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Adults with Incapacity training for Health & Social Care Professionals

*A course tailored for social workers, MHOs, hospital doctors, nurses & AHPs*



The Scottish Mental Health Law Review

Assessing an individual's Capacity

Power of Attorney


Section 13ZA, Section 47 & Authority to Discharge

Supported Decision Making


Short Video Classes


Activities with interactive content, as well as Q&A discussions with Susan Torrance, Adult Protection Adviser at NHS Tayside

8 hrs


With the option to make online notes on every class, download a Certificate of Completion & provide Learner Feedback

Course content available for....



This course offers you all the key information about adults with incapacity legislation specifically tailored for social workers, mental health officers, hospital doctors, nurses and allied health professionals (AHPs).

As well as reviewing the existing AWI principles, capacity assessing and the rights of persons with disabilities, the course highlights the key Incapacity-related findings of the Scottish Mental Health Law Review (Autumn ‘22) and features an AWI Clinic – exploring specific areas of Incapacity law that health and social care professionals have asked us to cover.

If you care for adults with incapacity and want to know the law which governs this area of work, this course is for you – taking you from policy to practice; offering you the legal concepts without the legal jargon.

Led by former Public Guardian for Scotland, Sandra McDonald, the course provides learners with a comprehensive understanding of AWI legislation and the confidence of how to use it effectively in practice.

With a mix of video classes, discussions, activities and interactive content, the course addresses the frequently arising challenges around AWI – and what to do when difficulties arise.  There are both foundation and advanced classes, from which you can pick and choose, so whether you are newly qualified or an advanced practitioner you can access the content that is relevant to your role and requirements.

Includes three Q&A discussions with:

  • Susan Torrance, Adult Protection Adviser, NHS Tayside Adult Protection Team


Adult incapacity issues can be both difficult and sensitive. With Scotland’s ageing population, applying Adults with Incapacity (AwI) legislation is becoming more and more commonplace for health & social care professionals but knowing how and when to make best use of the legislation can often be very challenging.

Key Themes

  • The AWI Principles
  • Power of Attorney & Guardianship
  • Assessing an individual’s Capacity
  • Supporting an individual’s Decision Making
  • Respecting an individual’s Rights, Will and Preferences
  • Key findings of the recently published Scottish Mental Health Law Review
  • Section 13ZA, Section 47 & Authority to Discharge
  • How to respond when AWI principles or issues don’t neatly align
  • Managing conflict with an Attorney or Guardian
  • Reporting concerns and identifying signs of abuse

This training is for...

  • Social workers
  • Mental Health Officers
  • Hospital doctors & nurses
  • Allied Health Professionals


NOT FOR YOU? Over the next few months, we are developing Adults with Incapacity courses tailored to specific professions – including for Solicitors; Independent Advocacy Groups; General Practitioners; Pharmacists; and Carers. All our courses are listed here – Learning Courses

What our Learners say...

This course will be available until at least June 2025, ensuring learners can work through the content anytime, anywhere, at their own pace…

High Quality








Adam McKinlay, Practice Development Coordinator - Social Work, East Ayrshire HSCP
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I learned a lot regarding Power of Attorney, Deprivation of liberty and consideration for 13za practice - as well as the likely future impact and change to practice as recommended within the Scott review. It was excellent Sandra, thank you.
Martin McGarrity, Access 1st Team Leader, Inverclyde HSCP
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The course better met my needs as I am visually impaired. I got more out of the distance learning approach as I was able to start, pause for reflection and stop when I needed to. I got more out of this approach than a traditional class based learning session.
Eileen Brechany, Service Manager, East Ayrshire HSCP
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This was a really great course which I was able to do at my own pace. I liked knowing how long each class was as you could then decide whether to carry on to the next class or leave for another day. It took me a while to start the course but once I did I was very motivated to carry on as the course content was excellent. I am so pleased I did this course

Course rates for learners

1 Learner


3-5 learners

Small group
£ 80 Per person

6-300+ learners

Large group
£ 75-35 Per person

Detailed course agenda

Fdn = Foundation Class   Adv = Advanced Class


The AWI Principles (Fdn) (12:17)

  • Benefit
  • Least Restrictive Intervention
  • Taking account of past and present wishes and feelings
  • Taking account of the views of others
  • Encourage participation


Introducing Mary’s case study (Fdn)



Power of Attorney (Fdn) (16:32)

  • Welfare and/or Finance powers
  • Attorneys – How many? What is their Authority? Substitutes?
  • Powers – What are they? When do they start?
  • PoA Registration


Discussion around Power of Attorney (Fdn) (08:05)

Following on from her video, Sandra discusses some practical issues around Power of Attorney with Susan Torrance – Adult Protection Adviser at NHS Tayside.

  • When would be a good time to raise Power of Attorney with patients or residents?
  • What do health and care providers need to think about, or be conscious of, around Power of Attorney?


Activity – Exploring Mary’s Power of Attorney (Fdn)


Guardianship – General Information (Fdn) (15:06)

  • When is Guardianship needed?
  • Guardians – How many? What is their Authority? Substitutes?
  • Powers – What are they? When do they start?
  • The Application Process for Guardianship


Access to Funds and Intervention Orders (Fdn) (06:41)

  • Access to Funds – Money management; Payment for everyday expenses; Use of a ‘download’ account
  • Intervention Orders – For a Definitive matter(s); Has a natural completion date; The same application process as guardianship


Financial reporting under Guardianship (Fdn) (22:20)

  • Financial Reporting
  • Supervision
  • Money, gifts and assets
  • Managing Property



Assessing Capacity (Fdn) (17:08)

  • A Presumption of Capacity
  • Capacity <=> Incapacity
  • Decision Specific Capacity
  • 5 tests for Assessing Capacity


Discussion around Capacity (Fdn) (09:42)

Following on from her video, Sandra discusses some practical issues around Capacity with Susan Torrance – Adult Protection Adviser at NHS Tayside.

  • Who can Assess Capacity?
  • Is there a difference between Assessing Capacity and Assessing Consent to Medical Treatment?
  • What does a Section 47 certificate mean and when does it become active?


Activity – Assessing Mary’s Capacity (Fdn)



Supported Decision Making (Adv) (12:52)

  • Exercise of Legal Capacity
  • Decision Making Influences
  • Supporting decision making – your approach and the process
  • Best interpretation decision making


Activity – Supported Decision Making in Mary’s case (Adv)


“Respecting” Rights, Will and Preferences (Adv) (12:01)

  • Article 12(4) UNCRPD
  • What do we mean by ‘Rights’, ‘Will’ and ‘Preferences’?
  • Case Example: Stephanie’s story
  • Paying Special Regard
  • Placing hands on a person to maintain their safety


Discussion around Fluctuating Capacity (Adv) (03:55)

Following on from her video classes on Supported Decision Making and Respecting Rights, Will and Preferences, Sandra conducts her third and final discussion with Susan Torrance – Adult Protection Adviser at NHS Tayside.

  • How can you assess capacity if someone’s presentation fluctuates? eg. alcohol and substance misuse etc.


Activity – Respect for Mary’s Rights, Will and Preferences (Adv)


Activity – How would you deal with Mary’s situation? (Adv)



The Scottish Mental Health Law Review – Part 1 (Adv) (21:13)

  • Overarching purpose
  • Revised principles
  • Human Rights Enablement
  • Supported decision-making
  • Autonomous Decision Making


The Scottish Mental Health Law Review – Part 2 (Adv) (20:23)

  • Strengthening of power of attorney
  • Guardianship, Intervention Orders, Access to Funds and Part 4
  • Fusion and Forum
  • So, what now [on AWI elements]?


Deprivation of liberty (Adv) (15:47)

  • “A gilded cage is still a cage”
  • The Scottish Mental Health Law Review – clarity on Deprivation of Liberty
  • Likely timeframe for changes
  • Until then?



Section 13ZA (Adv) (04:10)

  • The purpose of Section 13ZA
  • Can one still rely on Section 13ZA today?
  • Potential conflicts with UNCRPD and Deprivation of Liberty


Section 47 (Adv) (14:29)

  • What is Section 47?
  • How is it currently used?
  • Section 47 in relation to current AWI Principles and the UNCRPD
  • The Scottish Mental Health Law Review comments on Section 47
  • The likely future for Section 47 based on these comments


Authority to Discharge – The MWC Report (Adv) (11:45)

  • The ‘Authority to Discharge’ report – key findings
  • Recommendations to HSCPs
  • Recommendations to the Care Inspectorate
  • Recommendations to The Scottish Government



Conflict with an Attorney – ‘To Regard or Disregard’ (Adv) (21:19)

  • 6 questions to ask yourself when determining whether an Attorney’s request should be adhered to
  • Know your legal obligations
  • Develop a policy on compliance with AWI & UNCRPD
  • Create a checklist for managing conflicts with Attorneys


Managing Conflicting Issues (Adv) (21:11)

  • When principles don’t always neatly align
  • Checking the various principles have been met
  • Consulting others – a case conference, mediation, advice from authorities
  • The importance of good record-keeping


Reporting Concerns and Signs of Abuse (Adv) (10:00)

  • Signs of Abuse – Physical / Neglect, Emotional, Financial, Sexual, Self-harm
  • What to report and When?
  • Who do you report concerns to?


Your Feedback and Thoughts


*Note: Each activity should take around 10-15mins to complete*

Introducing Our Trainer

Sandra McDonald

Director, EX-PG Ltd (and former Public Guardian for Scotland)

For 14 years (2004-2018) Sandra was the Public Guardian for Scotland. The Public Guardian supports as well as supervises those appointed, under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, to administer the affairs of persons with incapacity. Sandra holds qualifications in law, public sector management and nursing. As Public Guardian, she led a team of 80, delivering a service across the whole of Scotland.

Upon retiring as the Public Guardian in the summer of 2018, Sandra established EX-PG Ltd. She currently offers mental capacity/incapacity advice and training, drawing on the breadth and wealth of her experience as Public Guardian. All Sandra’s advice and training can be tailored to your needs and is specifically designed to assist both those supporting, as well as those developing and delivering services for, people with incapacity.

For more information, please visit –