In Wales, certain vulnerable individuals are eligible for the support of an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA), as defined in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
An IMCA will be appointed in situations where the person has no-one other than paid staff to support, represent them or be consulted.
What is the role of an IMCA?
The IMCA provides an independent safeguard if someone lacks capacity to make certain important decisions about their own well-being outcomes at the time they need to be made.
One example might be when a decision needs to be made about the person’s long-term accommodation and whether their needs would be better met in a residential care setting.
The IMCA will encourage the person who lacks capacity to be involved - as much as possible - in decisions that affect their lives and will try to find out their views in a private meeting.
The IMCA will not make decisions on someone’s behalf but will provide information that the decision-maker must take into account.
The IMCA can challenge a decision if they feel that the decision maker has disregarded the information they have presented and is not acting in the best interests of the individual.
An IMCA may be instructed for care reviews in situations where someone has no-one else to be consulted and/or in a safeguarding case, whether or not family and friends are involved.