Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy

Please note: Mental Health Matters Wales (MHM Wales) will no longer provide this service as of the 31st of May 2024

Therefore this page is for information purposes only. Please contact our Advocacy department as we may be able to offer a different form of advocacy or provide additional information. Telephone 01656 649557

What will the IMCA do?

The IMCA role is set out in the Mental Health Act Code of Practice and includes:

  • Meeting in private with the person who lacks capacity and attempting to communicate with them using whatever means are appropriate.

  • Speaking with the decision maker and any other relevant professionals to understand are appropriate.

  • Getting the views of anybody else who can give information about the wishes, feelings, beliefs and values of the person who lacks capacity.

  • Consulting any relevant records

  • Finding out what support the person who lacks capacity has had or needs, to help them make the specfic decision.

  • Identifying any alternative options

  • Reporting their findings to the decision maker

When should an IMCA become involved?

An IMCA must be instructed for people lacking capacity who have no-one other than paid staff to support them whenever:

  • A National Health Service (NHS) body is proposing to provide, withhold or stop serious medical treatment.

  • A NHS body is proposing to arrange a stay in hospital lasting longer than 28 days.

  • A NHS body or local authority is proposing to arrange accommodation (or a change of accommodation) in a care home for a period of longer than eight weeks.

An IMCA may also be instructed on behalf of a person lacking capacity for:

  • Care reviews, where no-one else is available to be consulted.

  • Adult protection cases, whenever no family or friends are involved.

Are there any exceptions?

The only circumstances where an IMCA need not be involved are situations when an emergency decision is required, such as to provide emergency life-saving medical treatment, or when the person would be homeless unless they were accommodated in a care home.

Who instructs an IMCA?

The person instructing an IMCA is the professional who will ultimately have to make the decision concerning serious medical treatment or change of accommodation, or is responsible for a care review or adult protection case.

For more information, please contact our advocacy department on:

                                01656 649557


The IMCA Service provides Independent advocates for people who are deemed to lack capacity to make certain significant decisions as indentified in MCA 2005 and who, at the time such decisions need to be made, have no-one other than paid staff to support or represent them or to be consulted. 

For more information on IMCA, please  refer to the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 - Code of Practice, Section 10 by clicking on the above guidance.

Will the IMCA be part of the decision making?

The role of the IMCA will be similar in many ways to that of a concerned relative.

They will not be aprt of the decision making, but will provide information that the decision maker must take into accounts when making their decision.

The decision maker may choose to disregards the information or recommendation, but they must show the reason why they have done so

If the IMCA is concerned about the decision that has been made, or is concerned about the deicsion that has been made, or is concerned the decsion make is not acting in the best interests of the lacking capacity, they may go through existing procedures to challenge the decision.