FAQ Co-decision-making agreement

This is not a term in the 2015 Act. The Decision Support Service uses the term ‘decision-supporter’ to refer to a person who has been appointed as a:

  • decision-making assistant under a decision-making assistance agreement
  • co-decision-maker under a co-decision-making agreement
  • decision-making representative under a decision-making representation order
  • attorney under an enduring power of attorney
  • designated healthcare representative under an advance healthcare directive.

The type of support they can provide depends on the decision support arrangement in place.

Ideally, a decision supporter will be a family member or trusted friend.

At the upper tier of support, the person may not have someone who is available and suitable to act as a decision-making representative. The Decision Support Service will recruit and maintain a panel of people who are suitable to act as decision-making representatives. The court can ask us to nominate two decision-making representatives from this panel and the court can choose to appoint one of them.

You can find out more about decision supporters under each agreement by clicking on the link to our Services page.

This is the middle tier of support.To be a co-decision-maker, you must be 18 years and over. You must be known and trusted by the person appointing you.

There are some circumstances where you cannot be a co-decision-maker. You can find out more about who can be a co-decision-maker our Co-Decision-Makers page.

You can only appoint one co-decision-maker in a co-decision-making agreement. However, if you wish to have different co-decision-makers for different types of decisions, you can appoint them under separate co-decision-making agreements.

Yes, you can register a decision support arrangement with us by clicking on our link via our MyDSS portal. You can access our portal through the portal link on the Decision Support Service website in the top right-hand corner of the screen. You can find out more by clicking on the link on our Useful Links page.

A capacity assessment looks at a person’s ability to make a decision for themselves. The assessment used is called a ‘Functional Test’ for capacity. This means the assessment is about a specific decision that needs to be made at a specific time. You may not make a blanket assessment that a person has no capacity.

Applying the functional test, a person can be said to lack capacity to make a decision if they are unable to do one of the following:

  • Understand information relevant to the decision,
  • Retain that information long enough to make a voluntary choice,
  • Use or weigh up that information as part of the process of making the decision,
  • Communicate their decision in whatever way they communicate (not only verbally).

Under the new law, everyone is presumed to have capacity at all times. The first step is to support people to make their own decisions. In some circumstances there may be a reason to question a person’s capacity to make a certain decision. The person who requires the decision to be made will often be the best person to do the capacity assessment. This could be, for example, a lawyer, doctor, or a person providing financial services.

There are also limited circumstances where the capacity assessment has to be undertaken by healthcare professionals. This is during the process of registering a co-decision-making agreement or enduring power of attorney. Formal statements from healthcare professionals are required to register these arrangements

There will be fees to register a co-decision-making agreement and an enduring power of attorney. These fees have been set by regulation. You can view a full list of all our fees by clicking on the link fees in the resources section of our website.

Some people may not have to pay a fee. This will depend on your household income and any dependents you have. You can view information on the criteria for obtaining a fee waiver as well as the process for applying in our resources section by clicking on the link resources section of our website.

There are also costs related to making an application to court to make a decision-making representation order. Some people may be able to get legal aid to help with this, this could include legal representation. For more information on this, contact the legal aid board.

We have the authority to investigate complaints about decision-making arrangements and decision supporters. You will find our complaints form on the forms section of the website. You can email or post this form to us.

You can also contact the complaints team on 01 211 9750 or email complaints@decisionsupportservice.ie.