An advocate is a person who supports and helps you to explain and say what you want if you find it difficult to do by yourself.
Advocates can help you -
- access information and services
- be involved in decisions about your life
- explore choices and options
- defend and promote your rights and responsibilities
- speak out about issues that matter to you
Aside from people who know you well, there are also professional advocacy services, such as –</p>
- Professional Advocacy service
- money management advocates like the Citizens Advice Bureau
- Healthwatch Hull who can advocate your experiences and concerns relating to the health and social care services you receive
You can also search for advocacy in our community directory by slecting the 'advice and money' filter and then 'advocacy' from the drop down menu.
The Professional Advocacy and Support Services (PASS)
The Professional Advocacy and Support Services (PASS) is a user led ‘Not for Profit’ company operating as a social enterprise working across Hull and East Riding. It was established by four trustees with first-hand experience of the difficulties and discrimination associated with disability and/or mental health issues.
PASS offers independent support to adults with a disability as well as family carers.
Alternatively you can contact them via -
- email - firstname.lastname@example.org
- telephone: 01482 845 276
In Person -
PASS (Professional Advocacy Support Service)
East Riding of Yorkshire
Cloverleaf Advocacy is an independent charity established in 1995, based in the North of England. Our services support over 8,000 people each year.
We provide high quality advocacy services to people with mental health needs, learning disabilities, older people, people with physical and sensory impairment, and carers. This includes people in hospitals, secure mental health units and residential homes
Alternatively you can contact them via -
- email: email@example.com
- telephone: 01924 454 875
Advocacy under the Care Act
Adult Social Care will refer you to an indpendent care act advocacy service if you have substantial difficulty in being involved with the assessment of your needs, care planning or care reviews and you have no appropriate person to help you be engaged. This may be people who -
- have a learning disability
- have autism
- are older
- have a physical disability
- misuse substances
- are a carer, including young carers
- are a young person aged 16-18 in transition to Adult Services
Assessing 'substantial difficulty'
Adult Socail Care must consider whether you have ‘substantial difficulty’ in any one of the following areas -
- understanding relevant information
- retaining that information
- using or weighing that information as part of the process of being involved
- communicating the individual’s views, wishes or feelings (whether by talking, using sign language or any other means)
Sometimes it will be possible to help and support a person's direct involvement through making reasonable adjustments, as required by the Equality Act, such as providing information in accessible formats.
Advocates can be used when you have no appropriate person to help you. Someone who is considered as an 'appropriate person must be someone who you want to support you and it cannot be someone who is already providing you with care or treatment in a professional capacity or on a paid basis.
Your wish not to be supported by an individual should be respected. Where a person does not wish to be supported by a relative, for example, perhaps because they wish to be moving towards independence from their family, then the Council cannot consider the relative appropriate.
Role of the independent advocate
An independent advocate’s role is to support and represent the person, always with regard to their wellbeing and interests, including helping a person to -
- understand the process
- communicate their wishes, views and feelings
- make decisions
- challenge decisions made by the local authority if the person wishes
- understand their rights
- when appropriate, support and represent them in the safeguarding process
Getting an advocate
Referrals can be made by Adult Soical Care subject to confirmation of eligibility for the service.
Advocacy under the Mental Capacity Act
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 introduced the role of the independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA) to be a legal safeguard for people who lack the capacity to make specific important decisions such as where they live and about serious medical treatment options.
Who IMCAs are for?
The IMCA service must be provided for any person aged 16 years or older, who has no one able to support and represent them, and who lacks capacity to make a decision about -
- a long-term care move
- serious medical treatment
- adult protection procedures
- a care review
Such a person will have a condition that is affecting their ability to make decisions. Many factors can affect a person’s capacity such as -
- acquired brain injury
- learning disability
- mental Illness
- effects of alcohol or drug misuse
Capacity can also be affected by other illness, trauma or other factors. A person’s capacity may vary over time or may depend on the type of decision that needs to be made.
Assessing lack of mental capacity
The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) requires ‘decision-specific’ assessments of capacity. A person is assessed as lacking the ability to make a decision, and needing an IMCA, if they cannot do one or more of the following -
- understand information given to them about the decision
- retain the information for long enough to make the decision
- use or weigh up the information as part of the decision making process
- cannot communicate their decision (by any means, for example talking, sign language or blinking)
The assessment must be specific to the decision which needs to be made and not a generic test of capacity.
Role of the IMCA
The IMCA will -
- establish the referred person’s preferred method of communication
- meet with the referred person and use a variety of methods, as appropriate, to ascertain their views
- consult with staff, professionals and anyone else who knows the person well who are involved in delivering care, support, and treatment
- gather any relevant written documents and other information
- attend meetings to represent the person raising issues and questions as appropriate
- present information to decision-maker verbally and via a written report
- remain involved until decision has been made and be aware that the proposed action has been taken
- audit the best interests decision-making process
- challenge the decision if necessary
Getting an IMCA
Getting a referral for an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate is usually initiated by the ‘decision maker’. This is person in authority who has ultimate responsibility for making best interest decisions for the person involved.
For serious medical treatment decision - this is usually the consultant
For accommodation decisions - this is usually the care manager
Others can make a referral but the decision maker should be made aware. Before being referred the client must have been assessed and deemed to lack capacity.