Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy

Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 came into force in 2007 and introduced the new statutory role of the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) to support people who lack capacity to make certain decisions. Local Authorities and NHS bodies will have a duty to instruct an IMCA to support an individual if they meet the criteria as laid out in the Act.

When should an IMCA be instructed

An IMCA must be instructed where:

There is a decision to be made regarding either serious medical treatment (SMT) or change of accommodation.


The person has no close family or friends to represent their views


The person has been deemed not to have capacity to make that decision in accordance with the assessment of capacity as defined in the Act

A person who is deemed not to have capacity could include:

•    People with learning disabilities  
•    People with physical disabilities
•    People with dementia or mental ill health  
•    People who have had a stroke  
•    People with acquired brain injuries
•    People who are unconscious or in a coma

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