Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy [IMCA]

Who can refer and instruct an IMCA?

A Local Authority [including the Supervisory Body] or NHS representative can refer for an IMCA. The ‘decision maker’ can refer and we can also accept referrals from involved professionals if the referral meets the below criteria. This is because they have a legal duty [Mental Capacity Act 2005] to instruct an IMCA when they identify someone as lacking the mental capacity to make a specific decision regarding a permanent change of accommodation, serious medical treatment, or during a safeguarding process. It is also their decision if involved persons can be considered ‘appropriate to consult’ within the guidance of the Mental Capacity Act.

When can you refer and instruct an IMCA?

An IMCA can be instructed if the following criteria are ALL met:

  1. There is a ‘specific decision’ which needs to be made, and,
  2. the person has been assessed as lacking mental capacity to make the decision, and,
  3. the person has nobody ‘appropriate to consult’.

What ‘specific decision’s’ do we support people with?

The decisions which we provide IMCA’s for are:

  • Permanent changes of accommodation (COA)
  • Regarding ‘serious medical treatment’ (SMT)
  • During safeguarding investigations (SG)
  • Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard (DoLS) - MCA: Schedule A1: s.39A, s.39C, or, s.39D

What we can do?

  • We can request, obtain and collate information relevant to the decision
  • We can evaluate the relevant information in relation to the persons wishes and rights
  • We can make representations on the persons behalf
  • We can challenge decisions if we feel the persons best interests, wishes or rights are not adequately represented
  • We can instruct solicitors on people’s behalf (if required)
  • We have the right to consult the person in private

What we cannot do?

  • We cannot make decisions without consulting the person
  • We cannot support people who are ‘assumed’ to lack mental capacity
  • We cannot mediate between family members, friends and/or the Local Authority
  • We cannot support outcomes which are not in the persons best interests
  • We cannot continue to provide support to a person once the decision has been made

What happens next?

Our IMCA’s will end their involvement once the decision has been made, or, if the decision is transferred to the Court of Protection for a decision.

If you are interested in finding out more about our IMCA’s, please contact us.

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