Frequently Asked Questions

Members of the public

I have a housing issue can I have an advocate?

This would depend where you live, the issue and if we have a service in your area. Specific information can be gained from Citizens Advice(CAB) and Shelter.

Can everyone have an advocate?

No, not everyone can have an advocate as we have specific projects for specific issues. However, if we are unable to support you we will try to signpost you to the right organisation.



Can I involve an IMCA if there is a family dispute about what is in a persons best interests?

The Mental Capacity Act code of practice stipulates that IMCA’s cannot be involved where there is someone else who is eligible to be consulted and is being consulted merely because of a dispute (see below):

Taken from the MCA: 10.79: If a family disagrees with a decision-maker’s proposed action, this is not grounds for concluding that there is nobody whose views are relevant to the decision.

See point 5.65 ofthe MCA for advise on how to proceed.

Do I need an IMCA or a Care Act advocate in a Care Review?

Care Act advocate – Before the Care Act 2014 came into force the only statutory route to an advocate for a person who lacked capacity subject to a care review was via the discretionary power to instruct an IMCA around a review of accommodation.

However after the Care Act 2014 came into force a new legal duty was created under the Care Act which required local authorities to instruct a Care Act advocate or all eligible persons.


Care Act Advocate

An IMCA must be involved in the following decisions:

Change of accommodation

Serious Medical Treatment

An IMCA may be involved in the following:

Safeguarding enquiry

Care Review  (following a change of accommodation)

A Care Act Advocate must be involved in the following local authority processes:

Needs Assessment

Preparation of a care and/or Support Plan

Review of a Care and/or Support Plan

Transition Assessment

Safeguarding Adult Enquiry/Review

Representation of Concerns

The person being referred must have been assessed as “lacking capacity to make the decision relating to a change of accommodation or serious medical treatment

Both clients and carers can be referred. The person being referred must have been judged as having “substantial difficulty” in being involved in one of the processes

The person being referred must be unbefriended i.e. no family or friends that it would be appropriate to consult with in the best interest decision

The person being referred does not have anyone else appropriate to support them through the process (unless 1 of the 3 exceptions apply)

An IMCA is instructed once a decision has been made that a person requires a change of accommodation

An advocate working under the Care Act would become involved in accommodation issues much earlier – looking at whether the present accommodation is meeting the current care and support plan

The role of the IMCA is to gather information for the decision maker to use during the best interest decision making process

The role of the Care Act Advocate is to support the person to engage fully in the local authority process

An IMCA will formally produce a report which contains the relevant information they have ascertained

An advocate working under the care Act is not required to produces written reports unless they would like to raise formal concerns

An IMCA will check the decision making process has followed the principles underpinning the Mental Capacity Act

An advocate working under the care act can check the IMCA principles have been followed, but they will also promote the wellbeing principle under the Care Act

An IMCA will support and represent the person who has been assessed as lacking capacity to make a decision

An advocate working under the Care Act can support both the Client and their Carer (unless a conflict of interest requires 2 separate Advocates offering support)

How do I refer for RPR, IMCA DoLS and IMCA?

RPR DoLS office to send Form 11, plus forms 3, 4 and 5 to Referrals team Referrals emailIdeallya Form 1 is also helpful.

IMCA DoLS-DoLS office to send Form 11 and Form 1 to Referrals team(email above).

IMCA –Change of accommocation, Care Review, Safeguarding, Serious Medical Treatment -IMCA Referral form to be completed by decision-maker or professional and sent to Referrals team(email above). This is different to IMCA DoLS.

Do I need to complete all the sections on your IMCA/Care Act form?

No. If you are requesting an IMCA you would need to complete part 1, 2, 3 and ONLY section H.

If you are requesting a Care Act advocate you would need to complete part 1, 2, 3 and ONLY section I.