Mental Capacity Act Training

Mental Health Capacity Act - Training - Standard ImageSpecific mandatory training approved by the Department must be undertaken in order to carry out certain functions under the Act (such as carrying out a Formal Assessment of Capacity, sitting on a Trust Panel etc.).


The Department of Health mandatory training modules are as follows:

  • level 1 – Forms Manual, which is available on the Department website, – this is instructional guidance on completing forms.
  • level 2 – General overview of Deprivation of Liberty (E-learning only)
  • level 3 – Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (Classroom and E-learning)
  • level 4 – Formal Assessment of Capacity (Classroom and E-learning)
  • level 5 – Trust Panels (Classroom only)

If you wish to attend any of the classroom-based training, you should contact your local Trust Mental Capacity Act team for further details.  Alternatively, Levels 2, 3 and 4 are available as e-learning.  These are provided at the following links via the Department website:

In order to be suitably qualified under the Act individuals must complete Levels 2, 3 and 4. 

In order to act as a panel member on a Trust Panel, individuals must also have completed Level 5 training.  There is no e-learning version of Level 5 training – individuals requiring training to become members of Trust Panels should contact their own Trust for details on how to access Level 5 training.

Further detail on what is included in each module is available to view on the Department website.

Since January 2020, individual organisations have been responsible for delivering their own Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards training. Trust staff should contact their Trust’s Mental Capacity Act Team for details on available Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards training.

The 'Maintaining Competence and Confidence' document, available on the Department website sets out the required mandatory training and the additional Trust training available to fulfil the relevant Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards functions. 

All training must be approved by the Department

The Department will make the material developed for mandatory training Levels 2, 3 and 4 available on request.

Who should complete the training?

Organisations should give careful consideration to the training needs of their staff. It is important that the right staff, and number of staff, are trained to carry out the specific roles under the Act, but also that all relevant staff have awareness and knowledge of the legislation in general.

Generally speaking, it is recommended that all relevant staff complete the Level 2 e-learning module so that they are aware of what deprivation of liberty is, and what safeguards should be in place if someone is deprived of their liberty. Level 3 will be useful for anyone who will be more involved in ensuring that the specific requirements under the Act are met, for example, those in charge of teams caring for people who may be deprived of their liberty.

Level 4 is relevant to those who will carry out specific functions under the Act, such as formal assessments of capacity, medical reports or completing applications for authorisations. These staff must also be designated by their employer to carry out such functions. If you are not a staff member who will be involved at this level then you are not required to complete this training.

Level 5 is only relevant to those staff who will act as Health and Social Care Trust Panel members.

What does it mean to be ‘suitably qualified’?

One of the key roles in the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards is that of being a ‘suitably qualified person to make formal capacity assessments’, (simply referred to normally as being ‘suitably qualified’).  There are a few elements that must be satisfied to be suitably qualified (see paras 8.9-8.10 of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Code of Practice) – in summary these are that you need to:

  • be one of a specific list of health and social care professionals (i.e. social worker, medical practitioner, nurse or midwife, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, dentist or practitioner psychologist)
  • have received Department of Health approved Mandatory training within the 36 months immediately prior to you carrying out the assessment (i.e. have completed Levels 2, 3 and 4 in the last three years)
  • have at least two years’ experience in working with persons who lack capacity, and
  • be designated by your employer as someone who can carry out formal assessments of capacity.

There are a number of other roles in Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards that require you to be ‘suitably qualified’.  These are:

  • making a Trust Panel application for a Deprivation of Liberty authorisation,
  • medical practitioner roles for Short-Term Detentions in hospital,
  • Responsible Person for Deprivation of Liberty authorisation extensions, and
  • Trust Panel members. 

Who needs to re-train and how often?

This depends on the individual’s role in Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, rather than blanket requirements for each type of health and social care professional.

Anyone who is required to be ‘suitably qualified’ for the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards role they are carrying out must meet all the requirements, one of which is that you must have completed Levels 2, 3 and 4 within the 36 months immediately prior to undertaking that role.  So if a health or social care professional listed above has completed the training to be ‘suitably qualified’, that will meet this requirement for up to 36 months.  If the person wants to maintain their ‘suitably qualified’ status, they need to have completed the training again within three years of the date they last completed it.

This requirement to have completed Levels 2, 3 and 4 within the 36 months immediately prior to undertaking a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards role applies to two other roles which don’t require you to be ‘suitably qualified’.  These are:

  • appropriate healthcare professionals for the purpose of making Short-Term Detention authorisations (see para 12.12 of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Code of Practice for list of professions that can carry out this role), and
  • medical practitioners completing Deprivation of Liberty Safeguardsmedical reports.

Whilst the legislation requires that people who are ‘suitably qualified’ re-train every three years to reset their training clock, there is nothing stopping someone from retraining before then and resetting their training clock early.

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