National Mental Capacity Advocacy Day - 27th Feburary 2017

27th February 2017 is the second National Mental Capacity Action Day #mca. Most people, including many professionals don’t know what the Mental Capacity Act is, or what it means for people.

We’ll be using twitter and facebook during the day to post a series of info snippets to help you understand what the Mental Capacity Act says and how Independent Mental Capacity Advocates support people who lack capacity.

The theme for this year's awareness day is around supported decisions and we are using the hashtags #mca and #supporteddecision. 

#mca banner

Below you can find information about


Mental Capacity #mca

Under the Mental Capacity Act, if a specific decision needs to be made about you, professionals can assess whether you have the ability to make that decision. If they decide that you cannot, they will make the decision for you, based on what they feel is best for you.

If you are assessed as lacking capacity to make the decision, and there is nobody that decision makers can consult with, you are legally entitled to get an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA).

#mca assessment criteria


Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) #mca

You are entitled to an IMCA if you are assessed as lacking capacity about a serious decision* and you have no family or friends who can be consulted about what you might want.

An IMCA is there to:

  • Find out about your views, wishes and feelings about the decision. This can be by talking to you and the people you are close to and it may involve talking to professionals who care for you.
  • Communicate your views, wishes and feelings to decision makers.
  • Provide information to you and to the decision makers to help work out what is in your best interests.

IMCAs will check whether decision makers are:

  • applying the principles of the Mental Capacity Act;
  • acting in your best interest;
  • choosing the least restrictive option for you.

An IMCA can challenge decisions made by the decision maker, including the capacity assessment itself. 

IMCAs will be allowed to meet with you in private and can ask to see all relevant health, social services and care home records.

All VoiceAbility IMCAs have specialist skills in working with people who are unable to communicate or find it very hard to express themselves. IMCAs also have specialist knowledge of Mental Capacity Act and other interrelated laws, codes and practices.

#mca imca role

*Long Term Accommodation, Serious Medical Treatment, Care Review, Adult Safeguarding


If I am assessed as not having capacity, is it for all decisions?

No, Mental Capacity is only assessed for specific decisions:

  • Any serious medical treatments
  • A move to a hospital that would be for more than 28 days
  • A move to a care home that would be for more than 8 weeks
  • Your safety or care which is likely to result in you being deprived of your liberty

In addition, your local council, or the NHS decision maker MAY refer you if you lack capacity to make a decision about either:

  • A Care review (if you have no ‘appropriate’ family and friends)
  • A Safeguarding referral (whether you are the victim or alleged perpetrator, regardless of whether you have family and friends)

*If you are assessed as lacking capacity, the assessment only applies to that specific decision.*

Remember – if you are assessed as lacking capacity in any of these circumstances, and you do not have anybody who decision makers can consult with, you are always entitled to an independent advocate

#mca when does it apply?


What are the 5 principles of the Mental Capacity Act? #mca

  • A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he lacks capacity.
  • A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help him to do so have been taken without success.
  • A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he makes an unwise decision. 
  • An act done, or decision made, under this Act for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done, or made, in his best interests.
  • Before the act is done, or the decision is made, regard must be had to whether the purpose for which it is needed can be as effectively achieved in a way that is less restrictive of the person's rights and freedom of action.

#mca principles


Mental Capacity - Isn’t it better for someone if we make a good decision for them? #supporteddecision #mca

Friends, family and professionals may think they are making the best, the right, the only possible decision for someone who has been deemed to lack capacity on a particular decision. They might be right. But they might be basing their decision on their own criteria and what works best for them.

But what should happen is that the person the decision is about should, wherever possible, be supported to make the decision themselves. This isn't always easy, and this is where an IMCA can be invaluable.

mca supported decision making principle

Referral Form - (To be completed by a health or social care professional)

If you would like to make a referral to an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate you can find one here

Click here

Ale'x Story - From Isolated to Engaged #supporteddecision

Alex was spending more and more time alone in his care home, where he lived under a Deprivation of Liberty (DoL) order. Alex's advocate worked with him to find a way to communicate and looked at what activities and support options were available to him. Using their new communication techniques, Alex was able to let staff know what he wanted and a programme of inclusion has been put together. Alex is now happier, and more settled in his home, and staff there are now able to include Alex in decisions about himself. 

Read more

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy

Find out more about the Mental Capacity Act, the role of an independent advocate and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Click here