If someone is not able to consent to sharing their photos, film or story.

If, even with a lot of support, someone is not able to make a decision themselves, then something called a best interests assessment should be carried out to see if sharing their photos/film/story is in their best interests.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 says that when someone does not have capacity to make a particular decision for themselves, then any decision made on their behalf must be made in their best interests.

When deciding whether it is in someone's best interests for their photo/video/story to be shared the person making the decision should consider what is known about the person's preferences and involve the person as much as possible.

It is a good idea to keep a record of your decision making process.

A permission form will still need to be completed, but it can be signed by the person who made the decision (e.g. a family member or supporter).

To carry out a best interests decision you should speak to people who know the person well. You may need so speak to more than one person, depending on the circumstances.

Sometimes speaking with close family may be enough, but you may also wish to speak to:

  • wider family members
  • friends
  • support workers
  • advocates.

When deciding if sharing the photo/video/story is in the person's best interest, you should think of things like:

  • what are the potential advantages and disadvantages to the person?
  • what are the issues that are most relevant to the person?
  • what are their past and present wishes, feeling sand concerns in relation to this decision?
  • what are their values and beliefs (e.g. religious, cultural, moral) in relation to this decision?
  • what do people who know the person well think to be in the persons best interest. You can ask them if they have any information about the person's wishes, feelings, values or beliefs in relation to the matter (e.g. it may be relevant that the person is an extrovert).

Best interest assessment template

You may find it helpful to use the following questions when deciding if a decision is in a person's best interest:

Who is this best interest decision for?

What is the best interests assessment about?

What are the possible options?

What are the advantages and disadvantages to the person?

What do we know about the wishes and feelings of the person?

Who has been consulted and what did they say?

You could take notes using a table like this:

Name Comments
                                                                                            
                                                                                            

What are the conclusions of this best interests decision and what action will be taken next?

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