Independent Mental Capacity Advocate

How to find an independent voice for people lacking capacity to make certain important decisions

What is an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate?

The role of the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) service is to provide independent safeguards for people who lack the capacity to make certain important decisions and at the time that such decisions need to be made they have no-one else to support or represent them or who can be consulted.

An IMCA must be instructed and consulted when:

  • an NHS body is proposing to provide serious medical treatment
  • an NHS body or local authority is proposing to arrange accommodation (or a change of accommodation), whether in a hospital or care home, where the person will stay in hospital for more than 28 days or in a care home for more than eight weeks

An IMCA may be instructed to support someone who lacks capacity to make decisions concerning:

  • Care reviews – where no-one else is available to be consulted
  • Adult protection cases, whether or not family, friends or others are involved.

The Joint Guidance on Instructing IMCAs (PDF, 294KB) outlines the role and responsibilities of IMCAs and when they should be instructed to act.

Full details regarding the statutory requirements of the IMCA are provided within Chapter 10 of the MCA Code of Practice.

The IMCA Service in Suffolk is provided by Total Voice Suffolk, a partnership led by VoiceAbility, as part of their delivery of all formal independent advocacy in Suffolk.

Information about the role of an IMCA and referral forms can be found on the Total Voice website.

Please direct all enquiries and referrals to Total Voice on 01473 857631 or 07770 014062 or the national referral line on 0300 330 5499.