There have been a number of distressing newspaper reports in recent weeks about cases of unacceptable failures in care. This has raised concerns about the law protecting the rights of people who 'lack capacity', many of whom are autistic.

We wrote to the Sunday Times (29.10.18) to welcome calls for families of vulnerable people to have more say in decisions about the care of their loved ones - and to highlight our concerns with the Government’s proposals in its Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, which is going through Parliament now. You can read our letter below.

This is an incredibly important issue which could have real implications for the care of autistic people. Yet this proposed legislation has so far not gained the attention it needs – so we were glad to get this opportunity to raise it. 

The stories in our 2017 report (Transforming Care: our stories) show what can go wrong when vulnerable people don’t get the care they need – and when families voices aren’t heard. Read their stories and download the report here.

Read our stories


Letter published in the Sunday Times, from Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs, National Autistic Society


Jane Harris headshot photoDear editor,

Dominic Lawson’s call for families of vulnerable people to have more say in decisions about their care is welcome (“Parents of vulnerable adults deserve a voice”, Comment, last week). Families have a unique insight into their loved ones’ needs. Ignoring this can have devastating consequences.

The government’s Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill contains proposals to give more power to care home managers in decisions about living arrangements for people who “lack capacity”. As a provider of residential care, we believe that decisions of this importance must be made by people who are independent of providers — including those providers, such as us, that are charities.

As well as having a duty of care to individuals, care home managers have financial responsibilities that risk a conflict of interest. The proposals are a backward step. We urge the government to think again.


The letter was also published on the newspaper's website (note, this is behind a paywall).