Minutes: 09/04/2019

MHLA Committee Meeting – 9 April 2019


1. Welcome and introductionsAlice Dickinson, Emma Kent, Nick Lewis, Andrew Markham, David McLaughlin, Morag McNiven, Jenny Oxton, Deepti Parmar, Pramod Sanatun, Kate Tyrrell, Jonathan Wilson.

2. Apologies: Sue Antell, Manhas Aziz, Sarah Burke, Elizabeth Cleaver, Neil Cronin, Tam Gill, Umar Kankiya, Jennifer Nwachukwu, Karen Wolton.

3. Minutes of meeting held on 19 February 2019: Proposed as accurate record by PS and seconded by DP.

4. Officer’s Reports:
a. Chair (Kate Tyrrell)
i. Meeting LAA / HMCTS: Meeting happened that morning (9 April), to discuss 11(7)(a) appointments – specifically when client does not engage. The meeting was attended by Kate Tyrrell, Nick Lewis, Jake Kraft, Ellie Cronin, Carolyn Taylor, Deputy Chamber President Sarah Johnston, and Judge Debbie Postgate. JK struggled to understand why a client would appoint a solicitor, and then not engage. Proposal put forward that there should be a minimum of Level 1 Tribunal fee for solicitors making enquiries as to whether or not the client is going to engage with the process. This would cover initial contact with the client, and possibly looking at social circumstances reports. JK will look at current guidance and wants to consider Law Society’s practice note on acting for clients who lack capacity, as well as amending the Tribunal form to note whether the client has asked for a solicitor. DM proposed that R.11(7)(a) and R.11(7)(b) matters should be treated the same way. Action: JK will send minutes of meeting for further communication with LAA. KT will continue to push for remuneration.
ii. SRA Updates
1. New Standards & Regulations: Nothing to report from the meeting, as Skype wasn’t working. KT will circulate powerpoint slides on the new standards and regulations, which are due to come into force in November. KT was going to propose a face to face meeting and provide update after 30 April.
2. Guidance on acting for clients who lack capacity: The SRA have requested comments/feedback on their draft guidance note. PS said it “ticks the right boxes” and will invite COP Subcommittee to discuss it from their perspective. Action: KT requested Committee send responses, and for them to be collated by COP and Drafting Subcommittees.
iii. Member Enquiries
1. Hospital Lists: Following discussion at previous committee meeting, letters have been sent to Surrey & Partners and North East London. Surrey & Borders responded on 27 February, saying they were unsure where to find solicitors in the correct procurement area due to the Law Society displaying older procurement areas. KT responded on 3 March, saying South and South East should cover these areas. There has been no response from North East London. The committee wanted to take this further, KT proposed producing a central list or resending the letter to NE London. EK suggested sending the letter to their manager. Committee voted to send the letter to NE London again. No action for centralised list at this time.
2. Attendance at s117 / CPA Meetings: Regarding email from Tammy Groves, who has been having problems attending meetings at Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust. KT asked if anyone else has had issues similar to TG. DM and JW said they had with different trusts, but the cases had been resolved. Action: KT will respond saying that the majority of the committee had not had this issue, and that we suggest this is escalated to the Clinical Director and referred to Paragraph 33.11 of the Code of Practice, and come back to us if they have further problems.
iv. MHLA Landline: KT wanted to ask if the landline being removed had caused any issues for admin. AD said everything was fine.
v. Broadmoor Pilot: Referred to circulated correspondence from DCP Sarah Johnston. KT will be attending meeting on 30 April, and mentioned that some members may not have received an invitation due to room constraints. MA and MM will also be attending. They will provide feedback after the meeting.

b. Vice Chair (David McLaughlin)
i. MHCS Meeting, 11th March 2019: DM and KT went to meeting with Ministry of Justice on 11 March. Leave Application for Restricted Patients forms discussed at meeting, included in papers. Talked about improving practices and processes after moving from Central London to Croydon, prison transfers being dealt with more effectively, and purpose of redrafting the Leave Application form which was to get more information to avoid going back to the RC. They also asked DM and KT why some firms could be requesting excessive information, which can cause delays. Guidance was produced for victims and who should be providing updates to them, and concern for impact statements. Transgendered inmates were also discussed, and the lack of a transgender unit in this country, as well as risk and risk assessments. The Ministry of Justice expressed interest in regular future meetings, with one being scheduled for July.
ii. HMCTS Event: Tribunal Reform – 26th February 2019: BC attended. Mental health was not discussed in great detail, however there was mention of the mental health reform as part of the government’s review of The Mental Health Act. DM suggests keeping an eye on this, even though it doesn’t affect us now, it could do further down the line.

c. President (Nick Lewis)
i. SPG / CCCG Meeting Feedback 28.02.2019 & 13.03.2019:  CCMS and it’s “inability to function” was discussed. Issue of matter starts.
ii. Next Meetings: Meeting tomorrow (10 April). SPG 1 May, CCCG 15 May. Agenda not been received but they arrive very shortly before. Agendas will be circulated to committee, any points raised on behalf of MHLA can be raised by NL and SA.
iii. LAPG Awards: NL also raised the Mental Health category for the LAPG Awards, closing date 30 April. This will be circulated to members.

d. Secretary (Pramod Sanatun)
i. Payment Clawback: Update on member query regarding payment clawback from the last meeting – member has now conceded their £30,000 clawback (across around 37 files) after unsuccessful appeal. They are not pursuing it further with us. Committee were concerned that this could go on to affect other people, but also respect they don’t know enough about the individual and situation.
Action: KT suggested we ask permission to speak to LAA re their case, make a freedom of information request for how many types of cases they’ve had like this. LAA Sub will follow up if they get permission.
ii: BBC Radio 4: No updates.

e. Treasurer (Sue Antell)
SA was not in attendance. Budget was circulated. No questions asked.

5. Sub-committee Reports
(KT asked reports to be sent in time to be sent out with papers, 14 days before meeting.)
a. LAA: AS has resigned from committee, EK will be new chair.
b. COP: 19 firms have responded to COP Questionnaire, 16 already do COP and have accredited panel members or are working towards it. There is a demand for specialist training on Case Law, Advocacy, and Welfare. These could potentially be taught by EC, or one of 4 firms who offered to help with training depending on cost; needs to be in line with MHLA pricing. In contrast, not a lot of demand for COP Conference as other competition is better and we have a dedicated slot for Capacity at the conference. Committee voted to have more specialist courses.
c. E&T: TG not in attendance. JW had nothing to add. TG suggested asking if there were any course suggestions on course feedback forms.
d. Drafting / Consultation: Nothing to report.
e. Conference: Date and venue confirmed: Macdonald Hotel, Birmingham, 22 November. NL discussed his ideas for speakers to approach as soon as possible: LAA representatives, Sarah Johnston, psychiatrist (or any medical professional) to discuss changes in medication, Caroline Bradley, Michael Kennedy/Sophy Miles joint case law presentation, Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, or Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Chair of the Independent MHA Review. Also possibility of Natalya O’Prey, NOMS. PS has been in communication with ‘Bethany’s Dad’ (father of autistic girl in St Andrews), who has provisionally accepted to speak. Committee discussed various options, and possibly shortening the timeslots if we want more speakers. NL also suggested possibly having longer in the morning for people to chat, and/or having a workshop in the afternoon to allow members to talk to each other – however, the committee know they wouldn’t be able to have longer breaks and more speakers, only one or the other. Action: NL will communicate with potential speakers, formal invitation will come from KT in writing.

6. Dates of next meetings
Tuesday 4 June
Wednesday 31 July
Tuesday 10 September
Wednesday 30 October
Annual conference & AGM Friday 22 November

7. Any other business
JW raised the issue of single Judges now deciding cases in CTO paper matters and what action, if any, the MHLA should take. KT asked for a request that this is added to the Agenda for the next meeting as there was not time to discuss it in full.


Minutes: 06/06/2017


1. Welcome & introductions: Sue Antell, Caroline Auty, Sarah Burke, Michael Kennedy, Nick Lewis, Shefik Osman, Kate Tyrrell, Jonathan Wilson.

2. Apologies: Rob Beech, Catrin Blake, Richard Charlton, Neil Cronin, Tam Gill, David McLaughlin, Shoni Newell, Jennifer Nwachukwu, Floyd Porter, Pramod Sanatun, Karen Wolton.

3. Minutes of the meeting held on 12 April 2017: proposed as an accurate record by MK subject to amended wording of Item 6(d)(ii): “encouraging the client to apply to the tribunal when discharge was not something they wanted to achieve.” There would be further discussion of the definition of ‘actively seeking membership’ under this meeting’s Agenda Item 4.

4. Matters arising not covered on agenda:
Definition of ‘actively seeking membership’: one view was that a prospective member should have undertaken the mandatory Panel course and submitted their application to The Law Society. For the avoidance of doubt, it was agreed that the Drafting sub-committee would consider a comprehensive definition and the Constitution would be amended in due course. The sub-committee would also look at eligibility for discounted Panel course fees and the definition of Firm membership.

5. Officers’ reports:
a. Chair / Vice Chair (Michael Kennedy)

(i) We had received a response from Mind’s legal officer about the request on delayed discharges reported in the 12 April Minutes, Item 10(i). They are seeking anonymised case examples and want us to pass on the request. It was agreed to email members with the relevant Mind contact details.
(ii) Response to DCP Hinchliffe: a letter had been drafted by RC. As this was a sensitive matter and not many committee members were in attendance, it was agreed to circulate the draft to the full committee with a deadline for comments of 30 June.

b. Treasurer (Sarah Burke)
(i) Budget figures had been circulated and the Association remained in good financial health.
(ii) VAT: following more discussion around the pros and cons of ring-fencing, the Treasurer agreed to seek further clarification from the accountants.

c. President (Nick Lewis):
(i) Stakeholder meeting 25 April: A 1% increase in cases referred to the Tribunal was reported during the last year. NL had raised the problem of Tribunals being cancelled at the last minute because panel members were not available. Ideally more panel members should be appointed, although there are budgetary issues. They will not now express views as to whether or not a patient should be discharged, although they will sometimes express a view if in conflict with the clinical physician. One matter NL raised was that our members may, with agreement from the responsible clinician, suggest an agreed date subject to availability of the panel. The MoJ had indicated that they were embarking on training for their staff and running training days for practitioners to attend.
(ii) NL had attended a professional engagement group and, although there was little relating to MH work, they were running a pilot scheme for courts to sit until 8pm. Whilst there may be an argument for this in other jurisdictions, in NL’s view neither MH patients nor practitioners would accept it.

d. Secretary
There were no issues not already covered.

6. Sub-Committee reports
a. Conferences (Kate Tyrrell)

(i) CoP conference
Arrangements were going smoothly. Registration was open, and there were 33 delegates to date including speakers. Mr Justice Munby was still ‘agreed in principle’ as the headline speaker. CA would continue the marketing push.
(ii) MHLA conference and AGM
Confirmed speakers:
Steve Matthews, Masked AMHP
Dr Caroline Bradley, Consultant Psychiatrist (+ Kay Raleigh, Consultant Clinical Forensic Psychologist?)
Sophy Miles & Michael Kennedy, Case Law Update
Judge Birrell, TS (NL will ask Hinchliffe who should formally approach him)
Floyd Porter, Chief Assessor of TLS MCA Panel

Other speakers:
LAA speakers (to be identified nearer the time – TG will liaise)
Professor Luke Clements, Leeds University (MK to contact)

b. Court of Protection (Floyd Porter)
(i) Law Commission DoL safeguards review: progress has been halted due to the general election and realistically there may not be any changes until 2021.
(ii) MC Accreditation: training courses are running, there has been good feedback, and the first ALRs may be appointed by October.

c. Legal Aid (Karen Wolton)
The LAA had issued new, clear guidance on contract management on 3 April. It was agreed to write to members encouraging them to read the guidance and follow it to the letter in order to avoid contract notices.

d. Education and Training (Shefik Osman)
The 2017 programme of courses was running well. TG had raised time constraints for updating course materials and other trainers were covering these. The new Supervision course had run successfully and would be repeated. Remaining courses pencilled in for October would be confirmed as soon as possible.

e. MHT
Nothing to report.

7. Regional meetings
MK had organised a regional meeting in York on 24 May. Topics had included the new Civil Contract, the new contract guidance, the tribunal and a CoP update. Attendees had aired concerns about TLS’s accreditation scheme including re-accreditation delays and difficulties in complying with CPD requirements.

8. AOB
(i) JW raised the question of the Data Protection Act. As well as complying, the MHLA should register with the Information Commissioners Office.
(ii) SB raised concerns about a number of recent audit issues, including nil assessed and contract notice, in contrast to the guidance. SB had appealed and was awaiting news. SB will send case details to KW with a view to these matters being raised with John Sirodcar.
(iii) Associate members: we had changed the Constitution in 2016 and created the new category of Associate member who should not have access to the members-only area of the website, but currently did. JW asked whether we should change this. Discussion was deferred until the next meeting.
(iv) Reserves: JW asked about interest on the MHLA’s bank account. The current account was not interest-bearing, nor were there any charges. The Treasurer said that it was not worth considering other options as the Association wanted easy access to funds and the amount of interest would be negligible.
(v) Re-accreditation: the proposed requirement is now six tribunals and six CPD hours a year. SB asked that we publicise this new requirement when it is introduced.

9. Future meetings:
Tuesday 1 August
Tuesday 26 September
Wednesday 1 November
Annual conference & AGM Friday 17 November

Minutes: 12/04/2017


Agenda items 1-3 chaired by David McLaughlin and Item 4 onwards by Tam Gill.

1. Welcome & introductions: Sue Antell, Caroline Auty, Rob Beech, Richard Charlton, Neil Cronin, Tam Gill, Michael Kennedy, Nick Lewis, David McLaughlin, Jennifer Nwachukwu, Floyd Porter, Jonathan Wilson, Karen Wolton.

2. Apologies: Catrin Blake, Sarah Burke, Shoni Newell, Shefik Osman, Pramod Sanatun, Kate Tyrrell.

3. Minutes of the meeting held on 8 December 2016: The December minutes had not been agreed in February because of a disagreement over Minute 5(b). A transcript was supplied. Following discussion, it was agreed to add the first paragraph of JW’s suggested amendment (The committee decided that a person would be considered to be “actively seeking membership” of the mental health accreditation scheme, and therefore eligible for full membership of the Association under the constitution, as soon as that person had booked onto a two-day panel course) but not the second. The minutes were duly approved. No further letter would be sent to the applicant whose Firm membership had been declined.

4. Minutes of the meeting held on 15 February 2017: proposed as an accurate record by DM and seconded by MK. CA would put both sets of minutes on the website shortly.

5. Matters arising not covered on agenda: none

6. Officers’ reports:
a. Chairman & Vice Chair (Tam Gill & Michael Kennedy)

(i) LAA contract update: it was noted that the single-stage is expected to open in May 2017, to ensure compliance with Public Contract Regulations 2015 (nb: different timescale from headline intentions document).
(ii) LAA Contract query: a query received from a member regarding client allocation in the new LAA contract was discussed. However, the committee did not agree that MHLA should raise this issue with the LAA.
(iii) TLS Panels update
 Welfare panel pre-accreditation course bookings are now open.
 MH Panel ‘professional development hours’ for initial accreditation applications: given that other Law Society panels have more stringent requirements than MH, the committee decided not to raise this issue with TLS on behalf of the membership.
(iv) SRA meeting: this was attended by MK, KW & TG on 27 March. SRA representatives made presentations explaining what they do, and there had been discussion about regulatory problems in the sector, which John Sirodcar had joined in by conference call. The dialogue would be continued, especially regarding complaints, appeals and investigations, and another meeting was planned for the Autumn.
(v) Future meeting Oliver Heald: CA would send a reminder to members who had not yet responded to the recent questionnaire seeking their views.
(vi) DCP Hinchliffe response on judicial guidance: following discussion, it was agreed to write to Judge Hinchliffe to say that as a committee we are concerned that there appear to be summaries produced which do not reflect case law. RC would draft a response.

b. Treasurer (Sarah Burke)
(i) SB was not present. The budget figures had been circulated in advance.
(ii) VAT:
 It was noted that those speakers who are VAT-registered may now claim VAT on top of their speaker fee.
 The accountant had confirmed that in order to remain exempt from VAT, any profits derived from education and training should be reinvested in E&T activities. Following discussion around the issues of VAT registration and ring-fencing, it was agreed to seek further clarification from Steven Nixon. MK and CA would liaise on this.
c. President (Nick Lewis)
(i) MHDC update:
 NL had been involved with setting up the MC accreditation scheme and wished to record thanks to FP, who has carried the responsibility for the scheme, and also to Sheila Carrick, Sophy Miles and Rachel Turner. The scheme is likely to go live in August and courses are running in London and Manchester.
 Vulnerable adults bill: members of the committee undertaking work involving vulnerable adults were asked to make case studies available to Alex Ruck Keene.
 The Law Society is seeking to recruit MHDC committee members and anyone interested should contact them.
(ii) Law Society contract: NL had met Ellie Cronin and a member of the MoJ to promote our views on the new contract. Originally a two-stage process, this was now a one-stage process.

d. Secretary (David McLaughlin)
(i) No response had been received from the firm whose membership application was declined in December.
(ii) An issue had been drawn to DM’s attention whereby a firm of solicitors seemed to be ‘encouraging’ or making a claim on behalf of a Tribunal. DM and TG would liaise.

7. Sub-Committee reports
a. Conferences

(i) CoP conference
FP was happy with Mr Justice Munby as the headline speaker and it would not be necessary to find another judge to speak. Marketing would commence shortly.

(ii) MHLA conference and AGM
Speaker update: Duncan Birrell will deputise for Judge Hinchliffe, who cannot attend. NL’s daughter Sian, a forensic psychologist who works in the prison service, is willing to speak, together with a colleague who works in the public and private sectors. Lucy Series has suggested an academic in the Leeds area. MK would present the Case Law update with Sophy Miles.

b. Court of Protection (Floyd Porter)
The sub-committee’s report had been circulated and there was nothing further to add.

c. Legal Aid (Karen Wolton)
(i) KW had attended an LAA meeting with John Sirodcar and Jake Kraft. On the subject of audits and new guidance, KW had suggested that auditors are not particularly well-trained. The zero tolerance policy for errors at audit has been confirmed and even a single error will result in contract notices. Another two on the same issue will lead to contract issues (termination). It was agreed to draft a note to members warning them to disregard the guidance at their peril. Action: MK.
(ii) An issue raised by Peter Edwards was being looked into by the LAA’s policy group.

d. Education and Training (Shefik Osman)
The sub-committee’s report had been circulated and there was nothing further to add.

e. MHT
Nothing to report.

8. Regional meetings
MK is organising a Yorkshire & North East regional meeting on 24 May.

9. Future meetings
Tuesday 6 June
Tuesday 1 August
Tuesday 26 September
Wednesday 1 November
Annual conference & AGM Friday 17 November

10. AOB:
(i) Correspondence had been received asking members to submit examples of discharge. [They] had been asked to be more specific about what they were seeking, but had not yet responded.
(ii) NC raised the issue of whether section 5.2 of the Constitution (the power to refuse membership with no reason given) was appropriate. This could be considered at a future date.