Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015

We all make decisions, big and small, every day of our lives. Most of us are able to make these decisions by ourselves. Sometimes we may seek information, advice, or support if the decision we are making is more complex. There are many people accessing our health services whose ability to make certain decisions about their life and choices may be affected by a disability, an accident, a medical procedure, or a chronic illness- either on a temporary or a permanent basis. With the right support, these people can continue, regardless of their condition, to exercise their right to making decisions.

A new law has been passed which maximises a person's right to make their own decisions, with legally recognised supports, whenever possible. The Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was signed into law on the 30th December 2015.This Act applies to everyone and is relevant to all health and social care services. The Act is about supporting decision-making and maximising a person’s capacity to make decisions.

The Act has not yet been commenced. However the HSE is doing a number of things to prepare staff and services for commencement. It has established a National Steering Group which includes staff, service users and expert advisers. It has prepared four Codes of Practice on behalf of the Director of the Decision Support Service. Once the Codes of Practice and the regulations have been signed off, national guidance for staff will be issued on what the Act will mean for day to day practice. A training and education programme to support staff and services to use the Act in their every day services will also be developed.This website has been developed to provide updated information on what the HSE is doing and when the Act might be commenced. 

Latest news on the Act:

  • The Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. and the Minister for Health, Simon Harris T.D. have signed Statutory Instruments which commences some parts of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015. The commencement orders – which were signed in October 2016 – mean that some parts of the Capacity Act have been brought into effect. These orders mean that the Decision Support Service (DSS) can be established and the working group to establish the code of practice for Advance Healthcare Directives can also be convened. You can view the commencement orders here and here.
  • The Director of the Decision Support Service started on 2nd October 2017 and the office is currently being established. You can find more information on the establishment of the Decision Support Service here.
  • The National Disability Authority is progressing development of 11 non-healthcare Codes of Practice. Please click here to find more information.

Latest news on the HSE ADM Implementation Programme:

The consultation process on the draft Codes of Practice on Advance Healthcare Directives has now concluded. Please click here to access the consultation page.

The consultation process on the draft Guide on the Act for health and social care professionals has now concluded. Please click here to access the consultation page.

Further information