Mental capacity and decision making

What is it?

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) protects your money, health and welfare, if you can’t make all your own decisions.

  • You may be unable to make all your own decisions because of dementia, stroke or brain injury or a learning disability or mental health problem.
  • You may have the capacity to make everyday decisions, but not to make larger, more complex decisions.
  • You may have the capacity to make decisions one day but not the next.
  • Your capacity to make decisions might improve or get worse over time.

How does it affect family, friends and unpaid carers?

The Act protects your rights and is relevant to anyone who has a relative or friend who may lack capacity.  It covers major decisions about someone’s property and financial affairs, health and welfare and where they live.

  • It covers everyday decisions about personal care, when the person can’t make those decisions for themselves.
  • It clarifies the process for caring for people who may lack capacity.
  • It clarifies how decisions should be made for your relative or friend if they are unable to make those decisions for themselves.
  • It sets out when you should be consulted about decisions made on behalf of your relative or friend.
  • It sets out how your relative or friend is protected when others are making decisions on their behalf.

You can find out more about mental capacity and how it may affect you on the GOV.UK website.

Useful guides

If you are a professional organisation looking for information on this subject, please go to the adult social are referrals section of this site.