Advocacy is when a person, called an advocate, speaks or acts on your behalf and would be independent of the council. Advocacy means having someone who will express your views and wishes, secure your rights and represent your interests.
Most people will never need an advocate as they will be able to speak up for themselves, with or without support or will have family or friends who are able to represent them according to their wishes.
Advocacy safeguards people who are vulnerable by speaking up for them and is there to represent your interests. It enables people with physical or learning disabilities, older people and those with mental health needs to make informed choices and decisions about their own health and social care.
Both Age UK and Grapevine provide support to people around the following key areas, where they would have substantial difficulty being involved in the process and do not have an appropriate individual to support them:
If you think you may need an advocate, please ring Adult Social Care Direct who can find out more about your situation and, where needed, refer you to a suitable advocacy service.
More information about the assessment process for care and support.
Advocacy services are provided free of charge.
There is also a specialised type of advocate, called an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) that supports people who have been assessed by a doctor or social worker as lacking mental capacity to make key decisions in their lives and have no one else to support them.
There is another specialist form of advocacy, called Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA), where an advocate will support people who are receiving treatment under the Mental Health Act. An IMHA is an independent advocate who is specially trained to work within the framework of the Mental Health Act to support people to understand their rights under the Act and participate in decisions about their care and treatment.
In Coventry these specialist advocacy services are provided by Voiceability.