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Schedule to be inserted as Schedule AA1 to the Mental Capacity Act 2005

Part of Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 22nd January 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 10:30 am, 22nd January 2019

We are, largely, starting on the same page. We all agree that advocacy is of the utmost importance for the cared-for person. The Bill is clear that everyone has a right to an advocate, whether an appropriate person, an IMCA or, in some cases, both. The Bill sets out clearly that, if no appropriate person is available or able to represent and support a person, the responsible body must take all reasonable steps to appoint an IMCA, if the person has capacity and requests an IMCA and wherever a person lacks capacity, unless in very rare cases it is not in their best interest, as my hon. Friend the Member for Halesowen and Rowley Regis mentioned.

I thank hon. Members for recognising in the amendment the wishes of the cared-for person as a condition for appointment, as we would not wish to force advocacy on anyone. The Bill already allows an appropriate person to request the support of an IMCA. However, I am concerned about the way in which that best interest has been discussed today. Best interest is the standard that governs decision making under the MCA. I am concerned that the Opposition are disregarding that in relation to IMCAs. I apologise if I have misinterpreted what hon. Members have said. The core aspect of best interest is the person’s wishes and feelings. That has to be the primary consideration when it comes to rights and IMCAs.