Learning capacity- How professionals learn about mental capacity on post qualifying education programmes


  • Jim Rogers SWSSR Board
  • Lucy Bright University of Lincoln


The focus of this paper is the way in which learning on a post graduate professional academic training module is developed and articulated via processes of shadowing and the production of two assignments (a written case study and a reflective piece). The context is learning about key aspects of Mental Capacity legislation and the data for the study came from work submitted by fifty students on four successive iterations of  a 'best interests assessor' (BIA) training course in England. We sought evidence of the use of key elements including specific sections of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) as well as case law; professional values; practice guidance; and classroom education. Moreover we were interested in the ways in which a brief shadowing of a practicing BIA helped to make sense of these disparate elements in practice. Practice guidanc from expert bodies such as SCIE and NICE, the formal legal test of capacity, and certain relevant pieces of case law were not referred to as much as expected, but most candidates showed the ability to deftly navigate the tensions and challenges which arise when trying to meld case law, statute law, codes of practice, and classroom learning and ensure that this is used to safeguard the rights of vulnerable adults.

Author Biography

Jim Rogers, SWSSR Board

Senior Lecturer School of Health and Social Care


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How to Cite

Rogers, J., & Bright, L. (2021). Learning capacity- How professionals learn about mental capacity on post qualifying education programmes. The Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 17(3), 115-137. Retrieved from https://journals.whitingbirch.net/index.php/JPTS/article/view/1439