The Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) service
When does an IMCA not need to be instructed?
IMCAs do not need to be instructed if:
• a person who now lacks capacity previously named a person
that should be consulted about decisions that affect them, and
that person is available and willing to help
• the person who lacks capacity has appointed an attorney, either
under a Lasting Power of Attorney or an Enduring Power of
Attorney, and the attorney continues to manage the person’s
• the Court of Protection has appointed a deputy, who continues
to act on the person’s behalf.
However, where a person has no family or friends to represent them,
but does have an attorney or deputy who has been appointed solely
to deal with their property and affairs, they should not be denied
access to an IMCA. The Government is seeking to amend the Act, at
the earliest opportunity, to make it clear that, in such circumstances,
an IMCA should always be appointed to represent the person’s views
when they lack the capacity to make decisions relating to serious
medical treatment or long-term accommodation moves.
What is meant by ‘having nobody else who is willing and able
to be consulted?’
The IMCA is a safeguard for those people who lack capacity, who
have no one else other than paid staff who ‘it would be appropriate
to consult’ (apart from adult protection cases where this criterion
does not apply). The safeguard is intended to apply to those people
who have no network of support, such as close family or friends,
who take an interest in their welfare.
Decision-makers in the NHS and local authorities will need to
determine if there are family or friends who are willing and able
to be consulted about the proposed decision. If it is not possible,
practical and appropriate to consult anyone, an IMCA should be
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