Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy was introduced as part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

This gives people who have an impairment, injury or a disability which results in them being unable to make a specific decision for themselves, the right to receive independent support and representation.

Your local council, or the NHS decision maker MUST refer you if you have no ‘appropriate’ family and friends who can be consulted and you have been assessed as lacking the capacity to make a decision about:

  1. Any serious medical treatments
  2. A move to a hospital that would be for more than 28 days
  3. A move to a care home that would be for more than 8 weeks
  4. Your safety or care which is likely to result in you being deprived of your liberty

In addition, your local council, or the NHS decision maker MAY refer you if you lack capacity to make a decision about either:

  1. A Care review (if you have no ‘appropriate’ family and friends)
  2. A Safeguarding referral (whether you are the victim or alleged perpetrator, regardless of whether you have family and friends)

Role of an independent mental capacity advocate

An IMCA is there to:

  1. Find out about your views, wishes and feelings about the decision. This can be by talking to you and the people you are close to and it may involve talking to professionals who care for you.
  2. Communicate your views, wishes and feelings to decision makers.
  3. Provide information to you and to the decision makers to help work out what is in your best interests.

IMCAs will check whether decision makers are:

  1. applying the principles of the Mental Capacity Act;
  2. acting in the person’s best interest;
  3. choosing the least restrictive option for the person.

An IMCA can challenge decisions made by the decision maker, including the capacity assessment itself.

IMCAs will be allowed to meet with you in private and can ask to see all relevant health, social services and care home records.

All Advocacy Matters IMCAs have specialist skills in working with people who find communication difficult or find it very hard to express themselves. IMCAs also have specialist knowledge of Mental Capacity Act and other interrelated laws, codes and practices. You can learn more about your rights under Deprivation of Liberty Standards – DoLS by downloading the Deprivation of Liberty Standards.

How to refer

Advocacy Matters is part of the Birmingham Advocacy Hub. We deliver the service in partnership with POhWER, East Birmingham Collective, deafPLUS and Birmingham Mind.

The single point of access for the Birmingham Advocacy Hub is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) and can be contacted by:


Call 0300 456 2370


0300 456 2364


Send the word ’pohwer’ with your name and number to 81025




0300 456 2365


PO 14043 Birmingham B6 9BL