An advocate is someone who supports a person who is vulnerable and helps them to have their say. There are many different types of advocacy services but an advocate is generally independent and free from conflicts of interest.
Advocacy rights under the Care Act 2014
In April 2015 the Care Act became law. This places a new requirement on local authorities with statutory responsibility for social care.
The act requires local authorities to ensure that clients are fully involved in their assessments, reviews and the development of their support plans, and safeguarding enquiries and reviews.
If someone is likely to have 'substantial difficulty' in being involved, and if they do not have an 'appropriate person' to support and represent them, then we have a duty to arrange independent advocacy. Please speak to an adult care worker for more information.
Some people may need support from an advocate for other issues that are affecting their daily lives, such as debt, housing and accessing public services.
If you need an advocate to help you with such issues, you can get support from the Independent Community Advocacy Service.
Tel: 01332 623732.
Independent specialist advocacy
For people with mental ill health there are specialist community advocacy services.
People receiving mental health treatment in hospital
Under the Mental Health Act we have a duty to provide an independent mental health advocate (IMHA) for people who are detained. This includes people who are subject to guardianship or community treatment orders. The service is free and confidential.
The services of IMHAs are also available for Derbyshire residents who are informal patients in NHS or independent hospitals. You can contact the service yourself. Or a family member, friend, health staff or social care professional can make a referral on your behalf. IMHAs can provide advice and support on:
- the Mental Health Act and how it is applied
- the types of treatment that might be offered
- a person's legal rights
- the tribunal process
The IMHA service includes helping people to exercise their rights, which can include representing them and speaking on their behalf. IMHAs may also support patients in a range of ways to ensure they can participate in the decisions that are made about their care and treatment.
IMHA services are provided by Derbyshire Mind:
Tel: 01332 623732.
People who do not have capacity to make their own decisions
This service aims to provide additional safeguards for people who lack the capacity to make decisions in certain specific, important situations. They may also be particularly vulnerable because they have no close relative or friends, or any other person to protect their interests.
Independent mental capacity advocates (IMCA) support and represent people in this situation. They look at the way particular decisions are being made but do not make the decisions on someone's behalf. Across Derbyshire the IMCA service is provided by Derbyshire MIND.
The IMCA service also provide representatives as part of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLs) requirements which ensure that someone is only deprived of their liberty when it is in their best interest.
To access the services, you can get a referral form from Derbyshire Mind or tel: 01332 623732.