IMCA and paid relevant person's representative roles in the Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Introduction

This practice guidance describes the role of Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs) and paid representatives in the Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (MCA DOLS). It is published by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS). It was developed by SCIE with contributions from the Department of Health, ADASS and IMCA providers. It brings together the experience of the first two years of the Mental Capacity Act 2005: Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

The document sets out:

The language used throughout this document identifies which of the above applies. References are given to the relevant sections of the MCA and Codes of Practice.

This document has been produced for:

This practice guidance will be helpful for anyone who is involved with people who may be subject to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, and who therefore need to know when and how IMCAs and paid representatives should and could be involved. Other people who would find this document useful include the person subject to the DOLS, family members acting as the person’s representative, and staff working in services where someone may be deprived of their liberty.

The guidance covers the legislation in both England and Wales.

Examples are given to show what IMCAs and paid representatives may do in practice. They are based on real situations but have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the people involved.  Their aim is only to illustrate these roles and so contain limited information about why an authorisation was sought. They should not necessarily be seen as appropriate uses of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

Endorsement by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) is the national organisation in England and Northern Ireland representing directors of social care in local social services authorities. (Directors of local social services authorities in Wales and Scotland have separate arrangements.) ADASS members are responsible for providing or commissioning, through the activities of their departments, the wellbeing, protection and care of hundreds of thousands of people, as well as for the promotion of their wellbeing and protection wherever it is needed. Close formal and informal links are maintained with the NHS and with national government in helping to shape and implement policy and social care legislation.

Within ADASS the work on supporting the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, including the additional Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, is located within our Mental Health Drugs and Alcohol Network. Greg Slay (West Sussex County Council) has been our lead officer in this work since 2005, recently and ably assisted by Lindsay Smith (Halton Council) and Richard Smith (Telford and Wrekin Council).

ADASS members continue to work in partnership with the Social Care Institute for Excellence, the Department of Health, the Office of the Public Guardian, the Care Quality Commission and many other organisations in improving practitioner awareness of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The important role played by the introduction of the Mental Capacity Act’s Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in 2009 has been clearly understood and embraced by local social services authorities in England. This new guidance, published by the Social Care Institute for Excellence, complements earlier practice guidance documents on both the commissioning and operation of statutory independent mental capacity advocacy services. This guidance will help managing authorities and supervisory bodies to better understand the complexities associated with supporting those individuals who need to be, and are, subject to these specific safeguards.

We wholeheartedly endorse and recommend this guide to you.

Richard Webb (Sheffield Council) and Jonathan Phillips (Calderdale Council) Co-chairs, ADASS Mental Health Drugs and Alcohol Network

April 2011