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Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy

The Mental Capacity Act sets out the rights of people who are unable to make their own decisions.

The Act sets out processes which must be followed when a person can´t make their own decisions.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy

The Act sets out processes which must be followed when a person can´t make their own decisions:

  • Who can take decisions for that person
  • In what situations
  • How these decisions must be reached.

The Act has five key principles which must be followed:

  1. It must be assumed that a person has capacity until proven otherwise
  2. People should be supported to make their own decisions
  3. People should not be treated differently as if they lack capacity just because they have made an "unwise" choice
  4. When a person lacks capacity everything done for them must be in their best interests
  5. All decisions made must be the least restrictive of freedom.

The role of the (IMCA)
Independent Mental Health Advocate

An IMCA´s role is to support people who may lack capacity to ensure that decisions are taken appropriately.

Local Authorities and NHS Bodies have a legal duty to instruct an IMCA when making the following decisions for a person:

  • Serious medical treatment (Section 37)
  • The Local Authority is proposing to arrange accommodation for someone for longer than 8 weeks (Section 38)
  • The NHS Body is proposing to arrange accommodation for someone for longer than 28 days (Section 39)
  • IMCA´s may also act during
  • Care Reviews
  • Adult Protection

What an IMCA will do:

  • Represent a person
  • Establish a person´s feelings, wishes, values, and beliefs where possible
  • Be an independent support for a person during decision making processes
  • Safeguard a Persons Rights as set out in the Mental Capacity Act
  • Consult with those around an individual
  • Review Health and Social Care Records (Section 35(6)(b)) and other relevant information
  • Get second opinions
  • Review different options for a person
  • Challenge decisions when needed
  • Produce reports to inform decision makers
  • Refer a person on for ongoing Advocacy Support.

What an IMCA will not do:

  • Access a person´s capacity
  • Make decisions for a person or a decision maker
  • Replace the role of decision maker
  • Work with a person forever.