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Mentally Handicapped Persons

Volume 124: debated on Friday 18 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what advice he has issued to assist mentally handicapped persons exercise their rights of subject access under the Data Protection Act; when he expects to produce an order under section 21(9) of the Act; and whether he will make a statement.

Mentally handicapped people capable of managing their own affairs have the same right of access to personal data as do other people. We have advised interested organisations that anyone acting under an order of the Court of Protection or under an enduring power of attorney has an automatic right to apply for subject access on behalf of individuals who are incapable of managing their own affairs by reason of mental disorder.Applications by persons so authorised can be made whether or not an order under section 21(9) of the Act were to come into force. Consideration is therefore being given as to whether there is any need for an order to be made.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if his Department is sponsoring any research into the emotional consequences of pregnancy, delivery and fostering and adoption procedures on mentally handicapped parents.