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Understanding mental capacity
Understanding mental capacity

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4 Next steps

The next activity helps you to build on what you have learned about mental capacity during the course and gives you an opportunity to think ahead. It is divided into the three areas you considered in the previous activity: learning, personal life and professional development. You may wish to think about all three or choose the one that is most relevant. As you will have learned when you study mental capacity through legislation there are slight differences depending on the UK nation where you live or work. You are reminded to bear this in mind for your next steps.

Activity 5 Next steps

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

1. Learning: Many courses on mental capacity are available. Type ‘mental capacity training’ into a search engine and browse through the results, making notes if necessary. Look at what the courses cover (including which nations of the UK), who they are aimed at and whether they cost or are free of charge.


You probably noticed that your search brought up a range of courses. Some are free, others charge. Most are aimed at those already working in social care settings. However, this is not always the case; some courses are equally relevant to people who study in relation to their personal circumstances.

When I searched, the courses that appeared first related to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 which refers to England and Wales only. You may want to look for courses that apply to the country where you live and work.

Some courses offer a more in-depth look at mental capacity. For example, some refer to ‘deprivation of liberty’, which has not been covered in any depth in this course. Deprivation of liberty is a specialist and fast-changing area of mental capacity. You may feel that you now have enough knowledge to learn about it in more detail.

Apart from courses, there is also much written material on mental capacity. This is often available through libraries and some of it can be accessed online. Some suggestions are also be found here

Adams, J., Leshone, D. (2016) Active Social Work with Children with Disabilities Northwich Critical Publishing Ltd.

Barber, P., Brown, R., Martin, D. (2017) Mental Health Law in England and Wales - a guide for mental health professionals, 3rd ed., London Learning Matters, Sage

Brown, R. (2016) The Approved Mental Health Professional's Guide to Mental Health Law, London, Sage.

Brown, R. A., Barber, P., Martin, D (2015) The Mental Capacity Act 2005: A guide for practice, 3rd ed., London, Sage.

Department for Constitutional Affairs (2007) Mental Capacity Act 2005, Code of Practice, London, The Stationary Office

Department of Health. (2017) Care Act (2014) Statutory Guidance, London HM Government.

Jones, R. (2014) Mental Capacity Act Manual, 6th ed., London, Sweet and Maxwell.

Maclean, S., Shiner, M., Surtees, R. (2015) Social Care and the Law in Scotland Lichfield, Kirwin Maclean Associates Ltd.

Patrick, H., Stavert, J. (2016) Mental Health, Incapacity and the Law in Scotland Haywards Heath Bloomsbury Professional Limited

Rogers, J., Bright, L., Davies. (2015) Social Work with Adults London, Learning Matters, Sage

Ruck Keene, A., Edwards, K., Eldergill, A. and Miles, S. (2014) Court of Protection Handbook: A User’s Guide, London, Legal Action Group.

Ruck-Keene, A.,, Butler-Cole, V., Allen, N., Lee, A., Bicarregui, A., Edwards, S. (2016) A brief guide to carrying out Best Interests assessments, London, 39, Essex Chambers,

Sinson, J. (2017) Applying the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in Education (a practical guide for education professionals) London Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). (2017) Mental Capacity Act (MCA) Directory,

Valios, N. (2017) Five key steps to assessing capacity London Community Care.

2. Your personal life: If you want to look at how a decline in mental capacity might affect you, type ‘mental capacity and how it affects me’ into a search engine.


This time your search will have returned links to agencies that provide advice and support, and links to bodies that regulate social care services such as the Care Quality Commission. You may want to look in more detail at these links and the help that is on offer. It is helpful to use the thoughts that occurred to you in Activity 3 to make sure that you are not overwhelmed by the different choices that might appear.

3. Your professional development: If you are already working either as a volunteer or in a paid capacity in a social care setting, you may already have access to training on mental capacity. This course and your reflections this week may have given you further ideas about training that could be provided. You may want to show parts of this course to others or look into training that relates to mental capacity. Your agency should have a training area where you can find details of courses like this.

Future opportunities might include those offered for ‘named’ social workers (to be called ‘approved mental capacity professionals’ in the future). You may also wish to explore how mental capacity interacts with other pieces of legislation such as on mental health or care. If you do wish to develop your skills and knowledge in this way, discuss it in your place of work.

To finish this week take a look at this transcript [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   in which a current practitioner discusses their thoughts about mental capacity. Take a note of the main issues they discuss.