Understanding the Mental Capacity Act 2005

Many people live with conditions which may impact on their decision-making capacity.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is concerned with the human rights of individuals whose decision-making capacity may be impaired. It supports parents, carers and the professionals who work with them to protect the rights of individuals, promotes dignity and respect and their best interests.

The Mental Capacity Act exists to help make sure that people who may lack capacity to make decisions on their own get the support they need to make those decisions.

When they are not able to make their own decision, the Mental Capacity Act determines that a decision must be made ‘in their best interests’.

It is important to remember that a person may have capacity for some decisions but not others or they may have capacity at some times but not others. This means all capacity decisions must be regularly reviewed.

Mental Capacity Toolkit

Bournemouth University have produced a toolkit to help support health and care professionals working with individuals whose decision-making capacity is limited, fluctuating, absent or compromised.

Mencap – The Mental Capacity Act

Mencap have lots of useful information about assessing mental capacity and the Mental Capacity Act on their website. They have also produced a useful resource pack.

Involve Me

Involve Me was a project about ways of involving people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) in decision-making and consultation. They have produced a summary booklet, an evaluation and a practical guide.

Deprivation of Liberty

Deprivation of liberty is when a person who may lack mental capacity is deprived of their liberty which means they are not free to come and go as they choose. This might be done so that they can be given care and treatment in a specialist environment such as a hospital or care home.

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) will be replaced by the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) in 2022/23. They are contained within the Mental Capacity Act to protect people in these circumstances.

If a person’s right to liberty is deprived in other settings, an authorisation must be obtained from the Court of Protection.