Free course

Understanding mental capacity

Free statement of participation on completion
Understanding mental capacity Copyright free Icon
Understanding mental capacity

This free course, Understanding mental capacity, describes the principles and criteria underpinning the assessment of mental capacity and decision making in the UK. The course begins by looking at what mental capacity – and the lack of it – means. You will be introduced to various groups of people who are more likely to lack mental capacity, but you will also learn why it is relevant to everyone. You will look at what can be done to help someone to make a decision themselves and the principles and steps that enable people to judge, fairly, whether someone has capacity or not. You will be introduced to the legislation in the UK and will see how it supports and protects people who may lack capacity.

The course will appeal to those who support people aged 16 or over and who have to make decisions in order to address the variety of interpretation and inconsistent application of services in everyday provision. It will explain the law and how it is applied in a practical way for those making important decisions about other’s lives, such as health and social care staff, police, banks and insurance industry workers, and retailers.

Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation - which also displays your Open University badge.

This course is endorsed by the CPD Standards Office 340351.  It can be used to provide evidence of continuing professional development but is not accredited learning. We are unable to provide formal learner verification services for participation in our open online courses, which are provided freely by The Open University as self-directed CPD. 

Anyone wishing to provide evidence of their enrolment on this course is able to do so by sharing their Activity Record on their OpenLearn Profile, which is available before completion of the course and earning of the Statement of Participation.

Understanding mental capacity

Earn this free Open University digital badge if you complete this course! The badge can be displayed, shared and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. The badge is awarded for completing the course and passing the quizzes.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand what is meant by mental capacity
  • apply your knowledge about mental capacity to different scenarios and outline how to support and/or assess capacity for decision making in each case
  • outline what is involved in a mental capacity assessment
  • identify what you would like to do next in relation to mental capacity in your personal life and/or career.

First Published: 15/12/2016

Updated: 20/01/2020

You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
If you want to be able to track your progress, earn a free Statement of Participation, and access all course quizzes and activities, sign-up.

Course content

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