IMCA involvement in accommodation decisions and care reviews
IMCAs may need to raise the following challenges for accommodation decisions and care reviews:
- the person having capacity to make their own decisions about their accommodation arrangements
- whether an accommodation decision represents the person's best interests
- whether a review paid appropriate attention to a person's needs and wishes.
As with all IMCA roles, where there are concerns initially these should be raised informally with the decision-maker. Best interests meetings can be a useful way to address such concerns.
Where significant concerns are unresolved, the IMCA should put these in writing to the decision-maker. The decision-maker should then respond in writing to these concerns. It is suggested that this should be within one week. If things are still not resolved satisfactorily, senior managers from both organisations should be involved.
Where it is still not possible to resolve serious concerns, an application to apply to the Court of Protection should be made. If the case is not initially taken by the official solicitor the application should be made by the responsible body, which should also meet the costs associated with the application. It is likely that an urgent application will need to be made unless both the IMCA organisation and the responsible body agree that any delay would not be detrimental to the best interests of the person.
The urgency of resolving some disputes may in exceptional cases require the IMCA service to make an application to the Court of Protection, or ask for judicial review of a decision. This may need to happen before exhausting local informal and formal resolution methods.
Where there is an ongoing formal challenge to a decision about accommodation, the local authority or NHS body should avoid moving the person somewhere which would make it more difficult for the person if the challenge was sustained. For example, if the IMCA is challenging the decision to move someone from their own home, the local authority should where possible continue to support them in this location until a conclusion has been reached. Similarly. if a person is due to move from one service to another and there is a dispute about where they should move to, wherever possible the person should stay where they are currently living until the matter has been resolved.