Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)
The IMCA service is a statutory service created under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to provide safeguards for adults who lack capacity to make certain decisions.
When should a referral be made to the service?
An IMCA MUST be instructed when a person has no ‘appropriate’ family or friends with which to consult and lacks capacity to make a decision about either;
- serious medical treatment
- long term accommodation
An IMCA MAY be instructed when a person lacks capacity to make a decision about either;
- a care review (where the person has no appropriate family of friends to consult).
- Adult safeguarding (regardless of family or friends).
(It is the decision maker’s responsibility to confirm whether family and friends are appropriate to consult.)
The Managing Authority or Supervisory Body can also refer people in relation to Deprivation or Liberty Safeguards. The IMCA can be instructed to:
- Represent a person who is being assessed for an authorization, or where there is an assessment to determine whether there is an unlawful deprivation of liberty.
- Act as the relevant person’s representative (RPR) when no other representative is available.
- Support a person subject to an authorisation or their unpaid representative
What would an IMCA do?
- As far as possible, ascertain the person’s feelings, wishes, beliefs and values.
- Support the person who lacks capacity and represents their views and interests to the decision maker.
- Get the views of professionals and paid workers supporting the person.
- Check the decision being made is in line with the Mental Capacity Act.
- Write and submit a report to the decision maker (which they must take into account before making the decision).