We have a dedicated team who will support you with any questions about the Mental Capacity Act, and deprivation of liberty safeguards. You can also contact us using the details at the bottom of this page.
What is the Mental Capacity Act?
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 helps people over the age of 16, in England and Wales who may not be able to make certain decisions at some point in their life. It can also help people plan ahead for a time they may be unable to make some, or all, decisions. You can find out more about the Act on the Government website.
The decision may relate to some, or all, of the following:
- where a person lives
- care arrangements
- managing money
- care or treatment they have in hospital
The Mental Capacity Act is often referred to simply as the MCA.
Support to make a decision and best interests
If someone is unable to make a decision they may need support. Anyone who supports a person to make a decision must follow the process in the Mental Capacity Act and its accompanying Code of Practice on the Government website.
If a decision is made on behalf of someone, the Mental Capacity Act says that the decision must be in a person’s best interests.
The Mental Capacity Act has a best interests checklist to help you understand what this means in practice. It says a best interests decision being made for you must consider:
- your wishes and feelings (current wishes and any expressed previously), as well as any beliefs and values that are important to you
- any circumstances relevant to you, like:
- the type of mental health problem or physical illness you have
- how long it is going to last
- your age
- if you would normally take this decision yourself
- if you are likely to recover capacity in the near future
- who is caring for you
- whether you will have capacity to make the decision in future and whether the decision can be put off in the short-term
- what support you might need for your involvement in acts done for you and decisions affecting you
- the views of your carers, family, or others who may have an interest in your welfare, or people you have appointed to act for you
There may be other relevant questions depending on your situation. Read more about the Mental Capacity Act 2005 legislation on the Government website.
What can I do to plan ahead for a time where I may lost capacity?
Life can be unpredictable. All of us can find ourselves in unexpected situations. This might include circumstances where we are not able to make decisions about our lives. We can plan for this.
Anyone can appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf in the future or make a legally binding decision to specify any medical treatment you would not want to receive. This section looks at different ways to plan ahead.