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Relevant Persons Representative

This information is to help you understand and fulfil your role as a relevant person's representative (RPR). As an RPR, you are appointed to support a person who is deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (MCA DoLS).

A person is deprived of their liberty to prevent them from coming to harm. The MCA DoLS exist to ensure that no one is deprived of their liberty without good reason, and that if someone needs to be deprived of their liberty, the person still has specific rights.  

Every person that has been deprived of their liberty under the terms of MCA DoLS must have a RPR to protect their interests throughout the process.  

The main role as a RPR is:

  • to maintain regular, face to face contact with the person being deprived of their liberty 
  • to represent and support the person in all matters relating to the MCA DoLS, including, requesting reviews, complaints about an organisation, requesting the appointment of an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate or making an application to the Court of Protection  
  • to provide support that is independent of the relevant person's commissioners and service providers

Your responsibilities as the RPR

Who can be an RPR? 

A relevant person's representative can be a friend or family member who will ensure that the rights of a person being deprived of their liberty are protected.  

In cases where no friends or family member is willing or eligible, a paid representative will be appointed.  

To be eligible for the role of the relevant person's representative, you must be:

  • 18 years of age or over
  • able to keep in contact with the relevant person
  • willing to be appointed

You must not be:

  • financially interested in the hospital or care home where the relevant person is being deprived of their liberty, or be a relative of a person who has a financial interest
  • employed by or providing services to the care home in which the relevant person is residing
  • employed by the hospital in which the relevant person is residing in a role that is, or could be, related to their treatment or care
  • employed to work in the relevant person's supervisory body in a role that is, or could be, related to the relevant person's case

If you think that you may not be eligible to act as the RPR for any reason, you must contact the supervisory body immediately.

Acting in the best interest of the person you represent

According to the 'best interests' principle of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA), anything done to or on behalf of someone who lacks the capacity to make their own decisions must be in their best interests. You must follow this principle.  

The MCA gives a list of what you need to think about when working out what is in a person's best interest, for instance:

  • the person must be involved in any decision made on their behalf if possible
  • if there is a chance that the person may regain capacity and be able to make the decision, can the decision be delayed
  • the wishes and feelings of the person, including views they have expressed in the past, should be used to understand what their wishes might be
  • any beliefs or values a person holds may influence their decision-making process
  • if the decision is about life-sustaining treatment, the decision must not be motivated by a desire to bring about the person's death
  • if there are other factors that the person would be likely to consider if they are able to do so, these should also be considered

The RPR should consult with carers, lasting power of attorney and anyone who has an interest in the relevant person's welfare.

Maintaining regular contact 

As the RPR, your name should be recorded in the person's health and social care records. There must be regular face-to-face contact with the person being deprived of their liberty to make sure their interests are being safeguarded. The hospital or care home where the person is, should allow visits at reasonable times. If you have insufficient contact with the relevant person for whatever reason, they may not have full opportunities to have their case reviewed or to appeal against their deprivation of liberty to the Court of Protection. 

Complying with the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice

A RPR has a legal duty to comply with the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice. Find out more information on the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice on the Government website.

 

Your rights as an RPR 

Support from managing authorities 

Managing authorities and supervisory bodies should keep you informed about sources of support and information available to help you. They will help you access support of an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA). 

When a standard deprivation of liberty authorisation is given, the managing authority must make sure that you understand:

  • the effect of the authorisation 
  • the formal and informal complaints procedures that are available
  • your right to request a review
  • your right to make an application to the Court of Protection to seek variation or termination of the authorisation
  • your right, where the relevant person does not have a paid 'professional' representative, to request the support of an IMCA
  • your rights, and how to exercise them

Legal representation: the right to an IMCA 

Both you and the person who is deprived of their liberty have a statutory right if access to an IMCA. It is the responsibility of the supervisory body to instruct an IMCA if you request one.  

The IMCA will give you extra support if you need it and will help you make use of the review process and the Court of Protection. You only have access to an IMCA if you are an unpaid RPR. 

The IMCA can also help you understand:

  • the purpose and effect of the authorisation
  • why the person meets the criteria for authorisation
  • how long the authorisation will last
  • any conditions to which the authorisation is subject
  • your rights and how to exercise them

The IMCA will have the right to make submissions to the supervisory body to provide relevant information for assessors. They can also request reviews of qualifying requirements.  

You can request support from an IMCA more than once during the period of authorisation.

Your rights in brief

As an RPR you have the right to receive:

  • a copy of a standard authorisation from the supervisory body
  • any written information given to the relevant person about the effect of a standard authorisation as soon as practicable after it is given to the relevant person
  • notice from the supervisory body that a standard authorisation has ceased to be in force
  • notice from the supervisory body that a standard authorisation has been suspended 
  • notice from the supervisory body that a standard authorisation has ceased to be suspended 
  • notice from the supervisory body that it is to conduct a review
  • notice from the supervisory body of the outcome of a review 
  • copies of MCA DoLS assessments from the supervisory body 

You also have the right to:

  • make a submission to the supervisory body about the use of an existing assessment as an 'equivalent' best interest's assessment
  • request a review of a standard authorisation
  • give information, or make a submission, to an assessor 
  • be consulted by section 39A IMCA before the IMCA exercises any power of challenge of an urgent or standard authorisation to the Court of Protection

For more information about your rights as an RPR view the Mental Capacity Act 2005: New Schedule A1.

There are also formalities when appointing a representative which are stated in The Mental Capacity (Deprivation of Liberty: Appointment of Relevant Person's Representative) Regulations 2008.

It states that you have the right:

  • to receive a written copy of the offer of appointment setting out duties and period of appointment
  • to receive a written copy of the regulation 12(4)(a) of the appointment from the supervisory body
  • to be notified by the supervisory body when Regulation 14(1) of the RPR the appointment is to terminate

 

Finishing your work as an RPR

Your work as an RPR will finish when the relevant person's authorisation comes to an end. Your work as an RPR can end earlier if:

  • you no longer wish to continue in the role
  • the supervisory body is concerned that you are no longer keeping regular contact with the relevant person or acting in their best interest

If your role is terminated, the supervisory body should inform you of the date when their role will come to an end and tell you the reason.  

Your appointment will be terminated if:

  • the standard authorisation comes to an end and a new authorisation is not granted
  • the relevant person objects to you continuing in your role and selects a different person
  • an attorney or deputy objects to you continuing in your role as the RPR
  • the supervisory body believes that you are no longer eligible to continue in the role
  • the supervisory body becomes aware that you are not keeping in touch with the relevant person or that you are not acting in their best interest
  • you die while the MCA DoLS authorisation is still in place
  • you inform the supervisory body that you are no longer willing to continue as RPR

If the supervisory body believes that you are no longer keeping in touch or acting in the persons best interest, you will be contacted before they decide to terminate your appointment.  

You may be asked who an appropriate replacement would be.

 

What happens when there is no RPR available?

If there is no one to support and represent the person, the managing authority must notify the supervisory body, who will then instruct an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) to represent the person until a new representative is appointed.  

The role of the IMCA then becomes the same as the RPR until there is a suitable RPR available.

 

When a Deprivation of Liberty is in place it can be reviewed at any point to assess whether: 

  • a person still meets the qualifying requirements for being deprived of their liberty 
  • any conditions attached to the authorisation need to be changed

You can request a review as the representative by using this Deprivation of liberty letter. (PDF) [88KB]