The Mental Health Act approvals function, for the approval of Section 12 doctors and Approved Clinicians, roles with specific responsibilities under the Act, is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. The approvals function is currently carried out by four regional suppliers, appointed by open competition. It is currently the role of the four suppliers to manage the application and approvals process of Section 12 Doctors and Approved Clinicians.
Certain duties under the Mental Health Act are reserved only to clinicians approved under the Act as 'Approved Clinicians' or 'Section 12 Doctors' - it is unlawful for those duties reserved to these roles, relating to the assessment for detention and to the treatment of patients, to be performed by people who are not approved.
The Mental Health Act Approvals Function is split in four geographical regions, the intention is again to award a separate contract for a service to cover each region.