Welcome to Empowerment Matters Newsletter for July 2020
Court of Protection Guidance
Following the last newsletter I hope this one finds everyone well and navigating their way within the changes that have affected all of us. This newsletter brings some updates and information within the world of mental capacity.
First being is that I was recently asked to contribute to some guidance on the Court of Protection that had originally been developed by Victoria Butler Cole QC and alongside Alex Ruck Keene, the Official Solicitor Sarah Castle and Victoria we worked on an update. The Guide can be accessed here: https://courtofprotectionhandbook.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/a-basic-guide-to-the-court-of-protection-july-2020-3.pdf
Also within this is a document I produced which if you're attending a welfare hearing or supporting someone to attend one, this brief information guide on attending the court (virtually or directly) may be useful and can be accessed here: https://courtofprotectionhandbook.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/youre-going-to-a-welfare-hearing-at-the-court-of-protection-july-2020.pdf
Hopefully the above can be an added tool to use or signpost for those who are progressing towards a decision being taken in the Court of Protection.
Advocacy stories book
I want to thank everyone that has been in touch since I published my book, for all the encouraging words, feedback, response to the stories written about and for making a purchase. It has been really appreciated. For me this book was always intended to ensure that those I've been an advocate for, in what would be come their last days, that their story and that of their families as well as of the systems at play were heard. Advocacy for me is always about ensuring a persons's story is heard and told.
I wanted to therefore share some of the feedback I've received, including some words from Jean Simpson, mother of Jodie Simpson who I talk about in the book: 'Your humanity didn't just shine through, it exploded from the pages, I seriously hope NHS professionals take the time to read this. You did an excellent job of highlighting the fact the priority was always clinical, this in itself is enough to promote the need for all these patients to have a truly independent advocate from the beginning. I find it humbling but so satisfying that Jodie was included in your stories as I also view this as yet another type of justice for her. You kept your promise that Jodie and others will never be forgotten'.
From an advocacy colleague: 'It captured so beautifully the need for independent support and representation, the level of MCA understanding of health professionals, the frustrations when meetings dismiss so carelessly critical views of the person, the perseverance and sheer doggedness that you had in not giving up. I was really moved too, by how the system is so brutal to families'.
From social worker Jack Skinner who took the time to complete this review:
A review by Alex Ruck Keene: https://www.mentalcapacitylawandpolicy.org.uk/book-review-life-death-and-the-journeys-in-between/
And I was delighted to be asked to join into to Alex's 'shedinar' series to talk about advocacy, and what it means, here is 'the IMCA conversation' https://www.mentalcapacitylawandpolicy.org.uk/the-shedinar-series-the-imca-conversation/
Thank you to everyone who took a moment to share their views and feedback.
The book can be purchased here
Kate Mercer who runs the National Advocacy Conference has announced on social media that she will be running a virtual 5 day event week of 26th October 2020 that will be a mix of talks and interactive sessions. This will replace the original scheduled National Conference that cannot happen in the way originally planned due to Covid restrictions. Further information will come via her social media account and website and, where able, I will share that here too.
Court of Protection Practitioners Association (CoPPA)
Some of you will be aware of CoPPA in being existing members or have attended a CoPPA seminar or our national conference. For those that are not familiar, CoPPA came into existence in Manchester in 2012, started by the current treasurer Kate Edwards who is a property and affairs solicitor / deputy in the Court of Protection field. CoPPA was formed to bring together a range of disciplinary and sectors that all work in the area of mental health and capacity to share resources, take a collective view towards national policy and hold seminars and conferences across England and Wales. There are now regions across the country where seminars take place and each region has their own committee that leads on the organising and arranging these as well as networking events (that will one day come back I'm sure).
Membership is comprised of solicitors, barristers, IMCAs, social workers, psychiatrists, mental capacity assessors and others that work in this area be it academically or in day to day practice. Three years ago I became chair of National CoPPA having been Vice Chair prior to that and an officer on the committee since its inception in 2012. I have now reached the end of my Chair duration as specified in our constitution (from October when we will likely be holding our virtual AGM and I hand over the reigns). I want to wish the very best to my colleagues.
Which brings me to the reason for mentioning this, national CoPPA are looking for those interested in joining the Executive Committee and I do hope that we get to reach more advocates who are practicing on the ground and working with P each day because it is Ps voice, in its various forms that is at the heart of all CoPPAs work. Whilst the Executive Committee has always maintained its roots in the North West, specifically Manchester where we hold our meetings, Covid has taught us we can do this remotely and so there is no restriction on where in the country you are in terms of the potential to serve on the committee.
CoPPA website https://www.coppagroup.org
If you are interested in becoming a member of the committee or want to know a bit more about CoPPA, you can access the website above or respond to this newsletter and I will direct it to the most suitable colleague to answer if I cannot do this myself.
Take care all and be safe