Down's Syndrome Scotland - Learning Resources

In Scotland the law presumes that adults (16yrs and over) are legally capable of making personal decisions for themselves and to manage their own affairs.

If however there is evidence to suggest that the person cannot make personal decisions for themselves or manage their own affairs a comprehensive assessment is necessary to provide appropriate support.


    Choice and Capacity

    Choice is about showing preference for one thing over another. It is not the same as Capacity

    Capacity is assessed in relation to the decision that needs to be made. It is NOT all or nothing.

    It is NOT based on the test "Would a rational person decide as this person has decided?"

    The thought processes behind the decision are relevant to the question of capacity.

    In many cases there will be no doubt as to an individual’s capacity. Where there is doubt comprehensive investigation is needed

    35 33 33

    Roles and Responsibilities

    Everyone involved with the person who lacks capacity has a role to help make decisions that must make their life better:

    • Family/Carers
    • Doctors
    • Social Workers
    • Health professionals such as nurses, or dentists

    No one is allowed to make decisions that the person can make them self.

    Further Advice & Guidance

    The Public Guardian’s office keep a record of all Welfare and Financial Guardians

    Office of the Public Guardian
    Hadrian House, Callander Business Park,
    Falkirk. 01324 678300

    The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland will help with any enquiries and advice on best practice.

    Mental Welfare Commission
    Thistle House, 91 Haymarket Terrace.Edinburgh
    EH12 5HE.
    0131 313 8777

    Scottish Government – Adults with Incapacity Act


    Mental Capacity Act (England Only)


    Quick Quiz

    Which of the following principles should you use when deciding whether to intervene?

    Your intervention must be necessary and must benefit the adult
    Your intervention must be the minimum necessary to achieve the purpose
    You should consider whether it would be possible to intervene without using the Act
    All of the above

    For the purpose of the Act what does Incapable mean?

    Being able to make and communicate a decision
    Incapable of acting or making decisions, communicating decisions, understanding decisions or retaining the memory
    Capable of understanding and retaining information


    You've reached the end of this section

    You've now completed the basic Down's Syndrome course - if you think your ready you can now register and take the test.