Week 7 of #107days Take Two is given over to the #LBBill. Today’s post, on the eve of the launch of the second draft of the LB Bill, is a guest post from Mark Neary, the initial instigator of the Bill:
It feels a long time since that Twitter conversation about turning current practice on its head and bringing in laws that make it much more difficult for the State to wrench people from their homes & leave them languishing in assessment and treatment units.
Since that conversation last summer, the situation of the people at the heart of #LBBill hasn’t improved one iota. More deaths. More people being taken from their homes and moved 100s of miles away. More court judgements exposing the questionable actions of authorities over their use of the Mental Capacity Act. Only today, Josh Wills’ family posted the news that there is going to be another delay in Josh’s return to Cornwall from the unit in Birmingham where he has been kept for the past three years. More families uprooting themselves to be closer to their detained loved ones. More huge assessment and treatment units being built. More inquiries. More reports. More committees/concordats/action groups. More joint statements from Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation calling for…… what? Pick a day – pick an issue. And more deceit, spin and violence from the organisations trusted with the care of vulnerable people.
What I find most depressing about the lack of action is the oft repeated get out clause from the likes of Norman Lamb, Simon Stevens, all the way down to delegates at conferences that “It’s the culture that needs changing”. If I hear that one more time, I’m going to custard pie the speaker. The Mental Capacity Act is the law. The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards are the law. The Human Rights Act. I could go on and on. If the State can’t get their culture right, then just apply the sodding law. You can sort your culture out later. Of course, LBBill is another law for the State to ignore, abuse, lose amongst its relentless culture. It is worrying.
But I think there is something very different about #LBBill that gives it a fair chance of succeeding. It has come from the people who are usually ignored when it comes to legislation for the disabled. It has come from the people, their families and their allies. It has an energy that I have never experienced before. It has a heart that is sorely missing in most social care discourse. It has an instinct for the bleeding obvious. It has a humour that cuts right through the usual flim flam. It has more experts by experience than you can shake a stick at. And it has staying power. LBBill ain’t going away.
Too many lives and justice and futures are at stake.