Commissioning and monitoring of Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) services

Supporting the independence of the IMCA service

The draft service specification said that IMCA providers should be independent of the local authority, with their own constitution, code of practice and complaints procedure.  It also said that the IMCAs will be managed by, and primarily accountable to, the advocacy organisation that recruits and employs them, thereby maintaining their independence from the local service providers.

There are significant risks to the independence of IMCA providers because they are commissioned by local authorities who are responsible for many of the decisions IMCAs are instructed for. For example, the IMCA provider may need to take formal action against the local authority in relation to an accommodation decision.

Good practice is for commissioners to identify the means of safeguarding independence in funding agreements and contracts. This would include the following: