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Mental Capacity Act in a nutshell: the theory, with Eleanor Tallon, Qualified Best Interest Assessor

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Notes to Episode

The ramifications of the Mental Capacity Act can be tricky to navigate, so we are lucky to be joined by an expert guide in Eleanor Tallon. In this first of two episodes she explains the background to Act and the principles that govern its application. Eleanor takes us through the concept of Best Interest, how to deal with family members when supporting decisions, the importance of record-keeping, safeguarding, cultural awareness and much more besides.


Mental Capacity Act, best interest, assessment, DoLS, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, vulnerable, empowerment, supported decision-making, Court of Protection, principles, assume capacity, mental impairment, communication, consent, wishes, feelings, record-keeping, recording information, unwise decision, risk, safeguarding, weigh up, manage risk, mitigating, significant harm, balance sheet, least restrictive option, medication, culture, assumptions, human rights, Open Justice Project, case law, evidence, positive risk-taking

2:05 Natural reaction to the Mental Capacity Act is confusion and interest

3:35 Eleanor’s route in to Best Interest Assessment

5:00 Background of the MC Act

6:08 How Best Interest fits in

8:30 Dealing with family members when supporting decisions

11:50 At what age does the Mental Capacity Act apply?

12:07 Are there exceptions?

14:08 Principle 4: best interests

15:50 Importance of record-keeping

17:50 Safeguarding and unwise decisions

27:45 Principle 5: least restrictive

31:40 Cultural awareness

40:00 Three top tips


5:35 “Part of the Act isn’t just about protecting people who can’t make decisions, but also about promoting the empowerment of people who may have a mental impairment but can actually make their decisions.”

7:30 “The focus should be on supported decision-making.”

11:40 “Capacity very much has to be seen on an individual basis.”

14:43 “You should never presume incapacity.”

17:14 “In capacity, having a record is absolutely essential and is a requirement of the law.”

Guest: Eleanor Tallon, Qualified Best Interest Assessor

Presenter: Dr Shabnam Berry-Khan, Director of PsychWorks Associates

Editor: Emily Crosby Media