IMCA (Indepedent Mental Capacity Advocacy)

The IMCA (Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy) service is designed to safeguard the rights of individuals assessed as lacking the capacity to make specific decisions in relation to serious medical treatment or changes of accommodation. This service was introduced as part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and ensures people who have an impairment or disability which results in them being unable to make specific decisions, the right to independent advocacy support and representation. The act was further amended in 2009 to include support in relation to Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs).  

The IMCA is a specialist advocate who will have appropriate training and experience to carry out the role.

Anyone can make a referral to the IMCA service but the referral must be approved and signed by the Decision Maker (a health care professional or a social care practitioner). The person being referred must lack capacity and have no family or friends whom it is appropriate to consult during the decision making process.

Referrals can be made for the following reasons: change of accommodation; serious medical treatment; care review; safeguarding adults; Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard (DoLS).

To make a referral complete the referral form and return to Onside (contact details are on the form). More information about the service can be found in the Engagement Protocol.    

Our IMCA leaflet is available to download here:

If you require an Easy Read version of this leaflet it is available here

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IMCA Referral Pack

IMCA Criteria Checklist.pdf

IMCA Engagement Protocol.pdf

IMCA Referral Form - WORD Document

External Links 

Social Care for Institute of Excellence IMCA Information



The Relevant Persons Representative Service (RPR) is designed to support people being deprived of their liberty in care homes or hospitals and where there are no other appropriate or willing family or friends to take on this role. Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) legislation an independent person must be appointed in these circumstances. The Act requires that person is independent from the care home or hospital as well as the local authority and supervisory bodies.

RPR’s protect the rights of people who lack capacity and make sure that their deprivation is lawful, proportionate and in their best interests and visit regularly in order to do this.

The RPR can:

  • ask for a review of the authorisation where necessary
  • apply to the Court of Protection themselves
  • ensure conditions attached to the authorisation are being met
  • support the person to ensure their voice is heard
  • signpost to other specialists and professionals if necessary

Referrals are made to ONSIDE’s RPR service by the supervisory body i.e. the local authority

Our RPR leaflet is available to download here:

If you require an Easy Read version of this leaflet it is available here

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