Adult Social Care will refer you to an independent 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 Social 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 Social Care subject to confirmation of eligibility for the service.