Appointment of mental health officers
54.A local authority is required by section 32(1) to appoint for its area sufficient mental health officers for the purpose of discharging the functions of such officers under the Act, the 1995 Act and the 2000 Act. Mental health officers carry out a range of functions, including consenting to the granting of a short-term detention certificate under Part 6, and making an application for a compulsory treatment order under Part 7.
55.Subsection (2) sets out the requirements for being appointed as a mental health officer, which will include requirements on registration, qualifications and experience as directed by the Scottish Ministers.
56.Subsection (3) operates so that persons already appointed as mental health officers on the day section 32 comes into force are deemed to be appointed under that section. Effectively, such persons simply continue as mental health officers.
57.A local authority must provide or secure the provision of training of mental health officers in accordance with directions given by the Scottish Ministers, both to enable new mental health officers to be appointed and for those continuing as mental health officers (subsection (4)).
58.Subsection (5) provides for the circumstances in which a local authority is required to terminate the appointment of a mental health officer. The validity of anything done by that mental health officer before termination occurs is unaffected (subsection (6)).
59.Subsection (7) provides that the directions by the Scottish Ministers referred to in paragraphs 54 and 56 above, must be given to local authorities together rather than individually.