Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) Who is an Appropriate Person?
Appropriate Person and Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs):
The Appropriate Person is a new role introduced in the new Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019. This person will not likely be a professional within the Responsible Body, but rather it is someone that can provide support and representation to a person going through the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) assessment process and subsequent authorisation – for example, a family member, friend or someone who knows the person well, who is willing to support and represent them. A volunteer from a 3rd sector organisation could also undertake this role.
The Appropriate Person’s main role is to provide the wishes, feelings and views the person has about their care, ensuring the person is involved in the process.
They will be a vital safeguard for the person and their human rights throughout the assessment process and for the duration of the LPS authorisation, whether for one year or up to three years.
The Appropriate Person can challenge a decision to deprive someone of their liberty, or conditions applied to the deprivation of liberty, by taking the matter to the Court of Protection.
If a Responsible Body feels the Appropriate Person is not suitable, they will appoint an alternative Appropriate Person or an IMCA.
What is the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate role?
An Independent Mental Capacity Advocate or IMCA is a fully trained and qualified professional who is there to provide information, support and representation to a person who lacks capacity to consent to arrangements being proposed through the LPS process. They are appointed by the Responsible Body as soon as practicable after they receive a referral to support (where an Appropriate Person or a suitable 3rd sector Volunteer cannot be identified) and the IMCA will represent the person through the assessment, ensuring they have a voice. They will also support and represent the person for the duration of the LPS authorisation.
However, if the person has previously said that they would not wish to be represented by anyone, an IMCA would not be appointed. This may have been when the person previously had capacity to make this decision and there is no reason to believe that this has changed.
An IMCA can also be appointed to support an Appropriate Person to understand their role.
An IMCA can challenge a decision to deprive someone of their liberty, or conditions applied to the deprivation of liberty, by taking the matter to the Court of Protection.