An Independent Mental Capacity Advocate is also known as an IMCA.
The role of an IMCA is part of the safeguards under the Mental Capacity Act. There is a specific criteria for who can access an IMCA. In some circumstances there is a legal duty for a person to have support from an IMCA. The information below outlines:
Social Care Institute for Excellence provides excellent further detailed information https://www.scie.org.uk/mca/imca/do
People who have been found
IMCAs are primarily intended to be a safeguard for people who do not have family or friends who can represent them. The MCA identifies this as having no one other than paid staff with whom "it would be appropriate to consult". The Code of Practice 10.74 - 10.78 provides more information about how this decision can be made. For example, if someone has limited family contact or if family live some distance away an IMCA can be instructed
An IMCA can also be instructed for:
Care Reviews, where a person’s review is part of a Care Act process e.g. assessment or support planning then there is a duty to instruct a Care Act Advocate.
Adult Protection but generally a person will be eligible for a Care Act Safeguarding advocating instructed by the local authority.
IMCAs must be instructed by the local authority supervisory body for people who are being assessed as to whether they are currently being, or should be deprived of their liberty where there is no-one “appropriate to consult”.
IMCAs must also be made available to people who are subject to a standard authorisation in the following circumstances:
IMCAs can only work with an individual once they have been instructed by an appropriate person/ body. For accommodation decisions and care reviews this is likely to be the local authority or CCG responsible for the arrangements. For serious medical treatment decisions this will be a medical practitioner who has responsibility for the person’s treatment. For adult protection cases this will be the local authority coordinating the adult protection proceedings. For the IMCA roles in DOLS this will be the Supervisory Body. (https://www.scie.org.uk/mca/imca/do).
When making a referral it is important that key information is gathered. Please use this link to Who we can help and referrals information page to access the relevant referral information for your area including the referral forms.
DAD ask referrers to take into account the time needed to undertake their role fully to get to know the person, gather further information and prepare a report.
The IMCA referral form should include the key information needed which includes:
IMCAs should raise any issues and concerns with the decision maker. This could be done verbally or in writing. IMCAs are required to produce a report for the person who instructed them. In most cases this should be provided to the decision maker before the decision is made.
People who instruct IMCAs must pay attention to any issues raised by the IMCA in making their decision.
In many cases IMCAs will be able to resolve any concerns they have with the decision maker before the decision is made. Where this has not been possible IMCAs may formally challenge the decision-making process. They can use local complaint procedures or try to get the matter looked at by the Court of Protection
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