Practice guidance on the involvement of Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs) in safeguarding adults

When the IMCA will stop working with the person

It is recommended that to protect the independence of the IMCAservice, decisions about when the IMCAstops representing a person at risk are ultimately made by the IMCAservice.

Generally, IMCAs will stop representing a person at risk when they are satisfied that decisions about protective measures comply with the MCA . This is likely to be after the safeguarding planning meeting. On occasion it may require the IMCAstaying involved until, and attending, the first review of the safeguarding plan.

Before ending work with an individual, the IMCA must submit an IMCA report which should address compliance with the MCA.

Good practice is for the IMCA to formally write to the safeguarding manager (and the instructor if different) advising them that they have ended work with the person at risk.

The IMCA may make recommendations about other advocacy support – possibly suggesting that an IMCA is instructed for a future review of the safeguarding plan. 

If the instructing body feels that an IMCA is no longer required, this should be discussed with the IMCA . An example would be if the person at risk has been reassessed as having capacity regarding the protective measures. Where an instruction is formally withdrawn the statutory IMCA role ends. In exceptional cases the IMCAservice may have unresolved concerns about the decision-making process. In such circumstances the IMCAservice may pursue informal or formal challenges, including complaints and application to the Court of Protection. If any further action is taken after an instruction is withdrawn, IMCAs need to recognise that they no longer have, for example, the right to meet the person or access relevant records.

Good practice points

The decision about when to stop representing a person at risk, once instructed, should be made by the IMCA and not the instructing body.

The IMCA must for every person at risk submit an IMCA report and notify the safeguarding manager (and instructing body if different) in writing when they end their work.

The IMCA should consider making recommendations about other advocacy support, including the option of an IMCA being instructed for a future safeguarding plan review.

If instruction is withdrawn the statutory IMCA role ends. This does not preclude the possibility of the IMCAservice challenging the decision-making process.