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IMCA information for people who instruct IMCAs

Legal requirements

People who instruct IMCAs are required to take into account any information given or issues raised by an IMCA. This includes having regard to the IMCA’s report before the decision is made.

The IMCA report

IMCAs are required to produce a report for the person who instructed them. They may include in the report anything that they consider appropriate in relation to the action or decision that is being considered.

In some cases it may not be possible for the IMCA to have completed their report before a decision is made. In these cases people who instruct IMCAs should ensure that the IMCA has had an opportunity to report verbally on any matters that they believe are relevant to the decision.

Will the IMCA report say what the IMCA thinks is in the person’s best interests?

The IMCA report should not state whether the IMCA agrees or otherwise whether a proposed decision is in the person’s best interests. This is because the IMCA is not the decision maker. The report should instead identify whether the process of decision-making has followed the Mental Capacity Act (MCA). It should also identify any views or wishes the person may have expressed that the decision maker should have regard to.

Working with IMCAs

It is good practice for people who instruct IMCAs and IMCAs to maintain good communication. This would include having a common understanding of timescales and sharing, at the earliest opportunity, information which may be relevant to the other person’s role.

What happens if a decision goes against issues raised by the IMCA?

If the decision goes against any representations made by the IMCA it is helpful for the decision maker to give their reasons for this – preferably in writing. This would demonstrate that the decision maker has met their legal obligation of having taken into consideration the representations made by the IMCA. It could also help the IMCA understand the decision taken – for example, the decision maker may have information that was unknown to the IMCA or it could show how they have weighed up different factors.