The Commission is committed to ensuring continuous quality improvement by fostering high standards and good practices in the delivery of mental health services.
As part of its responsibility for operating the mental health tribunals process, the Tribunals team has put in place a framework of audits that are conducted at defined and regular intervals throughout the year.
Tribunals Team / Internal Audits
These audits are aimed at improving the quality of services provided by the Tribunals team and by Panel Members who are assigned to mental health tribunals. The Tribunals team is committed to ensuring that the MHC policies, procedures and processes associated with mental health tribunals are adhered to by staff and panel members. It is important that both staff and panel members are continuously reviewing their performance and learning from issues identified. Regular information updates are provided to the Tribunals team and to panel members based on the findings of these audits.
Approved Centre Audits
In establishing and operating the mental health tribunal process, the Tribunals team works with all of the approved centres to ensure that all statutory and procedural timelines associated with the process are met. Key measures include a formal log of issues relating to each approved centre, which come to the attention of the Tribunals team throughout the year. Reports are provided on a quarterly basis to approved centres regarding any issues that arise, and the corrective action taken or to be taken.
Audit of Mental Health Tribunals Decisions
Mental health tribunals are held in private and there is no statutory mechanism for the publication of these decisions. In response to requests from various entities and within the confines of the legislation, the Tribunals team commenced audits of mental health tribunal decisions in 2019. Two audits are conducted each year on a sample of decisions.
In 2019, the audit addressed ten (10) matters in relation to a sample of 30 decisions per audit. In 2020, the remit of the audit was extended to address 15 matters and the sample size was increased to 60 decisions per audit.
Prior to the introduction of these audits, the only validated information available regarding tribunals held was the decision of the tribunals. The findings from these audits have provided important and invaluable resource to the Commission which has been shared with the relevant stakeholders in the mental health tribunals process to improve practice for the ultimate benefit of the person involuntarily detained. The findings have informed training to tribunal panel members and information provided to the mental health services.