Koha - a helping hand

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA)

The Mental Capacity Act came into force in 2007 and provides clear guidance for everyone working with people who may lack the mental capacity to make certain decisions.

Everyone working with a person who lacks capacity has a legal duty to understand what the MCA Code of Practice has to say about their responsibilities under the Act.

The Act is very much about enabling people to make their own decisions whenever possible. It lays down five statutory principles for the guidance of staff and professionals and details a two stage process for assessing a person's capacity to make a decision.

The Mental Capacity Act and making decisions for the future

The MCA also allows for those who have capacity to make arrangements for a future where they have lost the capacity to make decisions in the form Advance Decisions and Lasting Powers of Attorney (both for health & welfare decisions & financial & property decisions).

The Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy Service

There is a legal requirement for the Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy Service to be involved in certain circumstances.  An IMCA is an important safeguard to protect the interests of a person lacking capacity who has no friends or family to support them.

The Court of Protection

The Mental Capacity Act introduced a new Court of Protection (CoP). The CoP deals with all matters relating to people who lack the capacity to make certain decisions (including financial, health and welfare decisions).  For example, the Court decides on cases where professionals and family members disagree about what is in a person's best interests.

Two new criminal offences of wilful neglect and ill-treatment of a person who lacks capacity were also introduced with the MCA.

More information about Mental Capacity Act (MCA) training courses from Koha.



Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

DoLS apply to people in hospitals, or care homes registered under the Care Standards Act 2000, whether they are placed under public or private arrangements. The safeguards are part of the MCA. There is a Code of Practice for the DoLS and this should be used in conjunction with the MCA Code of Practice.

Some people will lack capacity to consent to or refuse care or treatment but will need to be deprived of their liberty, in their own best interests, in order to provide care and treatment and to protect them from harm. The deprivation of liberty safeguards provide protection for people when they are deprived of their liberty in such situations. An authorisation to deprive a person of their liberty can be challenged in the Court of Protection.

If a person is ( or will be ) deprived of their liberty, the care home or hospital must make a request to their Supervisory Body for authorisation. The Supervisory Body must then arrange for two assessors to establish whether the circumstances of the person meet the necessary criteria to allow the safeguards to be used. If the assessment shows that the the circumstances do not meet the criteria the assessors will direct that care or treatment is provided in a less restrictive way.

If there is no family member or friend available to support the person being assessed (known as the 'relevant person') through the assessment process the Supervisory Body must appoint an IMCA. The IMCA will support the person through the  assessment, especially regarding best interests.

Once a person is subject to an authorisation under the deprivation of liberty safeguards, the law requires that they be provided with a Relevant Persons Representative. The Relevant Person's Representative is usually a family member or friend but where nobody is available to fulfil this role the Supervisory Body must appoint a paid person to the role. The Relevant Person's Representative is completely impartial and there to protect the interests of the person subject to the safeguards.

More information about Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) training from Koha



Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults

The following courses are available:

  • Introduction to Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults and the Law

Contact Koha for more information or to discuss your Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults training needs


"The training course that I attended on the Deprivation of Liberty and Mental Capacity Act was excellent. The information provided about these clinically important and complex pieces of legistalation was clear and concise with the opportunity for discussion of complex cases that I could directly relate to my ongoing clinical work. It is essential training for all health care professionals and I found the format in which Viv presented information extremely useful and user-friendly. "

Dr Rachael Ayres, Clinical Psychologist, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery

"Viv provided Deprivation of Liberty training to team leaders/managers in Islington. The sessions proved to be thoroughly engaging and thought provoking for all delegates who attended. Her knowledge of the Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty safeguards was excellent and provided delegates with the tools to improve understanding in their service areas."
Rachel Adelson-Kettle, London Borough of Islington.

I found it immensely helpful – a really comprehensive learning experience which updated and greatly enhanced my understanding of the Mental Capacity Act.  I was also very impressed by the flexible and person-centred way you conducted the training, addressing and meeting the diverse needs of CASA’s staff group with regard to understanding and implementing the act in practice.

Michael Fox
Senior Practitioner
Older Persons' Service