POhWER Advocacy Services in Hounslow

Note on identifying suitable relatives to support decision makers

The legal duty to refer to the IMCA service should not be bypassed by identifying distant relatives, friends or family who have not been in contact with the individual for a considerable period of time or who have not taken an interest in the individual’s welfare and/or care.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005’s Code of Practice states the following: The IMCA is a safeguard for those people who lack capacity, who have no-one close to them who ‘it would be appropriate to consult’. (This is apart from adult protection cases where this criterion does not apply.) The safeguard is intended to apply to those people who have little or no network of support, such as close family or friends, who take an interest in their welfare or no-one willing or able to be formally consulted in decision-making processes.

The Act does not define those ‘whom it would be appropriate to consult […] Section 4(7) provides that consultation about a person’s best interests shall include among others, anyone:

  • named by the person as someone to be consulted on a relevant decision
  • engaged in caring for them, or
  • interested in their welfare.
rating button