The Director of the Decision Support Service (DSS), has today written to each political party to ensure that the commencement of the DSS is prioritised within any programme for government.
Ms Áine Flynn said that unless the DSS is allocated adequate funding in the next budget, they will not be in a position to commence operations until at least 2023, more than seven years after the introduction of legislation that provided for it.
The DSS was established by the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015.
“The 2015 Act is long-awaited, reforming, human rights-based legislation. However, we are now approaching four-and-a-half years since the legislation was signed into law,” wrote Ms Flynn.
“It is critically important that those who will be most affected by the Act are provided with a clear roadmap for full commencement so we can all be assured, and continue with the job of getting the service ready for operation.”
The letter also noted that some of the country’s most vulnerable people, many of whom have suffered disproportionately in the current Covid-19 crisis, would have had access to significant new supports and protections if the 2015 Act had been in place.
“Recent engagement with the Department of Justice and Equality has been positive,” wrote Ms Flynn.
“The Decision Support Service has presented to the Department a draft time-bound, costed project plan to include the development of an essential ICT system.
“This plan has been favourably received. However, unless adequate funding is allocated in the coming budget, the DSS will not commence operations until after 2022. It is therefore, absolutely critical that the full commencement of the 2015 Act is prioritised in the new programme for government.”