It is important that you are able to express your needs and wishes, and weigh up and take decisions about the options available during assessment, care and support planning and review.

Local authorities must involve people in decisions made about them and their care and support. No matter how complex a person’s needs, local authorities are required to help people express their wishes and feelings, support them in weighing up their options, and assist them in making their own decisions.

You may have a friend or family member who you want to help you with this or the Council must arrange for you to have an Independent Advocate if:
- You don't have anyone else (like a friend or family member) to support you and
- You have 'substantial' difficulty doing any of the following:

  • communicating what you want to say
  • understanding the information given to you, or remembering it
  • weighing up the information you are given in order to make decisions about your support. 

An Independent Advocate is someone who can support you to speak, or speak on your behalf to make sure your views and wishes are heard at the assessment to ensure the end result reflects your wishes.

If the person who needs an advocate needs this because they do not have mental capacity then they should have an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)

The Mental Health Act introduced statutory advocacy for people who are detained under the Mental Health Act or who are under a Community Treatment Order (CTO). This form of advocacy is provided by advocates called Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs) and should be arranged by the individuals care team.

Last Updated: 28 July 2021