Scottish mental health law review: our response

A response to the independent review of mental health, capacity and adult support and protection legislation, chaired by Lord John Scott KC.

What is our proposed approach?

We envision the development of a Reform Programme based on the following principles:

  • A staged approach to law reform
  • Whole system change approach.
  • As far as possible, early action to address urgent issues.
  • Co-ordinated across government and strong partnership working to address complex areas of change and reform.
  • Lived experience voice and participation.
  • Focusing resources on delivery and service transformation
  • Enabling the workforce to embed and drive change.
  • Focused on implementation and sustainable delivery.
  • Monitoring our impact and capturing learning

Our approach will be to take forward a staged programme of legislative reform. Following the structure of the Review, the timescales for workstreams will be separated into short-, medium- and longer-term activity to support implementation over the next decade. We will work closely across adult support and protection, mental health, and adults with incapacity policy to ensure coherent reform across the legislative framework in response to the SMHLR.

At present there is insufficient information to fully assess the resource implications required to deliver on the ambitions set out in the SMHLR and to fully progress our early priorities. Our approach will therefore be managed, coherent and incremental and will support our developing understanding of how to deliver improvements over time. We will do this through establishing associated workstreams to improve policy, guidance, and best practice across the programme. Assessing the resource implications will be central to this.

We will work to meaningfully bring together those with lived experience of the system with those who lead, deliver, and oversee services along with legal experts, academics, and wider community organisations in pursuit of the transformations rights-holders want to see. To support effective progress and delivery we will focus on a number of core building blocks for change and reform that will underpin our work and support successful implementation.

The Building Blocks for Change are:

  • Human Rights culture
  • Transforming services
  • Skilled and supported workforce
  • World leading legislation
  • Participation and co-design
  • Sustainable investment
  • Governance and leadership

This approach and more detailed implementation plans will be developed over the coming months, in line with our identified priorities for inclusion within the programme.

What are our identified priorities?

There is clear stakeholder support for an approach that focuses on the most urgent priorities first. Our intention is to introduce progressive reform over time, in line with available resource and the capacity of mental health and care services to deliver safely and successfully.



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