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.
There are other independent organisations in Worcestershire that can help you have your voice heard.
Speakeasy N.O.W. is a self-advocacy charity who support people with learning disabilities and/or autism, to speak up about the things that matter to them. We are a user led charity.
Their Management Committee is run by people with learning disabilities who have lived experience.
They run several projects which support self-advocacy and facilitate self-advocacy groups across Worcestershire, these are either face to face or online.
Their Expert Members are active on various groups, including Worcestershire County Councils Learning Disability Partnership Board.
They also deliver Learning Disability/Autism Awareness Training and offer Easy Read Translation services, which make information more accessible. For further information on these services, please see their website, SpeakEasy N.O.W (opens in a new window).
Our Way Self Advocacy
Our Way is based in Kidderminster working across Worcestershire. It aims to provide social and engaging recreational activities and opportunities for people with learning difficulties and autism. Many of the members struggle to understand and deal with social situations and behaviours causing them to experience exclusion and isolation. Having creative and sensitive environments helps to promote positive and meaningful friendships/relationships giving members a greater level of self-confidence and sense of belonging and wellbeing.
More information about the activities and events can be found on their website, Our Way (opens in a new window).
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: AdultTeam@worcestershire.gov.uk.
- The Advocacy Charter - hand drawn (PDF, opens in a new window)
- Advocacy Charter A3 (PDF, opens in a new window)
- Easy Read | Advocacy Focus (opens in a new window) - Please note that Worcestershire Residents will receive these services from Onside.
- What is Advocacy? Everything you need to know about Advocacy, especially for Carers or caregivers | YouTube (opens in a new window)
- What is advocacy? | Mind, the mental health charity - help for mental health problems (opens in a new window)
- Understanding Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) for mental health staff | YouTube (opens in a new window)
- What is a mental health advocate? | YouTube (opens in a new window)