Confirmation of budget allocation allows for launch of Decision Support Service in 2022

16 Oct, 2020


The Director of a new service for people with decision-making capacity issues has said that the new service is on track to open its doors in 2022, following confirmation that it had received additional funding in Budget 2021. This budget is aligned to a plan presented to the Department of Justice and Equality earlier this year. 

Áine Flynn, the Director of the Decision Support Service (DSS), said: “I warmly welcome the news that the DSS will receive an additional €2.3 million in funding next year. This additional resourcing now means that we can get on with the important work of ensuring that this much-needed service is ready for a 2022 launch”.

The announcement was made in a statement by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, who confirmed that the DSS would receive €5.8 million in 2021, an increase in funding of €2.3 million over last year’s budget allocation.

The DSS is established by the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015. This Act will maximise autonomy for people who require support to make decisions about their personal welfare, property and financial affairs. Estimates suggest that there could be as many as 220,000 adults living in Ireland who have capacity-related difficulties and who may become users of the DSS.

Although the 2015 Act is fully enacted, it is not yet commenced. When it is, it will abolish the current Victorian wards of court system, under the Lunacy Regulation Act of 1871, and replace it with a modern, person-centred framework to maximise autonomy for people who require support to make decisions about their personal welfare, property and financial affairs.

“The 2015 Act is a long-awaited and reforming piece of legislation,” said Ms. Flynn. “Now that we have the additional resourcing, and an agreed plan for commencement, we are firmly on track to deliver this important human rights-based framework to the people of Ireland. 

“I look forward to engaging soon with Ministers O’Gorman and Rabbitte and their respective officials in the new department, and I want to thank our colleagues in the Department of Justice and Equality for their positive engagement and support over the last 12 months.” 

Ms Flynn has advised that the 2015 Act will have impacts across diverse sectors, including legal, financial, health and social care, and, if they have not already done so, stakeholders should take the necessary steps to prepare for commencement. 

The central focus of the DSS will be on those who access the supports under that Act, and the service undertakes to provide information and guidance and to promote public confidence in the new framework.

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