Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)
There is a legal duty for an IMCA to be instructed where:
- there is a decision to be made regarding either serious medical treatment (SMT) or change of accommodation (COA)
- the person has been deemed not to have time and issue specific capacity to make that decision
- the person has no close family or friends who are appropriate or practical to consult
IMCAs can be instructed for Care reviews:
- Accommodation reviews only
- Where Accommodation is or will be longer than 12 weeks
- Significant changes to care plan
- And - No friends or family to consult
- And – client lacks capacity
- Consideration should be given to instructing an IMCA for the first accommodation review following a placement. It is good practice to instruct for subsequent accommodation reviews until person has fully settled and care arrangements are clear.
IMCAs can be instructed for Safeguarding Adults cases as follows:
- Abuse must have taken place or be suspected
IMCA cannot be involved if there are no issues around suspected or proven abuse.
- Protective measures proposed or undertaken
If there are no protective measures then the client would not be eligible for IMCA. Measures should be around a life changing decision. If the proposed measure is around finances for appointee or deputyship then these decisions are made by DWP or COP and IMCA cannot challenge their decisions
- Lack capacity for proposed protective measures
The client must be assessed as lacking capacity to consent or decide for themselves around the proposed measures.
- Clear benefit to the client
Code of Practice states there must a clear benefit to client to have an IMCA involved. Purely auditing decisions may not be a clear benefit for client.
- For victims or person(s) suspected to have caused harm
Both victim or person suspected of abuse may have the same rights under the Mental Capacity Act and you may instruct an IMCA to represent
either or both (We can allocate cases to separate advocates where there is a possibility of conflict of interest).
- Regardless of family/friends involvement
Safeguarding Adults cases are the only times when an IMCA can become involved regardless of whether there are appropriate, willing and able family or friends. However you must still be confident that having an independent person will be of clear benefit to the client.
- Intractable Conflict of Views about what is considered to be in the best interests of the client.
- Client strongly indicates their views are not being taken into consideration by the decision maker.
- Regional and Local protocols apply
If you are making a referral to IMCA for safeguarding case then you should always alert your local safeguarding lead.