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Independent advocacy

Who can act as an advocate?

A family member or friend can be a representative, but in some circumstances, you need a qualified advocate, so this is not always straight forward.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

If you need an IMCA, this must be a qualified advocate (i.e. Onside, the Worcestershire County Councils contracted provider).

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

If you need an IMHA, this must be a qualified advocate (i.e. Onside, the Worcestershire County Councils contracted provider).

Care Act Advocacy

It is possible to have an ‘appropriate individual’ to support someone but with some exceptions:

  • where the assessment or planning might result in a placement in NHS-funded provision; either in a hospital for more than 4 weeks, or in a care home for 8 weeks or more and the local authority believes that arranging an advocate would be in the best interests of the person

  • where the local authority and the friend or family member disagree on something relating to the person but agree that it would benefit the person for them to have an advocate

Under Care Act, the ‘appropriate individual’ cannot be:

  • someone already providing care or treatment to the person in a professional capacity or on a paid basis
  • someone the person does not want to support them
  • someone who is unlikely to be able to, or available to, adequately support the person’s involvement
  • someone implicated in an enquiry into abuse or neglect or who has been judged by a safeguarding adult review to have failed to prevent abuse or neglect

Independent Health and Social Care Complaints Advocacy (IHCA)

An individual can support someone to make a complaint be it about health care and/or social care. You can process the complaint independently or with the support of a friend or family member. The law states that you have the right to access an Independent Health Complaints advocate, but some people may or may not wish to do so. In terms of taking any issues to the Ombudsman the support of an independent advocate is beneficial.

Crisis and Issue Advocacy

An individual can support someone with advocacy required to deal with crisis or issues that arise although an experienced advocate may be more beneficial.

Appropriate adult

An appropriate adult can be a parent, guardian or social worker or responsible person over 18 that they wish to support them.

Information on advocacy

Please see the Independent advocacy page.