IMCA involvement in accommodation decisions and care reviews
When there is no one appropriate to consult
The MCA requires IMCAs to be instructed for accommodation decisions where ‘there is no person, other than one engaged in providing care or treatment for P in a professional capacity or for remuneration, whom it would be appropriate for them to consult . . .’ (Sections 38(1)b, 39(1)b).
The option to involve an IMCA in care reviews has the same condition of there being ‘no person … who it would be appropriate … to consult’ (MCA 2005 (IMCA) (Expansion Regulations) 2006, Section 3(c)).
The MCA Code of Practice says that the IMCA safeguard is intended for ‘those people who have little or no network of support, such as close family or friends, who take an interest in their welfare or no one willing or able to be formally consulted in decision-making processes’ (10.74). It provides guidance about when an IMCA should be instructed in cases where a person has some contact with family or friends:
- where relatives live overseas or rarely visit (10.77)
- where friends or neighbours are unable to attend meetings or are unwilling to be included formally in the decision-making process (10.79).
Family disagreeing with proposals is not in itself a justification for instructing an IMCA (10.79). Similarly, it is not necessary for such a family member or friend to be available to attend meetings as long as they have the opportunity to contribute to them in another way – for example, by speaking to a social worker before and after a meeting.