Mental Health Act

Under the terms of the MHA, a patient who has a mental disorder that is putting themselves or others at a risk of harm, and refuses treatment, may be detained for treatment if certain conditions are met. The majority of our LGO reports refer to s117 aftercare under the MHA, which is a FREE service for those whose liberty has been removed from them under the Act, when they leave hospital. You are entitled to s117 aftercare if you were detained under certain sections of the MHA (reports here refer to s3 detentions in the main). Section 117 aftercare services continue until such time as the NHS body and social services authority both decide a person no longer requires the services by way of aftercare (we think that this means for the purpose set forth in the statute, the avoidance of compulsory re-admission to hospital) and (according to the MHA code of guidance) hold a discharge meeting to which the person and their carer/family member is invited.

A lack of a s117 assessment process is always fault, if a person is entitled. The bulk of these reports refer to failings in regards to s117 funding for accommodation.

Accommodation can generally only be part of section 117 aftercare if:

  • the need is for enhanced specialised accommodation (“accommodation plus”); [accommodation of an overall nature required in order to make the care services feasibly able to achieve the statutory purpose]
  • the “accommodation plus” reduces the risk of the person’s mental condition worsening and the likelihood of the person returning to hospital for treatment for mental disorder. [ie the statutory purpose of aftercare now]
  • When accommodation is part of a person’s section 117 aftercare, it must be free to the person. 

Recent 2019/2020 reports say that Councils and NHS organisations should not advise people to claim benefits such as Housing Benefit to pay for accommodation that is part of their section 117 aftercare.

Name of CouncilSubject MatterTitle of ReportNumber
LincolnshireS117Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Lincolnshire East CCG found jointly at fault for failing to work together properly with regard to s117 aftercare18 012 682
SurreyS117Cherrytrees Care Provider, Surrey County Council and CCG at fault for failing to provide care in line with a young man’s s.117 aftercare plan18 007 431
LewishamS117London Borough of Lewisham Council and CCG at fault for poor s117 aftercare assessments and delays in funding 18 010 781
Kent County CouncilS117LGO declined to investigate a complaint that an NHS Trust attempted to transfer care to Kent County Council without telling the family20 006 958
Manchester CityS117Manchester City Council NOT at fault in relation to its approach to top ups for s117 clients, but at for failing to share an updated nursing needs assessment 17 016 161
SolihullS117Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council at fault for failing to consider a person’s needs under s11719 018 843
Milton KeynesS117Milton Keynes Council (and Milton Keynes CCG, and its delegate, an NHS Foundation Trust) found at fault for delays in s. 117 planning, assessment and aftercare and for refusing to reimburse care fees17 018 823
SolihullS117Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council at fault for failure to FUND a supported housing placement for a s117 client 19 002 160
CumbriaAssessmentCumbria Council at fault in its Mental Health Act assessment process 18 013 457