplinary group has been set up and work is ongoing on the code of practice on advance healthcare directives.
New administrative processes and support measures, including the setting up of the Decision Support Service within the Mental Health Commission, must be put in place before the substantive provisions of the Act can be commenced. A high-level Steering Group comprised of senior officials from my Department, the Department of Health and the Mental Health Commission is overseeing the establishment and commissioning of the Decision Support Service and this work is ongoing. It is intended that significant progress will be made in 2017 on the implementation of the new decision-making support options provided for in the Act. The remainder of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 will be commenced on a phased basis as these new decision-making support options are being rolled out by the Decision Support Service.