This person is called a named person. Anyone aged 16 or over can choose a named person.
A child under the age of 16 cannot nominate a named person. The person with parental responsibilities for them is automatically their named person.
Who can I choose to be my named person?
- Your named person can make important decisions about your care if you are not able to decide yourself, so you should choose someone who knows you well and who you can trust.
- If you can choose your own named person it can be a relative or friend, but not somebody with a professional role in your care.
- You can say you don't want to have a named person.
You can have an independent advocate and a named person. Your advocate cannot be your named person because they have different jobs to do. Your independent advocate is someone who helps you say what you think about your treatment.
Your named person has a right to be consulted about some aspects of your care and treatment and can also make applications to the Mental Health Tribunal.
For more information see the Scottish Government's guidance on named persons.
Changes to named persons provisions made by the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015
From 30 June 2017, changes are being phased in so that a person will not have a named person unless they nominate somebody to be their named person.
For a new named person nomination to be valid the nominated person has to consent, in writing, to be the named person, and that needs to be witnessed.
Nominations of named persons made before 30 June 2017 will continue to be valid, even if the named person has not agreed in writing.
If you become subject to compulsion under the Mental Health Act now and you have not nominated a named person, you will not have a named person unless you do nominate somebody.
Some people were already subject an order under the Mental Health Act on 30 June 2017, and had a default named person. This would be their primary carer or nearest relative. If this applies to you, your default named person will continue to be your named person until any of the following happen:
- You nominate that person or someone else to be your named person
- You become informal (i.e. you are no longer subject to compulsion under the Mental Health Act)
- Your responsible medical officer reviews your Order for the first time after 30 September 2017
- If your default named person is still in place on 30 June 2018, their role stops then
The Scottish Government has suggested templates for named person nominations, declarations and consent on the Mental Health Act forms page.
The 2015 Act made provisions for other people to make applications or appeals to the Tribunal about your Mental Health Act Order if you do not have capacity to do so yourself, and you do not have a named person. These people are called 'listed initiators'.
Listed initiators include:
- Your nearest relative
- Your primary carer (if you have one)
- Your welfare guardian (if you have one)
- Your welfare attorney (if you have appointed a welfare attorney, and it is operational)
If you do not want your primary carer or nearest relative to act as a listed initiator for you, you can make a written declaration to say they cannot do this.
To write this declaration you need to be capable of doing so, and it needs to be witnessed. The Scottish Government has provided a suggested template for this on the Mental Health Act forms page.
For advice on mental health and incapacity law contact our Advice Line.