Sometimes it helps to have someone else who can speak on your behalf and represent your interests, especially in formal situations or when you don’t feel very confident.
A person who speaks on your behalf in this way is often called an ‘advocate’.
What is an advocate?
An advocate is someone who can speak on your behalf, if you are not able to do so yourself. They can help you get your views or wishes across about issues that are important to you, such as the care or medical treatment you receive or the management of your finances.
Why use an advocate?
An advocate can help you (or someone you care for):
- understand and remember important information
- use that information in daily life
- express your views, wishes or feelings.
An advocate can:
- contact people on your behalf
- go to meetings with you to give you support
- speak on your behalf when you don't feel comfortable speaking yourself
- write letters and emails on your behalf.
Who can act as your advocate?
A family member or friend can act for you if you are content for them to take on this role as your advocate. This person is known as an "appropriate individual".
Who should not act as your advocate?
The following people should not be considered as an "appropriate individual":
- someone who you do not want to support you
- someone who is providing care or treatment to you on a professional or paid basis
- someone who is unlikely to be able to, or available to, properly support you to express your views
- someone who has previously been found to have abused or neglected you, or has previously failed to stop other people abusing or neglecting you.
When we can arrange an advocate for you
If there is no appropriate individual to support you then we can put you in touch with an organisation that can provide you with an independent advocate.
Who is advocacy for?
Advocacy is for:
- children and young adults
- an adult whose care and support needs are being assessed or reviewed
- a carer whose needs are being assessed
- people who are being assessed during a safeguarding enquiry.
How do I get advocacy?
The Advocacy Project provides services for residents needing support under the:
- Care Act
- Mental Health Act
- Mental Capacity Act.
They can also help with making a complaint against the NHS.
Visit the Advocacy Project website or call them on 020 8106 1500. They are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.