IMCA & Mental Capacity Act Newsletter
Advocacy and Mental Capacity Act Resource, Support and Information Agency

Welcome to our February newsletter!

Below you'll find information on new training we'll be delivering as well as the opportunity to book on to previously advertised training. We have news about two pieces of forthcoming guidance that are in the process of being developed - on the role of Litigation Friend and Assessing Financial Capacity, as well as links to recent reports and articles about the Mental Capacity Act. We welcome any feedback on either subjects you'd like to see included in our newsletters, training suggestions, as well as any responses you can offer for either of the two pieces of guidance that are detailed below.

Assessing Financial Capacity

Empowerment Matters has been commissioned by the Department of Health to write guidance on assessing capacity in relation to financial decision-making. Decision specific capacity in relation to financial matters may not be well understood or practiced and as a result people who have capacity to make everyday financial decisions are disempowered and have no control over their finances.

We are keen to hear from people who have views about what such guidance should include and to find out what would best help practitioners who have responsibility for carrying out financial capacity assessments.

Please take part in our survey. It takes about 10 minutes to complete:


Forthcoming Training

Non-instructed advocacy for Independent Mental Health Advocates

IMHAs will often support people eligible for their service who can describe their issues and the support they want. What about those people who are eligible but are very unwell and lack the capacity to refer themselves to the service? These clients may not be able to be fully involved in decisions about their own care and treatment; or the nature of their mental disorder e.g. dementia, means they may not retain information about what the IMHA service can do and as a result miss out on vital independent advocacy representation. It is appropriate to use non-instructed advocacy in this situation and the Code of Practice advocates this, but how does that actually work in practice? Who refers the patient and what is the IMHA’s role if the person cannot tell you what they want or need? What skills are needed and how does the IMHA explain their role to patients and to mental health professionals?

This course is for IMHAs who want to improve their non-instructed advocacy skills. Through attending this course, advocates will be able to:

•    Understand the need for non-instructed advocacy in a mental health setting.
•    Develop practical non-instructed advocacy skills using a variety of methods.
•    Use a framework to plan and manage non-instructed advocacy cases.
•    Identify relevant ethical and professional boundaries

Cost of the course: £95
Date: 3rd April 2014 - Manchester

To book a place please click on the following link:

Report writing and using case law for IMCAs

IMCAs need to be able to produce quality, well-evidenced reports that provide decision makers with information about their investigations and are a thorough representation of their client’s situation.

The IMCA’s report is an important document that can influence the decision to be made in their client’s best interests. Writing high quality reports, containing all the necessary information and using relevant case law to ensure maximum impact is not easy when managing a busy caseload.

This course is aimed at IMCAs who want to improve or refresh their report-writing skills and gain confidence in using up-to-date case law in their reports. There have been some significant cases in the Court of Protection during the last year that may affect clients or have implications for IMCA practice. The course will look at how best to represent your client through the IMCA report and will examine a range of judgments in the Court of Protection and how they can be used in reports.

Through attending the course IMCAs will be able to:

•    Review and evaluate the report writing template they currently use.
•    Identify the components of a good quality report.
•    Adapt reports depending on the type of decision.
•    Identify how to write a good conclusion.
•    Use relevant case law in IMCA reports.
•    Use the IMCA Report Writing Evaluation tool.

Cost of the course: £95
Date: 11th April - Manchester 
To book a place please click on the following link:

Date: 8th May - London
To book a place please click on the following link:

Litigation Friend Seminars

We still have some places on the following seminars
Thursday 20th March - Venue: Irwin Mitchell, Newcastle 
(10.30 - 1.30pm)

Tuesday 1st April - Venue: Irwin Mitchell, Sheffield
(10am - 1pm)

Thursday 17th April - Venue, Irwin Mitchell, Manchester
(10am - 1pm)

Wednesday 7th May - Venue, Irwin Mitchell, Birmingham
(10am - 1pm)

Seminar Fee: £25 - To book a place please click on the link next to the date & venue you would like to attend.
The seminars will cover the following:

- An overview of the role of litigation friend.

- Expectations and responsibilities of a litigation friend.
- Who can be a litigation friend and why the role is necessary.
- Challenges and issues that may arise when carrying out this role.

The seminars are open to anyone working in the area of mental health and mental capacity law, Court of Protection and safeguarding but may be of particular interest to:

- IMCAs and IMHAs
- Non statutory advocates
- Safeguarding leads
- Best Interest Assessors
- DoLS and MCA leads

There will be time for discussion as well as questions with both speakers.


Why commissioning of mental capacity advocacy must change to protect the rights of vulnerable

Read our recently published Community Care article, based on the series of litigation friend seminars we've been delivering, on the issue of how commissioning practices are restricting advocates ability to challenge council decisions in the Court of Protection:

Litigation Friend Guidance

The Department of Health has recently commissioned Alex Ruck Keene, barrister at 39 Essex Street to write guidance on 'How to be a litigation friend'. Alex is keen to hear from IMCAs who have carried out this role to find out about your experiences, including what it was like, any difficulties you encountered  and including any issues your organisation have come across in carrying out this role. Alex is happy to be contacted via:

Care Quality Commission & Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

The CQC recently published their monitoring of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards 2012/2013 which encourages IMCAS sharing their experience with others in regards to clients requesting reviews of their authorisation or challenge authorisation through the Court of Protection. For further details please click on this link:
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