Help to make important decisions (Advocacy)
If you need help to understand information and any decisions being made about your care and support, an independent advocate can help you. Advocacy is provided free of charge when you meet the criteria under one of the relevant legal Acts.
There are three types of independent advocates. Each type can:
- spend time with you to build an understanding of what you want to say
- help you express your views and wishes
- speak on your behalf (if that is what you want)
- help you get the information and advice you need to make a decision
- help you explore available options
- help you understand your rights and make sure that these are protected.
Care Act Advocacy
The Care Act provides advocacy if you do not have any other family or friends who are able to help you and you have substantial difficulty in understanding and engaging in social care processes affecting your care. These include any assessments required, a review of your needs, and the planning of your care. You must meet both of these criteria.
Mental Health Advocacy
The Mental Health Act provides for an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) to make sure you know your rights and will help you get your opinions heard. They do not give legal advice but will help you get a solicitor if you need one. A mental health worker or hospital staff will advise and help you get an IMHA. Also, you may refer yourself for this type of advocacy.
An IMHA can give you support if:
- you are held under the Mental Health Act for assessment or treatment
- you have been discharged from hospital with conditions, such as meeting with a professional, taking medication, or living in a specific place
- you are given supervised treatment outside of hospital
- you have been given a court-appointed guardian
- you have agreed to go into hospital voluntarily to discuss the possibility of serious treatment for a mental disorder.
Mental Capacity Advocacy
An Independent Mental Capacity Act advocate (IMCA) can help if someone lacks capacity
to make certain important decisions, and they do not have any other family or
friends who are able to help them.
An IMCA can support in making decisions such as:
- a long-term change in accommodation arranged by the local authority or NHS
- serious medical treatment
- adult protection procedures
- deprivation of liberty
- safeguarding assessments.
Our advocacy services are delivered on the Isle of Wight by SWAN (South West Advocacy Network). Contact them to find out more: