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Rise in guardianship orders 28/09/2018 New figures published by the Mental Welfare Commission show a continued rise in the use of guardianship orders in Scotland.

Rise in guardianship orders

New figures published by the Mental Welfare Commission show a continued rise in the use of guardianship orders, used to safeguard those who lack the capacity to make their own decisions, in Scotland.

The Commission monitors the use of welfare provisions of the Adults with Incapacity Act, and publishes reports on this data. This new report includes information on the use of welfare guardianships across all of Scotland's local authorities. The findings include:

  • The number of existing guardianship orders (13,501) has risen again, and is up by 12% since 2016-17 (12,082).
  • The number of new welfare guardianship applications granted also continues to rise. In 2017-18 there were 3,084 applications granted across Scotland, a 5% rise since 2016-17. This represents a 149% increase in the ten years since 2008-09.
  • Private applications represented 74% of all applications. The total number of private applications is up 4% this year, and up 165% in the ten years since 2008-09.
  • Local authority applications are up 10% to 792, and account for 26% of total applications.
  • A fifth (21%, 636) of welfare guardianship applications granted this year are for people in the 16-24 age group with a learning disability.
  • Although the number of indefinite guardianship orders has decreased, there are 4,990 indefinite orders as of 31st March 2018. That represents 37% of total active guardianships (13,501).

"The continued steep rise in guardianship applications is concerning,” said Mike Diamond, Executive Director (Social Work) at the Mental Welfare Commission. “Most relatives find guardianship helpful, but it is a complex legal process and takes up a considerable amount of time for care professionals, particularly mental health officers. Sometimes it is required to allow people to access Self-Directed Support, which gives greater control over their own care to people who receive services.”

"We believe the law needs to be modernised and streamlined to ensure care can be provided when it is needed, and to better protect the rights of people with dementia and learning disabilities,” he added. “We welcome the commitment of the Scottish Government to reforming the Adults with Incapacity Act, and look forward to working with them on this in the coming year."

The full report can be found here.


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