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:
- The IMCA service being commissioned by more than one local authority in a geographic area. This gives IMCAs the opportunity to work flexibly across a number of areas to meet varying demand for the service.
- Commissioning the IMCA service as part of a wider local advocacy service. Advocates would be able to balance a case load of IMCA and non IMCA work.