Independent advocacy

This page has some information about advocacy and the different types of advocates provided. However, if you need an advocate or have any specific questions, we have commissioned an organisation called Onside Advocacy to provide independent advocacy support. Please visit Onside Advocacy’s website for more information: Advocacy Services from Onside Advocacy (opens in a new window).

What is an advocate?

You may have heard people talk about the use of an advocate but may be uncertain as to what an advocate can do. The role of an advocate is to offer independent support to individuals who feel they are not being heard, to ensure they are taken seriously and that their rights, views, and wishes are respected in all conversations and decisions about their support plans, care, or treatment.

Advocates are there to give support and ensure a person has the tools to make an informed decision about their situation, their care, living environment or medical treatment. The advocate does not make any decisions for the person but represents and informs them so that they can make their own decision.

There is no charge for this representation.

Types of advocates

There are different types of advocates available to support individuals in different circumstances, here are some examples:

  • if you have substantial difficulty understanding your care, support, or treatment and do not have anyone appropriate available to support and represent you; a Care Act Advocate can be involved to represent your wishes
  • if you want to complain about your NHS care or treatment and/or Adult Social Care, an Independent Complaints Advocacy (IHCA) can support with making a complaint
  • if you or someone else has been formally assessed as ‘lacking capacity’ and are not befriended (i.e. you do not have someone suitable to support, you); an Independent Mental Capacity Act Advocate (IMCA) can support you
  • if you or someone else is being deprived of your liberty in a care home or hospital or community setting; a Relevant Persons Representation (RPR) can represent you to ensure your rights under the Mental Capacity Act are respected
  • if you are detained under the Mental Health Act in a secure mental health unit; an Independent Mental Health Act Advocate (IMHA) can work with you

Who can be an advocate?

Please see the Who can act as an advocate? page for more information.


Please visit Contact Onside (Onside Advocacy, opens in a new window).

The Adult Contact Team can deal with specific queries about your care and support package - 01905 768053 - you will be redirected to the appropriate team as appropriate or email:

Useful links

Action for M.E. (opens in a new window)