Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy
Establishing an Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy service for Durham
“What is an independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA)?
When a person who lacks mental capacity has to make a serious decision about treatment or where they live, an independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA) is appointed to support and represent them. The IMCA voices the person's wishes, feelings, beliefs and values and they make the decision maker aware of all relevant information. They can also challenge the decision maker” (Dept. for Constitutional Affairs)
The responsibility for setting up the service has been handed to Social Care & Health. They have received £79,000 from the Department of Health to pay for the service; this probably equates to 2 workers and does not include funding for setting up the service or training.
Lesley Tickell (Head of Service, Mental Health, Learning Disabilities & Substance Misuse for Durham Social Care & Health) has been given the lead for establishing a service in this area; though the Mental Capacity Act has implications throughout the service including for acute care.
The belief is that neither the current Representational Advocacy Service (RAS) nor ‘Spiral Skills’ (Citizen Advocacy) currently have the necessary skills to meet the demands of advocating under the Mental Capacity Act. The act is quite long, complicated and has numerous implications for the way people are treated so a specialist legal understanding would be a necessary component of the work/skills requirement.
Social Care & Health are therefore looking to see if another organisation already exists with the necessary basic skills basis to take on the work; whether RAS or ‘Sprial Skills’ can be given the required training or whether they need to set up something in house.
Pat Stewart (Social Care Lead, Adult Mental Health) has emailed other areas to see if they have found a solution but has so far only had one response.
Bearing in mind that the service is required to be 24/7 and the limited resources available, Social Care & Health will also be looking at the possibility of providing the service jointly with other areas. The other problem is that the demand for this service is as yet unknown though potentially extensive.