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Getting an independent advocate

People who find it hard to make decisions about their care may need the support of an independent advocate, if they've no one else to help them.

What is an advocate?

An advocate is someone who supports you through social care assessments, enquiries and complaints procedures. They understand the law and what's important for you. This means they can help you secure your rights, and express your interests in the care and support process.

Advocates don't work for the council. They're independently trained experts and work for you confidentially.

How to get an advocate

You need to be referred for this type of support. And there are a couple of ways you can do this. 

Under the Mental Capacity Act and Mental Health Act

If you lack the capacity to make specific decisions, you could receive support from an independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA). Or an independent mental health advocate (IMHA).

To be eligible for an IMCA 

  • You need to lack capacity to make specific decisions for yourself.
  • And to get referred a medical professional, or care manager needs to refer you.

Medway Download Gif Download IMCA referral form (PDF 58KB)

Read more about IMCA advocacy

To be eligible for an IMHA

  • you need to be detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (excluding people detained under certain short-term sections)
  • conditionally discharged restricted patients
  • subject to guardianship, or a community treatment order
  • if you're being considered for treatment which requires consent/ seccond opinion. 

Read more about IMHA advocacy

Advocacy under The Care Act

From April 2015, The Care Act will allow you to get advocacy if you have substantial difficulty in taking part in care assessments, care reviews - and you have no one (like a family member or friend) to support you.

Find out more about advocacy under The Care Act

To be eligible, you need to

  • have substantial difficulty taking part in the processes of assessment, care and support planning, and review
  • have no one close to you who can support you
  • live in Medway
  • be over 18 (unless you're moving from children's care into adult care, it's a child's needs assessment or during a young carer's assessment).

If this applies to you, then Medway Council will always check with you to make sure it's OK to share your details with the independent advocacy service.

Useful information