Draft Mental Health Bill update

On 19 January 2023, the Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill published their pre-legislative scrutiny report on the draft Bill. They received 114 submissions of written evidence and over 100 responses to their online survey. The Joint Committee was appointed in July 2022 following the publication of the Government’s Draft Mental Health Bill on 27 June 2022. The Joint Committee’s members included six members from the House of Commons and six members from the House of Lords.

The Joint Committee’s final report includes over 50 recommendations. Their key recommendations to the Government include:

  • Creation of a new statutory Mental Health Commissioner post.
  • The Principles underpinning the 2018 Review and respect for racial equality should be included in the Bill.
  • Health organisations should appoint a responsible person to collect and monitor data on detentions under the MHA, broken down by ethnicity, with annual figures published by Government, and to implement policies to reduce inequalities.
  • Community Treatment Orders are used disproportionately for black and ethnic minority patients and should be abolished for the majority of patients, except those involved in criminal proceedings or under sentence where their continued use should be reviewed.
  • Strengthened duties for Integrated Care Boards and Local Authorities to ensure adequate supply of community services for people with learning disabilities and autistic people to avoid long-term detention.
  • Patients detained or previously detained under the MHA should have a statutory right to request an advance choice document is drawn up.

The Joint Committee conclude by saying:

“During this inquiry we have heard concerns about how the reforms proposed in the draft Bill will play out in practice. We have heard again and again about the importance of proper implementation, resourcing, access to community alternatives to hospital and the need to take account of possible unintended consequences. These concerns should not take away from the broadly positive response to the draft Bill or the sense of urgency about introducing some of its reforms. Our recommendations are intended to strengthen the draft Bill, to address some of those unintended consequences and to ensure transparency and accountability about implementation. If the Government is willing to strengthen the draft Bill in the ways we have suggested it can make an important and necessary contribution to addressing the problems that the Independent Review was established to consider”. 

Despite the “sense of urgency about introducing some of its reforms” the current implementation date for the new Mental Health Act is unlikely to be until 2030.

You can read our collection of blogs summarising the key provisions of the draft Bill below:

Do get in touch if you require support with a mental health matter - we have a friendly and expert team.

Our content explained

Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.

Posted by


Mills & Reeve Sites navigation
A tabbed collection of Mills & Reeve sites.
My Mills & Reeve navigation
Subscribe to, or manage your My Mills & Reeve account.
My M&R


Register for My M&R to stay up-to-date with legal news and events, create brochures and bookmark pages.

Existing clients

Log in to your client extranet for free matter information, know-how and documents.


Mills & Reeve system for employees.