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Introduction to IMCA roles in the MCA DoLS

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.

The document sets out:

  • the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA)
  • what should happen to comply with both the MCA Code of Practice, and the DoLS Code of Practice
  • what is a consensus on good practice.

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:

  • supervisory bodies
  • managing authorities
  • independent mental capacity advocates (IMCAs)
  • paid relevant person’s representatives (paid representatives)
  • best interests assessors
  • mental health assessors.

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.

IMCA roles in the Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards