Mental Capacity Act

If you are a professional organisation looking for information on this subject, please go to the MCA page in the council information section.

What is it?

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) protects your money, health and welfare, if you can’t make all your own decisions.

  • You may be unable to make all your own decisions because of dementia, stroke or brain injury or a learning disability or mental health problem.
  • You may have the capacity to make everyday decisions, but not to make larger, more complex decisions.
  • You may have the capacity to make decisions one day but not the next.
  • Your capacity to make decisions might improve or get worse over time.

How does it affect family, friends and unpaid carers?

The Act states everyone should be treated as able to make their own decisions until it is shown that they cannot. A person's ability to make a decision will be established at the time a given decision needs to be made.

It introduces important new safeguards for people who lack capacity and the people who work with, support or care for them. It makes sure decisions made on the person's behalf are in their best interests and provides a checklist of things decision makers must work through. It is underpinned by five key principles which must inform everything you do when providing care or treatment for a person who lacks capacity.

There is a Code of Practice for those who support people who have lost the capacity to make their own decisions.

The Act protects your rights and is relevant to anyone who has a relative or friend who may lack capacity. It covers major decisions about property and financial affairs, health and welfare and where someone lives.

  • It covers everyday decisions about personal care, when the person can’t make those decisions for themselves.
  • It clarifies the process for caring for people who may lack capacity.
  • It clarifies how decisions should be made for your relative or friend if they are unable to make those decisions for themselves.
  • It sets out when you should be consulted about decisions made on behalf of your relative or friend.
  • It sets out how your relative or friend is protected when others are making decisions on their behalf.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)

Vulnerable people, who lack capacity to make their own decisions and do not have relatives and friends to speak for them, will be supported by an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA).
POWhER provide the IMCA service for East Berkshire.

Mental Capacity and how it may affect you