Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy, DoLS and Paid Representation
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 sets out a legal requirement to assist vulnerable people who lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about serious medical treatment and changes of accommodation. This is known as Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA).
An IMCA will be appointed if you have been assessed as lacking capacity, and have no-one else appropriate to support you with the process or decision. Our IMCA’s will meet with you and other people who know you, and consider information about you. Then they will provide a report to the decision maker to inform the decision they are making to ensure it is in your best interests.
An IMCA can also be appointed in adult protection/safeguarding cases and care reviews if required (although it is likely that there will be a statutory duty to offer a Care Act Advocate in these situations).
An IMCA also provides a role within Deprivation of Liberties Safeguarding.
If you have been assessed as lacking capacity and the Local Authority is considering whether to restrict your liberties to keep you safe, you are entitled to an IMCA if there is no one else appropriate.
The safeguards are intended to protect service users by preventing arbitrary decisions that deprive vulnerable people of their liberty. If they do need to be deprived of their liberty the safeguards are intended to provide representatives, rights of appeal and for the “deprivation” to be reviewed and monitored. In this case, an IMCA would similarly gather information about you, and your life, to inform the decision and ensure it is made in your best interests.
All referrals for a DoLS IMCA need to come through the Local Authority.
The Paid Representative Service is an area of work created by the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS).
Anyone deprived of their liberty will have a representative appointed, preferably a family member or suitable close acquaintance. However, if they do not have anyone who can act in that way for them, they will be appointed a paid representative who must be independent of the Local Authority or Primary Care Trust who appoints them.
The role of the representative is:
- To maintain contact with the person
- To represent and support them in all matters relating to DOLS, including, if appropriate, triggering a review, using an organisation’s complaints procedure on the person’s behalf or making an application to the court of protection.
How to access the IMCA services
Referral to this service is usually by the decision maker (others can make the referral but the decision maker should be aware) using this referral form.
Use this Accessing Statutory Advocacy flowchart to check if you have a legal duty to refer the person for advocacy.