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The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland is an independent statutory body established to safeguard the interests of people considered to be mentally disordered or incapacitated under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 or the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.

It enquires into cases of alleged ill treatment or deficiency of care or treatment, with investigations that include visits to alleged victims in hospitals and community settings. There is also the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland, which hears appeals against detentions and applications for compulsory treatment orders under the 2003 act.

The commission is funded through the Scottish Executive Health Department. As such it is required to follow NHS accounting rules and meet NHS financial targets.

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[hide]*1 Legal framework

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Legal framework

The Scottish Executive's introduction to the Act specifies:

"Part 2 of the 2003 Act sets out provisions relating to the continued existence of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland. The Commission will have:

  • new duties to monitor the operation of the Act and to promote best practice;
  • specific powers and duties in relation to carrying out visits to patients, investigations, interviews and medical examinations, and to inspect records; and
  • powers and duties to publish information and guidance, and to give advice or bring matters to the attention of others in the mental health law system.

These powers and duties should enable the Commission to maintain and develop its vital role in protecting the rights of service users, and in promoting the effective operation of mental health law. Schedule 1 of the Act sets out more detail on the membership, organisation and general powers of the Commission and makes provision for regulations to specify some matters in more detail, if necessary." [1]

The same act also set up the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland.

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Location

The Commission is currently based in Edinburgh. As part of its relocation plans for Scottish Executive departments, the Commission was ordered to relocate to Falkirk in 2005. However this was later reversed as the Scottish Ministers do not have the authority to relocate the Commission.

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Website

Official website

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Further reading

  • Atkinson, J. (2006) Private and Public Protection: Civil Mental Health Legislation, Edinburgh, Dunedin Academic Press