North Wales Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

CADMHAS also offer Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy in Conwy and Denbighshire

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 introduced the role of the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA).

IMCAs are a legal safeguard for people who lack the capacity, and who do not have family or friends to support them, to make specific important decisions about:

  • Serious medical treatment
  • Change of accommodation.
  • Care Reviews.
  • Adult Protection.

Serious Medical Treatment

An IMCA must be instructed and consulted when:

An NHS body is proposing to provide, withhold or stop serious medical treatment

 Care Reviews.

The Mental Health Act 2005 clearly places a duty on Health and Social Care professionals to instruct an IMCA during:

Care Reviews for people in accommodation arranged by the local authority

Reviews undertaken by the NHS for people receiving Continuing Healthcare

Care Plan reviews taking place for inpatients


The regulations set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, specify that local authorities and the NHS have powers to instruct an IMCA during the adult safeguarding process; if the following requirements have been met:

Safeguarding measures are being put in place in relation to the protection of vulnerable adults from abuse*

  • a person who may have been abused*
  • a person who has been neglected*
  • a person who is alleged to be the abuser*
  • *where the person lacks capacity

When these criteria have been met, the NHS or local authority have a legal obligation to instruct an IMCA

 Change of Accommodation.

An IMCA must be instructed and consulted when:

  • An NHS body is proposing to place/move a person in hospital for longer than 28 days
  • An NHS body or local authority is proposing to arrange/change accommodation in a care home for more than 8 weeks

The IMCA role is to support and represent the person in the decision-making process. IMCAs make sure that the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is being followed.


The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) give additional rights and responsibilities to an IMCA, other than those assigned to them by the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Chapter 3 of the DOLs Code of Practice provides a detailed list of those rights and responsibilities.

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) is included in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and came into force on 1 April 2009.

The safeguards are designed to protect the interests of vulnerable people and to:

  • Ensure they can be given the care they need in the least restrictive regimes.
  • prevent arbitrary decisions that deprive people of their liberty.
  • provide safeguards for people.
  • Provide them with rights of challenge against unlawful detention.
  • Avoid unnecessary bureaucracy.


The Mental Capacity Act DoLS apply to anyone:

  • Aged 18 and over
  • Who has a mental disorder, such as dementia or a significant learning disability.
  • Who lacks the capacity to give informed consent to the arrangements made for their care and/or treatment.
  • For whom deprivation of liberty (within the meaning of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights) is considered, after independent assessment, to be necessary in their best interests and to protect them from harm.
  • The safeguards cover patients in hospitals, and people in care homes registered under the Care Standards Act 2000, whether placed under public or private arrangements.

If you would like any more information about IMCA and Dols please contact us on: 01745 816501.

CADMHAS covers Conwy and Denbighshire but we also work in partnership with ASNEW who are based in Mold, covering Flintshire and Wrexham and MHAS based in Bangor who cover Anglesey and Gwynedd.

To download our referral form please follow the link below.  Please make sure you send the referral form back to the organisation covering your area.

To download our poster please click on the poster below.

To down load our leaflet please click on the download link below


For more information about the role of an IMCA please follow the link below:

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