THE Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000: LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE
APPENDIX 4 FORWARD RESEARCH STRATEGY
One of the tasks of the consultancy was to devise suggestions for future research. On the basis of the findings from the implementation, monitoring and research elements, the following five areas are suggested as a focus for further research.
Longitudinal research of implementation of Part 6.
Longitudinal research in relation to people for whom an action under part 6 was considered could be pursued. This would facilitate the identification of:
longer term outcomes;
changes in practice over time;
the ways in which legislation may be used for people with different causes of incapacity; and for different age groups (including those approaching 16);
the ways in which the legislation may be used for people from different equalities groups, including people from black and minority ethnic groups.
Implementation of Parts 2 and 3: the role of proxies
The research element of the consultancy was unable to explore in depth the impacts of Parts 2 and 3 for granters, adults and proxies. Further research could be undertaken focusing on the outcomes for each of these groups.
In addition research could be undertaken into the roles of proxies, particularly attorneys, who were not included within the consultancy research. This would allow, for example, comparison of the roles, responsibilities and accountability of welfare attorneys with welfare guardians.
Interface between AWI and other welfare and financial legislation
The consultancy revealed complex interface issues within AWI and between AWI and mental health and financial legislation. In the light of the new Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 due for implementation in 2005, further research could be undertaken which would systematically map points of interface, areas of conflict or tension, and the ways in which professionals negotiate their ways through the complexities of using the different legislation.
Quantitative analysis of process issues
Neither the monitoring data, nor the research undertaken within the limits of the consultancy were able to capture detailed elements of process, including numbers of interim orders, appeals, non-intimations, and variations in orders. Nor was it possible to indicate the timescales between stages. Research focusing on court records could be undertaken to provide, for a sample of cases, a more detailed quantitative picture of the process of applying for an order under Part 6, the time involved and areas where delays can occur.
More detailed evidence is also required on the numbers of applications for Advice and Assistance and civil legal aid by type of action under the AWI, and the outcomes, timescales and amounts involved. This could involve the analysis of Scottish Legal Aid Board records.
Although it would extremely difficult to undertake, it would be useful to explore some aspects of the financial impacts of the legislation. For instance, some cost/benefit analyses could be undertaken of the process and outcomes of actions under Parts 2, 3 and 6, as they impact upon the adult, their nearest relative or primary carer, proxies, statutory authorities and the courts. This could include the costs of pursuing alternatives to an application under Part 6 of the legislation.