IMCA involvement in accommodation decisions and care reviews

About this guide

This practice guidance concerning the involvement of IMCAs in accommodation decisions and care reviews is published by ADASS and SCIE. It aims to support the work of local authority and NHS staff who may need to instruct and work with IMCAs in relation to accommodation decisions and care reviews. It also sets out good practice for IMCAs.

The guidance was developed by SCIE through consultation with a wide range of stakeholders. Input was received from ADASS, NHS representatives, the DH and Action for Advocacy, in addition to a number of IMCA providers. The focus is on IMCA provision in England, although colleagues in Wales may find the document helpful.

Local authorities and NHS bodies are expected to have a policy setting out the criteria for deciding when an IMCA should be instructed to represent and support people who are having their care reviewed. Example policies for local authorities and NHS trusts based on the guidance are included in the appendices. It is suggested these are used as a starting point for the development of local policies, which should be developed in consultation with the IMCA provider and commissioning body.

About the development of this Guide

Scoping and searching

This guidance is based on legislation and government policy: no comprehensive searching was required (and was unlikely to be productive since IMCAs are a recent innovation). A brief corroborative scope on Mental Capacity Act (MCA) was conducted by the project manager in summer 2010.

Stakeholder involvement

The guide and legal interpretation was based on consultation with ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services), Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) providers, care sector bodies, Public Guardian, Department of Health MCA policy and implementation leads, who together formed the Project Advisory Group (PAG).

Peer review and testing

The Guide was peer reviewed by the Project Advisory Group.  A Mental Capacity Act PAG convened by SCIE for the wider programme of work also reviewed the guide, and ADASS was closely involved.

Additional endorsement

ADASS endorsed the guidance.

NICE accreditation

NICE accreditedNICE has accredited the process used by SCIE to produce guidelines. Accreditation is valid for 5 years from July 2011 and is applicable to guidance produced using the processes described in the SCIE Guide Production Toolkit.

For full details on our accreditation visit: NICE Accreditation.

Statement by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) is the national organisation in England and Northern Ireland representing directors of social care in local social services authorities. ADASS members are responsible for providing or commissioning, through the activities of their departments, the well-being, protection and care of hundreds of thousands of people, as well as for the promotion of their well-being and protection wherever it is needed. Close formal and informal links are maintained with the NHS and with central government in helping to shape and implement policy and social care legislation.

Work on supporting the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005, including the additional Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, is located within the ADASS Mental Health Drugs and Alcohol Network. Greg Slay (West Sussex County Council) has been our lead officer in this work since 2005, recently and ably assisted by Lindsay Smith (Halton Council) and Richard Smith (Telford and Wrekin Council).

We are pleased to be partners with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), the Department of Health (DH), the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and many other organisations in improving practitioner awareness of the MCA 2005.

Moving home is a traumatic experience for most people, and the need for help and reassurance is always important. It is even more important that, where a person lacks the mental capacity to make this decision for themselves, the right support is available, both in planning the move and afterwards. We therefore commend this comprehensive guidance to those in local social services authorities or in the NHS who have a legal duty to refer to the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) service. We believe it will prove to be an invaluable tool to aid effective care practice at the initial involvement stage and later when care arrangements need to be reviewed.

The guidance will also be a useful reference document for the commissioners of statutory advocacy services.

Richard Webb (Sheffield Council) and Jonathan Phillips (Calderdale Council) Co-chairs, ADASS Mental Health Drugs and Alcohol Network