The Independent Review of the Mental Health Act

This webpage explains how the review of the Mental Health Act is being developed into a white paper that can be used by parliament to develop new legislation. It contains links to useful resources about the Mental Health Act review and how it affects social work and Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) services.

The Independent Review of the Mental Health Act was published in December 2018.

The review looked at:

  • rising rates of detention under the Act
  • the disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic groups detained under the Act
  • processes that are out of step with a modern mental health care system.

The final report sets out recommendations covering four principles that the review believes should underpin the reformed Act, including:

  • choice and autonomy – ensuring that service users’ views and choices are respected
  • least restriction – ensuring that the Act’s powers are used in the least restrictive way
  • therapeutic benefit – ensuring that patients are supported to get better, so that they can be discharged from the Act
  • people as individuals – ensuring that patients are viewed and treated as rounded individuals.

It contains information and recommendations that are important for mental health social workers and AMHPs. You can also read and keep up-to-date with the Mental Health Act Review’s sub-groups here.

I went to numerous professional gatherings of … AMHPs. I experienced their enthusiasm for their role, which convinced me that we should not touch the critical balance between the social and medical perspectives.

 

Sir Simon Wessley, Chair of the Independent Mental Health Act Review 2018

Social workers and a new Mental Health Act

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Work and the British Association of Social Workers developed this report to look at the role that social workers play in upholding the principles of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act and how that role could be enhanced in new legislation. 

This report is primarily for ministers and their teams at the Department of Health and Social Care but might also be interesting to social work leaders and people that work in Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), NHS Trusts and local authorities. 

Get involved

Currently, the main focus of the Mental Health Act team at the Department of Health and Social Care is to prepare and write the white paper that is needed as a first stage of the parliamentary process for new legislation.

The team regularly needs support from AMHPs and mental health social workers to ensure that all decisions are well-informed and evidence-based. We will post opportunities to get involved on this webpage as they become available.