DSS start date delayed

23 Jun, 2022


The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has formally notified the Decision Support Service (DSS) that amending legislation necessary for the full commencement of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 will not be passed before the summer recess.

Until the amending legislation is fully passed, it will not be possible for the DSS to commence operations and deliver its statutory functions under the 2015 Act. The DSS has been working to a time-bound and costed plan to have the DSS established by mid-2022.

The 2015 Act abolishes the wards of court system for adults and replaces it with a regulated and rights-based support framework overseen by the DSS.

“A key external dependency for commencement of the 2015 Act is the enactment of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill 2022, which is presently before the Oireachtas,” explained the Director of the DSS, Áine Flynn. “Although it is a lengthy Bill, most of the amendments do not significantly affect the substance of the original Act - and the role of the DSS. When the amending legislation is enacted, then the original Act, as amended, can be commenced. The DSS has no control over this legislative process.”

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has this week confirmed to the DSS that the remaining window of time to pass the amending legislation - before the close of the current Dáil and Seanad sessions for the summer recess - is limited. Having regard to the remaining sitting time in both Houses, the Department has confirmed that the Bill is expected to proceed as far as ‘second stage’ in the Seanad before the end of the summer session, and progress on the Bill will resume as early as possible following the beginning of the autumn session in September.

The Department has once again confirmed that it remains the intention and firm commitment of Government to commence the 2015 Act in full as soon as possible.

“The DSS team has been working extremely hard to be ready for a mid-2022 start date. However, we fully understand that passing legislation can be a time-consuming and unpredictable process. We will continue with our preparations to open our doors as soon as possible to all those who require the supports offered by the Act,” added Ms Flynn.

“We share the disappointment of stakeholders at news of this delay, particularly those for whom the new supports are designed. These people, their families and those who care for them have been waiting for the reforms introduced by the 2015 Act for long enough already.”

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