Aims and Objectives: This module provides the knowledge and opportunities for skills development which are required for practising in the formal role of a Best Interests Assessor (BIA). The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a statutory framework to guide decision making on behalf of those who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. However, until the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) regulations were added there had not been a clear legal basis for authorising the deprivation of liberty of individuals who lack capacity and may be detained by public authorities in care homes or hospitals.
These regulations enable deprivation of liberty in care settings to be lawful within the parameters of the Human rights Act and other legislation. The regulations and procedures provide for a number of checks and safeguards to ensure that deprivation of liberty is avoided where possible and is regulated and lawful where it is absolutely necessary.
Where a person lacking capacity may be deprived of liberty whilst in the care of a public authority a set of six assessments will need to take place. One of these assessments is a Best Interests assessment. The role of a Best Interests Assessor within this process is very specific and involves firstly to decide whether or not a deprivation of liberty is occurring or is likely to occur and then to decide whether any deprivation which does exist it is in the best interests of the person concerned and should be authorised. The BIA has other roles in terms of recommendations relating to conditions which should be attached to any authorisation of a deprivation and to the recommendation of representatives.
The module with provide participants with a full and detailed knowledge of the DOLS regulation and the competencies required to act as a BIA.
Learning Outcomes LO1: Demonstrate the critical ability to keep appropriate records and to provide clear and reasoned report in accordance with legal requirements and good practice.
LO2: Demonstrate the professional knowledge and skills necessary to obtain, evaluate and analyse complex evidence and differing views and to weigh them appropriately in decision making.
LO3: Demonstrate the ability to make informed, independent best interest decisions within the context of a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) assessment.
LO4: Critically apply knowledge of relevant legislation and codes of practice (including the Mental Health and Mental Capacity acts and the DOLS regulations).
Teaching and Learning Strategy: This module will be delivered via a blended learning strategy, with two days of university attendance at the campus and three days online.
Class-based sessions will be supplemented by directed learning to enable practitioners in furthering their knowledge and understanding of the Mental Capacity Act and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and their application. Participants will be directed to selected reading and on-line evidence-based resources made available via Blackboard.
In addition, participants will learn via observation whilst shadowing a practising BIA.
Course specific additional information: Participants will also learn via observation whilst shadowing a practising BIA.
Module Structure: Students should refer to their Blackboard site to access the most up to date version of their timetable. Indicative timetables may have been provided prior to the courses start date.
ASSESSMENT STRATEGY FOR PLANNED MODULES
Assessment 1: Multiple Choice Test
Type of Assessment: An in class multi choice test which will assess knowledge of relevant legislation and policy. It is planned that results from the test will be available immediately after completion.
Day of In Class Test Assessment: Tuesday 15th November
Weighting of Assessment: 25%
Learning Outcomes Assessed: LO3
Resit Date: TBC if required
Assessment 2: Written Assignment
Type of Assessment: The submission of a written portfolio which will include a case study and some critical reflections on practice. The portfolio will provide the means for students to demonstrate the ability to evaluate and analyse complex evidence, to write clear and well-reasoned reports and to demonstrate safe and competent decision making.
Word Count: 4000 words total. This is made up of a 2500 word case study and 1500 word reflective piece. In addition you will be expected to complete a standard form 3, which is used by BIAs in practice, and add this as an appendix to your case study.
Hand-in Date for Assessment: Friday 2nd December
Weighting of Assessment: Case Study – 45%
Critical Reflections – 30%
Learning Outcomes Assessed: LO1
Return of work and confirmation of marks You should receive marks and feedback by Friday 23rd December.
Marks will be confirmed at an exam board in January 2024 and, if you have met the requirements, we will then write to you within a few days to confirm your permission to practice as a BIA
Resit Date: TBC if required
MODULE SCHEDULE / DATES
Tuesday 11th October Initial enrolment should have taken place prior to the course start.
We begin with a detailed guide to the university library and learning resources and assistance in finding your way around the Blackboard site.
Once we begin the teaching we will provide an overview of the programme, the handbook, the learning outcomes, and the course content; and discuss assessment and shadowing requirements.
The remainder of the day will be spent looking at the Mental Capacity Act, the central piece of legislation underpinning best interest decision making. This will be something of a refresher for many people, but it is important to analyse the major principles of the Act and examine the code of practice in order to see how the DOLS follow from and fit with the main MCA.
We will then begin to look at Best Interests Decision making and how this fits in to the wider process of assessment and decision making which goes on in relation of deprivation of liberty safeguards.
Tuesday 18th October We will analyse the roles and responsibilities of all of those who are required to be involved in the dols process and the specific procedures which they need to undertake. this will include bias, mental health assessors, managing authorities, supervisory bodies, advocates, and the court of protection.
We will then look at the whole set of safeguards which have been introduced with the new dols regulations and how Best Interests Assessments fit into this pattern of safeguards.
We will begin to look at some of the relevant case law and what lessons and themes can be drawn from such cases.
Tuesday 25th October Days three and four offer legal perspectives and a look at some scenarios and case studies relating specifically to the roles and workplaces of the candidates on the course.
The order of sessions is subject to change depending on the availability of tutors and outside speakers.
We look at record keeping and report writing. To facilitate this process, we will use the standard forms which have been issued by the Department of Health and also guidance which different authorities have given to their assessors to assist with this process.
This will also enable candidates to begin to demonstrate the essential competence of “keeping appropriate records and providing clear and reasoned reports”.
We aim to have input from Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs), who perform a key role in relation to DOLS and the MCA, and also representatives of the local ‘supervisory bodies’. This is usually a person who acts as MCA/DOLS lead.
Tuesday 1st November We will revisit and develop analysis of best interest’s decision making which is at the heart of both the MCA and DOLS. We will compare different methods of decision making on behalf of those who are unable to make their own decisions, and assess and contrast how substituted judgement, advance decisions, and best interest’s methods are used within the UK legal system and elsewhere.
We will also address on this day the interface between mental capacity and mental health legislation. We will consider those parts of the amended Mental Health Act which are relevant and are necessary to know for the purposes of best Interest assessments. This will lead onto a comparison of the Mental Health and Mental Capacity Acts and advice regarding how to choose which act is appropriate in particular circumstances. Case studies and codes of practice will be used to help make sense of this interface.
Tuesday 15th November The morning of this day will be taken up with a multi choice test to assess candidate’s knowledge of the relevant law. The final session will offer a further opportunity to discuss the requirements of the portfolio, consider relevant case law in more depth and involve an overview of the revisions to the Mental Capacity Act which have introduced the Liberty Protection Safeguards. Likely requirements for conversion from the BIA role to that of AMCP will be discussed. Throughout the course we will attempt to link the legislation and principles to practice by means of case studies, scenarios and discussion of examples from candidates own practice settings.
We recognise that individuals have a range of learning styles and where possible we will endeavour to adopt a range of different methods to facilitate learning for different individuals.
Referencing: Students must use the University Harvard Citing and Referencing Guide for all references. Failure to use this referencing system as outlined may result in the mark awarded being reduced.
Further Assessment and Circumstances Guidance: For further details about assessments, including; submission guidance; late submission; word count guidance; resubmissions; plagiarism; confidentiality; extensions and extenuating circumstances; students should refer to the PDC Assessment Guidance document (see assessments) reading it in conjunction with this handbook, as well as familiarising themselves with the University Regulations
Tutorial Videos for using Turnitin to submit assignments are available via Blackboard.
Marking Criteria: Students should refer to the separate guidance which will be discussed in class and placed on the Blackboard site
Confidentiality statement It is essential that all students are aware that every attempt must be made to anonymise any information which may relate to any people and/or specific locations in assessed work. An assignment, including appendices, should not identify clients, staff member(s) or specific locations. If documents, letters or other material are included in an assignment, all names should be erased, covered up or made illegible.
If a student does disclose the identity of a client, staff member or specific location, the failure to preserve anonymity constitutes a disclosure of confidential information and must be treated formally and in line with the University of Lincoln Data Protection Policy.
Any student who persistently fails to remove identifying references to people and/or places will be reported to the Head of School, who may request an interview with the student. The student may be awarded 0% for further failures to remove identifying references and may also face Fitness to Practice charges, which could result in their removal from the programme.
Marking and Feedback The Programme team will aim to provide students with feedback and a provisional grade within 15 working days of the date of submission. However, this may not always be possible during particularly busy periods. The team will therefore advise students in the case of any delays. Students are advised that marks and grades given prior to the Board of Examiner’s meeting are provisional and may be subject to change.
The rules and regulations of the University of Lincoln apply to all students on a Programme/Short Course with the Professional Development Centre. A copy of the rules and regulations can be found on the University of Lincoln Portal.
Specific variations to the regulations are required for this Programme due to the additional professional requirements of the external validating bodies. Variations are detailed in the Programme Specification and logged on the Approved Variations to the Regulations document, also accessible via the University of Lincoln Portal: http://secretariat.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/
Indicative Reading: The following are required reading and can be purchased or borrowed from the University library.
Brown R and Barber P (2015) The Mental Capacity Act 2005 A guide for practice. 3rd edn Learning Matters
Rogers,J., Bright, L., and Davies. (2015) Social Work With Adults SAGE Learning Matters
The following documents are also required reading:
Mental Capacity Amendment Bill 2019: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2019/18/enacted/data.htm
Department for Constitutional Affairs (2008) Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice The Stationery Office London
Ministry of Justice (2008) Mental Capacity Act 2005 Deprivation of liberty safeguards Code of Practice to supplement the main
Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice The Stationery Office London
Department of Health (2015) Code of Practice Mental Health Act 1983
The Stationery Office London
The Law Society (2015) Identifying a Deprivation of Liberty. A practical guide.
Inclusivity and Diversity: The teaching, learning and assessment methods utilised on this module will be delivered in an engaging and inclusive manner; respecting and valuing the diversity of each individual student undertaking their learning at the University of Lincoln. Appropriate guidance and support will be available to all students, including the assessment of needs and provision of specific learning support to any student who requires it through the Student Wellbeing Centre.
University attendance We expect students to aim for 100% attendance as all taught sessions are critical to the course. We do though understand that students fall ill and have emergency situations occur. Please contact the administrator if you are unable to attend a session preferably by 9am on the day. Your employer will be made aware of your absence, as most students attend in work time and are funded, and you should comply with your organisation’s absence recording policy to record this absence from working hours.
Taught days are between 0930 and 16.00hrs, but individual sessions might vary. See your timetable for confirmation.
Email Address: All staff have University e-mail addresses. You are encouraged to use the e-mail system to establish and maintain contact with staff and other students. It is possible to access your University of Lincoln email from home or other locations. You must only use this address for correspondence, as personal e-mail addresses are not recognised by the University.
Change of address: Students are required to inform the University of any changes to their home or work address. This can be done via the Portal, accessed from the University of Lincoln website, Staff and Student Gateway. Click on ‘My Details’ and complete the changes necessary.
Student Services: Student Services have a dedicated team of staff who are there to provide you with general information, advice, support and help about the services available in the University. Student Services are usually open from 8.30am to 5pm (open 9.30am Wednesdays and close 4.30pm on Fridays). They can be contacted at:
Student Charter: A Student Charter has been produced through a partnership between the University and the Students’ Union which encapsulates what staff and students expect from each other with regards to equity and ethics; academic activities; assessment and feedback; learning and personal support; student participation and representation; concerns, queries and complaints, fees and charges.
Please see here:
Student Wellbeing: The Student Wellbeing team is based on the first floor of the Marina Building, Brayford Pool, Lincoln LN6 7TS. If you have a disability or learning difficulty or suspect that you have one, or you have a medical condition that might impact upon your academic studies, the Student Wellbeing team can provide you with a range of specialist support services. Please note: To qualify for support free of charge, students must have resided in the UK for at least 3 years prior to starting their course at the University of Lincoln.
Advice Services The Advice Service exists to provide independent, impartial, non-judgemental, confidential and free information, advice and practical help to students. The members of the team are all professionals and members of a range of relevant external organisations.
Health & Safety The University operates a health and safety policy that must be adhered to by all staff, students and visitors to the university. Some important sections are reproduced below. The full document can be seen on the Health and Safety Portal page.
All individuals have a responsibility for their own and others safety. They must:
a)ensure that neither their actions, nor their omissions, put themselves or others at risk;
b)at all times work in a safe and correct manner;
c)at all times comply with statutory and other safety regulations, codes of practice and instructions;
d)report all defective equipment, unsafe conditions or actions without delay;
e) At all times co-operate with responsible staff and safety representatives on all health and safety matters.
Equality and Diversity The University has a commitment to foster a culture and environment where individual difference is appreciated and respected, ensuring equitable and fair treatment for all. Further information can be obtained on the University of Lincoln website where you read our respect charter:
Electronic Resources There are a number of electronic resources available to you to help you in your studies. Most of these are accessible both on and off campus so, as long as you can access a computer, you can carry on your independent learning wherever you are at a time that is convenient for you.
Virtual Learning Environment
Blackboard is the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. It is a learning system on the internet that allows you to access information about your course and University services. It also offers a way to communicate online. Each student will be given their own Blackboard account which gives them access to the areas they are studying.
A tour of the library and a demonstration of Blackboard and other electronic resources will be provided to enable you to make the most of these valuable resources.
At the end of your Programme, following ratification at the Board of Examiners, your assessment results can be accessed via Blackboard. It is important that you check the system regularly after your programme teaching has finished, so that you receive any updates or vital information from the course team. Certificates are issued by Academic Registry and sent by post, but this can be some weeks or months after course completion. Please ensure you keep your home address and other contact details up to date, even after you have completed the course, for this reason.
In the event of problems or issues with Blackboard, please contact the support team:
The University Library The award-winning Great Central Warehouse Library is located at the main Brayford Pool campus. The library provides: computing and Language facilities, library resources, maths and statistics advice and media services in a fully integrated learning environment.
The library team will be pleased to help you with literature searching, academic writing and Harvard referencing and addressing any questions that you may have. The facilities within the library and resources will be discussed with you at the beginning of your Programme.
Appendix 1 e-Submission and Assignment Cover Sheet
University of Lincoln
School of Health and Social Care
E-Submission and Assignment Cover Sheet
One sheet to be completed by each student for each assignment submitted
Insert/attach this front sheet securely to the front of your work
Please commence typing your assignment on the following page.
To be completed by the student:
Student Name: Student ID Number:
Programme of Study:
Supervisor (if relevant):
If submitting electronically (e.g. via Blackboard) by clicking on the ‘Submit’ button, you are confirming that you are aware of the University of Lincoln’s policy regarding cheating and all other forms of academic impropriety. Please be advised that in case of doubt an investigation will be held.
Please read and review the current Academic Regulations and specifically the student information relating to assessment.
Those parts of your assignment that rely directly or indirectly o the work of another should always be acknowledged by a correctly formatted reference in the text and in the reference list.
I have read and understood the guidelines regarding unfair means to enhance performance within the University of Lincoln’s Assessment Handbook and the principles of confidentiality as outlined in the School of Health and Social Care Student Handbook and have complied with these.
I confirm that the assignment I have submitted is my own work and the source(s) of any information or material I have used (including the Internet) are properly acknowledged in line with academic regulations, School Student Handbook guidelines and recommended referencing conventions. I also confirm that details of individuals and or organisations have been anonymised and I have not breached confidentiality in accordance with these guidelines.
If you are submitting via Blackboard, or other electronic means, the insertion of your name below will be accepted as a signature.
Date Submitted: Signature of Student:
The assessment strategy for the planned modules includes an in-class multiple choice test on Tuesday 15th November that will assess knowledge of relevant legislation and policy, with results available immediately after completion. This assessment will be worth 25% of the overall grade and will assess Learning Outcomes 3 and 4. The resit date for this assessment is TBC. The second assessment is a written assignment that includes a case study and reflective piece, with a total word count of 4000 words. The submission date for this assessment is Friday 2nd December and it will be worth 45% for the case study and 30% for the reflective piece. This assessment will assess Learning Outcomes 1, 2, and 3. The marks for this assessment will be confirmed at an exam board in January 2024. The resit date for this assessment is TBC. The module schedule includes an overview of the program, handbook, and content on the first day, followed by a detailed analysis of the Mental Capacity Act, Best Interests Decision making, and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards on subsequent days. There will also be input from Independent Mental Capacity Advocates and representatives from local supervisory bodies.