We are always looking at improving our tools and ensuring that they remain current and up to date as understanding of the MCA continues to develop.
We have spent some time discussing 2 aspects of the capacity assessment tool.
Namely the order in which the 2 stage test of capacity appears and the need to ensure that there is a clear link between a lack of capacity and an impairment or disturbance.
On the order that the test appears, we have decided to keep it as it appears currently, with the diagnostic test coming first. Whilst we acknowledge that technically we should reverse it we believe this best suits the user experience and understanding of the MCA.
To ensure that there is evidence to show the link between a lack of capacity and impairment/disturbance we have now added a question about the causative nexus.
What does this mean?
The MCA code of practice says:
“Anyone assessing someone’s capacity to make a decision for themselves should use the two-stage test of capacity.
Does the person have an impairment of the mind or brain, or is there some sort of disturbance affecting the way their mind or brain works? (It doesn’t matter whether the impairment or disturbance is temporary or permanent.)
If so, does that impairment or disturbance mean that the person is unable to make the decision in question at the time it needs to be made?”
So in other words when considering a lack of capacity the person assessing must believe and prove, on balance of probability that the inability to make the particular decision is a direct result of the limitations caused by the mental impairment/disturbance.