MCA and DoLS

Mental Capacity Act/Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Policy – Updated for 2018

The Safeguarding Adult Boards’ across SET (Southend, Essex and Thurrock) have updated the Mental Capacity Act/Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (MCA/DoLS) Policy, Guidance and Mental Capacity Assessment Form.

The purpose of the document is to provide the framework for assessing people’s mental capacity, as well as assessing best interests in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 including Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards 2009 and Codes of Practice. The policy aims for service users feel they have access to: a) good information and advice b) support in making specific decisions c) flexible care and support and d) risk enablement to allow them to plan and keep control. It is important for practitioners working with MCA/DoLS service users to be familiar with the full policy, guidance and forms, but to help identify the changes we have highlighted below.

  • Causative nexus - is there a causative link between the impairment in the functioning of the brain or mind AND whether the person is unable to make the decision because of this impairment of their mind or brain.
  • Situational incapacity - Lack of mental capacity as a result of an impairment/disturbance in mind/brain must be distinguished from a situation where a person is unable to make their own decision as a result of duress or undue influence.
  • Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR)  - An assessment of mental capacity for important decisions such as a Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) form should be completed when a DNAR is set in place for a person who lacks mental capacity.
  • Young people and the Mental Capacity Act - Where a young person aged 16 and over has mental capacity and does not consent to a decision, their wishes and views must be upheld.
  • The forms have been updated in line with the above sections
  • The forms have been streamlined and separated to allow practitioners to use whichever form is appropriate and necessary.

ECC Prioritisation Tool - for DoLS authorisation requests

Following the Supreme Court ruling on 19 March 2014 with regard to Cheshire West and Chester Council v P, Essex County Council has experienced an unprecedented increase in requests for Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Assessments. 

As a result, the Council has adopted a Prioritisation Tool that is used to assess the risks and help decide on allocation order of assessments.

Key Documents

It is important for practitioners working with MCA/DoLS service users to be familiar with the full policy. Access this, along with the guidance and assessment form below:

MCA and DoLS Guidance *new*

Mental Capacity Assessment Form*new*

IMCA Referral Form  *new*

Best Interests Decision Form *new*

ECC DoLS Statement

ECC Prioritisation Tool

SET Guidance on BIA Re-approval

DoLS - A guide for relevant person's representatives

SCIE Resources

The Social Care Institute for Excellence has an MCA directory and a National Forum

Mental Capacity Act Film

"The MCA isn't a blanket judgement over people's mental capacity."

In this film, Baroness Finlay, Chair of the National Mental Capacity Forum, explains the five principles of the Mental Capacity Act and how it can support care staff with difficult decisions.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)

An IMCA is an advocate who has been specially trained to support people who are not able to make certain decisions for themselves and do not have family or friends who are able to speak for them. 

IMCAs do not make decisions and they are independent of the people who do make the decisions.

Below are details of IMCA providers that are currently commissioned.




Telephone: 0300 330 5499


Write to: IMCA, VoiceAbility, Mount Pleasant House, Cambridge CB3 0RN


Southend & Thurrock

Telephone: 0300 456 237


Write to: PO Box 14043, Birmingham, B6 9BL

Essex Newsletter

PohWER has launched a newsletter for Essex, Southend & Thurrock. You can access these on their website.