IMCA/DOLS

The IMCA role Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Sometimes a vulnerable person who lacks capacity needs to be restricted in order to provide treatment or care which is necessary in their best interests to protect them from harm. The degree and level restrictions may amount to a deprivation of liberty (DOL).

 

On 1st April 2009 it became a requirement by law to apply for anauthorisation in order to deprive someone of their liberty. To do thisthe managing authority (the hospital or care home which is, or will be,depriving the person of their liberty) must put in an application to the supervisory body. The supervisory body (SB) will then carry out a series of 6 assessments to decide if it is right to deprive the person (known as the relevant person) of their liberty.

Sometimes a vulnerable person who lacks capacity needs to be restricted in order to provide treatment or care which is necessary in their best interests to protect them from harm. The degree and level restrictions may amount to a deprivation of liberty (DOL).

 

On 1st April 2009 it became a requirement by law to apply for anauthorisation in order to deprive someone of their liberty. To do thisthe managing authority (the hospital or care home which is, or will be,depriving the person of their liberty) must put in an application to the supervisory body. The supervisory body (SB) will then carry out a series of 6 assessments to decide if it is right to deprive the person (known as the relevant person) of their liberty.

 

Under certain circumstances, a DOLS IMCA can be instructed to act in a number of different ways. When there is no family member, friend or appropriate person (known as the relevant person’s representative – RPR) to support the relevant person (RP) through this process the SB will appoint a DOLS IMCA. Once the application has been approved the SB can also instruct a DOLS IMCA either to support the RP, the relevant person’s representative (RPR) – or both, or to act as the RPR themselves if no representative is available.

What is a Dols IMCA

A DOLS IMCA is a specialist advocate. They work with people from all vulnerable client groups with all nature of impairments that can leave someone lacking capacity. They are independent of the MA and SB, and they safeguard the rights of people who lack capacity. The role of a DOLS IMCA is different to that of a general IMCA in 3 ways

  1. They only deal with issues relating to deprivation of liberty applications/authorisations
  2. DOLS referrals to our service are received by us directly from the SB – after they receive an application for DOL from the MA
  3. The relevant person must be 18 years old or over.
What will the IMCA do

The SB can instruct a DOLS IMCA to take on one of the following roles

 

Section 39A DOLS IMCA – To act when the RP is unbefriended (has no RPR). The SB will instruct a DOLS IMCA to represent the person during the assessment process, with a particular focus on the ‘best interest’ assessment. The assessment process must be completed within 7 days for urgent authorisations, where a DOL is already happening or 21 days for a standard authorisation where there is a proposed DOL. The 39A DOLS IMCA role is similar to the original IMCA role including

  1. Enabling RP participation
  2. Seeking and evaluating information
  3. Finding alternatives, challenging (if appropriate)
  4. Submitting a report to the SB around the values, wishes and beliefs of the RP in relation to the decision

The 39A DOLS IMCA also has additional rights and responsibilities including access to authorisations and assessments plus the right to take the RP’s DOLS case to the Court of Protection.

 

Section 39C DOLS IMCA – To act, after the authorisation has been granted, as the RPR (where none is available). The IMCA will represent and assist the RP during the period of the authorisation.

 

Section 39D DOLS IMCA – To support the RP, the RPR or both – after the authorisation has been granted. The IMCA will represent and assist the person, their representative, or both during the authorisation period.

 

In the role of both 39C DOLS IMCA and 39D DOLS IMCA they help either the RP, their representative or both to understand: The effect of the authorisation, what it means, why it has been given, why the person meets the criteria for authorisation, how long it will last, any conditions to which the authorisation is subject and how to trigger a review or challenge in the Court of Protection.

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