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  7. Understand legal frameworks, policy and guidelines relating to...

Understand legal frameworks, policy and guidelines relating to mental health conditions, dementia and learning disabilities


This page is designed to answer the following questions:

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There are several policies and pieces of legislation that are designed to promote the human rights, inclusion, equal life chances and citizenship of individuals with mental health conditions, dementia and learning disabilities.


Although it is not necessary for care workers to have an in-depth understanding of them (we’re not lawyers, after all!), it is important to have an awareness of their main points, so that we can perform our role safely, lawfully and to a high standard.

The table below lists related legislation and policies and how they may affect the day-to-day experiences of individuals with mental health conditions, dementia and learning disabilities:

LegislationRelevant pointsHow it affects individuals
Human Rights Act 1998Sets out a list of several rights and freedoms of all UK citizens including the right to marry and start a family and the freedom of expression.All UK citizens have the same rights and freedoms so individuals with conditions must be treated fairly and not have any of their rights or freedoms taken away.
Care Act 2014Puts the onus on local authorities to ensure the care and wellbeing of individuals. Has a focus on prevention, choice and individual wellbeing.Local authority must meet the care and support needs of individuals and investigate suspicions of abuse or neglect to ensure the wellbeing of individuals.
Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)Ensures personal data is stored securely and not shared without consent and individuals can access information held about themselves.Individuals can access the information stored about them and be assured that it will only be shared on a need-to-know with basis and with their consent.
Mental Health Act 1983Covers assessment, treatment and rights of individuals with mental health conditions that have been detained under the mental health act.Individuals with mental health conditions may only be detained if certain specific criteria have been met and their rights must be upheld.
Mental Capacity Act 2005Covers the protection of individuals that may lack the capacity to make their own decisions.It should be assumed that all individuals have the capacity to make their own decisions unless they have been assessed to the contrary. Decisions made on behalf of an individual must be made in their best interests and the least restrictive options chosen.
Safeguarding Adults National FrameworkFoundation on which agencies should base their safeguarding policies.Individuals with mental health conditions, dementia and learning disabilities are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect and should be protected.
CQC Fundamental StandardsMinimum standards of care that individuals can expect.Individuals know the level of care that they can expect and how to challenge organisations if their care falls below them.
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