IMCA resource - frequently asked questions

Is the IMCA the decision maker?

No. The role of the independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA) is to ensure that the person’s feelings and wishes are included in the decision-making process. They also check that decisions are being made in line with the Mental Capacity Act (MCA). IMCAs cannot, for example, consent to someone receiving medical treatment. Instead their report might say that the doctor has followed the best interests framework in making their decision. Where an IMCA has serious concerns about the decision-making process, they are expected to instigate a formal challenge.

What qualifications do IMCAs have to have?

The IMCA regulations specify that it is for local authorities to decide what training and experience is required for people to work as an IMCA in their area. The MCA Code of Practice sets the expectation that all IMCAs will have undertaken a four-day training programme. More recently, the Department of Health stated that before undertaking the roles associated with the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, IMCAs should have attended the two-day course commissioned by the department.

Click here to find out about qualifications in independent advocacy.