Mental Capacity Act

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) provides a statutory framework for people over the age of 16 years, who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves, or who have capacity and want to make preparations for a time when they may lack capacity. There is a legal duty to comply with the act when making decisions on behalf of individuals who lack the mental capacity to make particular decisions for themselves.

The act is underpinned by 5 statutory principles:

  • a person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that they lack capacity
  • a person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help him to do so have been taken without success
  • a person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he makes an unwise decision
  • an act done, or decision made, under this act or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done, or made, in his best interests
  • before the act is done, or the decision made, regard must be had to whether the purpose for which it is needed can be as effectively achieved in a way that is less restrictive of the person’s rights and freedom of action.

Guidance on how to apply the act can be found in the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice.

This information is for professional social care staff and volunteers from our partner agencies and services within Kent.

Supreme Court judgement - 20 March 2014

The Supreme Court provided a very important judgement in relation to deprivation of liberty in the cases of Cheshire West and P&Q, which is of major importance to social services and health departments.

If your work is with DOLS issues you need to read the latest updates and understand what the implications are.