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

Meeting the varying level of IMCA instructions

IMCA providers have very limited control over both the number of, and timescales for, individual IMCA instructions. This can make managing the flow of work challenging, even without unpredicted staff absences.

Commissioning should focus on how the IMCA provider does, or would, efficiently manage a varying workload. This is particularly important in local authorities with relatively small populations.

The original guidance suggested that a number of part-time advocates (who may combine the specialist IMCA role with other forms of advocacy) would provide a more flexible service than, for example, one full-time advocate. This has proved to be effective in many local services.

In many local authorities, efficient commissioning of the IMCA service will involve one or both of the following: