Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland

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The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland is an independent organisation with a range of duties under mental health and incapacity law.

It enquires into cases of alleged ill treatment or deficiency of care or treatment, with investigations that include visits to alleged victims in hospitals and community settings.

The Commission is accountable to the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates for its statutory duties and how its public money is spent.[1] It is required to follow NHS customary accounting rules and to meet NHS financial targets.

Legal framework[edit]

It has statutory duties to safeguard the interests of people considered to be mentally disordered or incapacitated under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 or the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.[2]

The Scottish Executive's introduction to the Act specifies:

"Part 2 of the 2003 Act sets out provisions relating to the continued existence of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland. The Commission will have:

  • new duties to monitor the operation of the Act and to promote best practice;
  • specific powers and duties in relation to carrying out visits to patients, investigations, interviews and medical examinations, and to inspect records; and
  • powers and duties to publish information and guidance, and to give advice or bring matters to the attention of others in the mental health law system.

These powers and duties should enable the Commission to maintain and develop its vital role in protecting the rights of service users, and in promoting the effective operation of mental health law. Schedule 1 of the Act sets out more detail on the membership, organisation and general powers of the Commission and makes provision for regulations to specify some matters in more detail, if necessary." [1]

The same act also set up the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland, which hears appeals against detentions and applications for compulsory treatment orders under the 2003 act.

Working with other organisations[edit]

The Commission also works closely with several other organisations including the Office of the Public Guardian, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO), Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Care Inspectorate[3]


The offices of the Commission are based in Edinburgh. In 2005 the Scottish Executive had wanted the Commission to relocate to Falkirk as part of a Scotland-wide approach to the location of government jobs. However, the Commission did not need to comply with the policy on the location of government jobs because they are an independent body.[4]


  1. ^ "About us: who are we". Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Who we are and what we do" (PDF). Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "About us: Working with other organisations". Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Mental health body move dropped". BBC News. 8 June 2005. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Atkinson, J. (2006) Private and Public Protection: Civil Mental Health Legislation, Edinburgh, Dunedin Academic Press