Mental Capacity Act
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) has been introduced to help individuals who cannot make decisions for themselves.
This page offers an overview of the Act, along with further information. We hope you find it useful.
Mental Capacity Act 2005
The MCA affects people who cannot make decisions for themselves due to:
- a learning disability
- a mental health problem
- a head injury
- a drug, alcohol or substance addiction, or
- an acute illness, or the treatment for it.
The Act covers major decisions that affect the individual such as how their finances are managed, or whether they should receive medical treatment or not. The Act applies to the family members, friends and Social Care staff who have contact with the individual who lacks capacity.
The Act also allows us to plan ahead in case we lack the metal capacity to make important decisions in the future, following an accident or illness for example.
The key values that underpin the Act are set out in 5 statutory principles:
- It is always presumed that a person has mental capacity.
- A person must be given support to make their own decisions, if possible.
- An unwise or eccentric decision should not be treated as evidence of lack of capacity.
- Any decision made on behalf of someone lacking capacity must be in their best interests.
- Actions taken in respect of a person who lacks capacity must have the minimum effect possible on their basic rights and freedoms.
Decisions of someone else's behalf
For support and guidance with identifying whether a decision needs to be made on behalf of someone who lacks capacity, please download the flow chart below.