IMCA (Independent Mental Capacity Advocate)


What is an IMCA?

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 requires that Local Authorities and NHS bodies must instruct an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) when:

  • An eligible decision is to be made (Serious Medical Treatment; Change of Accommodation)
  • The person has been assessed as lacking capacity to make that decision
  • There are no friends or family willing, able or appropriate to be consulted as part of the best interests decision making process.
  • IMCA instructions can also be made for Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults when protective measures are proposed (irrespective of consultable friends/ family) and for Care Reviews relating to accommodation.


Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)/ Paid Representative

Hospitals and Care Homes must apply for an authorisation to deprive someone of their liberty where this is necessary to deliver treatment or care and the circumstances would not warrant a detention under the Mental Health Act 1983. All referrals to the IMCA Service must come through the appropriate Supervisory Body.

For the avoidance of doubt, Hospitals and Care Homes cannot make referrals directly to the IMCA Service for DoLS support, but must approach the Supervisory Body in the first instance. The Supervisory Body to be approached is the one in which the person will be located at the time of the proposed deprivation of liberty. One Advocacy provides a commissioned Paid Representative Service for residents of Derby City.

If the relevant person is located within or just outside Derby City and requires Paid Representation for an authorised deprivation, One Advocacy Derby may be able to undertake the role on behalf of other Local Authorities. Please contact us directly on 01332 228748 to discuss the costing for us to take on this role.




Referrals for an IMCA can be made by a professional who is ultimately responsible for making the best interest decision (the decision-maker) or someone who has been authorised to make the referral on their behalf (authorised officer).

If you wish to make a referral for this type of advocate then please fill in or download our IMCA form from the referral forms page and submit it to us either via email or post.

If you are unsure if you require an IMCA please call our help line on 01332 228748.