Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

02nd March 2016

Review of MCA tests

I have recently been asked to review some mental capacity tests for people I support. A deadline was set, I explained to my boss that following the MCA Codes of Practice, this was not possible and also how can you review? Surely the capacity test has to be re-done if there is a decision to be made. What should I do?

Dear Richard,

You are correct that when a decision is made on behalf of a person that may lack capacity the presumption is that the person has the capacity to make the decision and therefore an assessment has to be made about a particular decision and following that a best interest assessment if the person is found not to have the Mental Capacity to make the decision.

I think that the assessment you are being asked to make is part of a regular review process to ascertain whether or not there has been any changes in the general health of the individual.

You presumably have access to the policies and procedures of the service and you should look at that and discuss your concerns again with your Manager.

When the Mental Capacity Act came into law the Department of Health commissioned a series of guides for professionals working in Health and Social Care.

One was commissioned for Health and social care workers and remains current: Making decisions: a guide for people who work in health and social care (OPG603)

 The guide says:

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) applies to everyone in England and Wales involved in the care, treatment or support of people who are:

  • Aged 16 and over;
  • Unable to make all or some decisions for themselves.

The guidance is an overview of the MCA. The Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice has more detail and examples.

I think you will find this helpful.

You can obtain a copy of this guidance from the Department of Health website:

I hope this is helpful guidance about what has always been a complex subject.


*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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