Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy is a statutory service provided under the Mental Capacity Act (2005), which aims to empower and protect people who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves.

In accordance with the Mental Capacity Act referrals must be made for individuals in the following circumstances:

  • The person is aged 16 or over
  • A decision needs to be made in the person’s best interests about either a long-term change in accommodation or serious medical treatment
  • The person to be referred has been assessed as lacking capacity to make that specific decision at the time it needs to be made
  • The person does not have a family member or friend who is ‘appropriate to consult’
  • The person has not executed a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare
  • There is no Court of Protection appointed Deputy who continues to act on the person’s behalf in relation to health and welfare.

Also, if the person is or may be deprived of their liberty an IMCA can provide support

  • During an assessment under the Deprivation of Liberty (DoLS 39A)
  • Between the appointment of a Relevant Person’s Representative when an authorisation is in place (DoLS 39C)
  • To the relevant person’s representative (DoLS 39D)
  • Within the role of a paid relevant person’s representative

Please note that whilst an IMCA can also support with a care review or safeguarding enquiry, a Care Act referral is often more appropriate than an IMCA referral.

Referrals for an IMCA can be accepted from any third party. However, we can only take formal instructions from the decision maker who is responsible for the overall decision.  All referrals in relation to DoLS must be made by the Supervisory Body.