Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)
What is Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy?
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is a law which empowers and protects people who may not be able to make some decisions for themselves because of illness or disability. This is known as lacking capacity. The Mental Capacity Act says that people who are aged over 16 and who lack capacity to make certain decisions should have an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) appointed to represent them and protect their interests.
An IMCA is an advocate who is qualified to work within the framework of the Mental Capacity Act.
When can I get an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate?
An advocate will be appointed where a person lacks capacity and has no family or friends who can be consulted about the decision. An advocate can be appointed when the decision involves;
- Serious medical treatment
- Change of accommodation
- Adult Safeguarding Procedures (even when there are family/ friends involved)
- Care Reviews
- Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards – DoLS (See guide below).
What will an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate do?
An advocate will meet and support the person to find out about their wishes, feelings and values. They will represent the person at meetings and challenge decisions if they do not appear to be in the person’s best interest. An advocate will check that the principles of the Mental Capacity Act are being followed and that alternative options are being considered for the person. The advocate will write a report for the decision maker which must be taken into account when the decision is being made.
How do I get an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate?
Referrals for the IMCA service need to be made by a professional such as a doctor or social worker. Guidance notes for professionals are available here.
Referral forms for professionals are available below and should be securely emailed using password protection or via Egress to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions about eligibility or referrals please telephone 0161 214 3904
Manchester Advocacy Hub has introduced a delay to all allocation for IMCA and DOLS services. Cases will be allocated based on IMCA availability. During this delay time the Hub would like to direct all referrers to the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice 10.3:
Has the individual who is deemed to lack capacity (after a capacity assessment has been carried out) have no one to represent them or no one who is appropriate to consult?
Situations where an urgent decision is needed can proceed without an IMCA being in attendance, therefore decisions made in the best interest of the individual can be made to avoid delay. (10.46/10.47/10.57).
Relating to DOLS, we would encourage that family and friends are in the first instance spoken to regarding the DOLS and Relevant Person’s Representative role.
For more detailed information about the Mental Capacity Act or the role of the IMCA please click here.
For an easy read guide to the Mental Capacity Act click here.
For information about the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards click here.
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. Advocates work in partnership with the people they support and take their side. Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice.