What is Advocacy?

Advocacy can support you to have a voice, put your views forward, get the right information and ensure you know what your rights are. Advocacy can help you to be involved in decisions about you.

What does an Advocate do?

An advocate is not there to give an opinion or make a judgement. An advocate is there to help you put forward your opinion, help you to understand what your options are, provide information, attend meetings, help you to write letters and to help you understand your rights.

How does it work?

You will need to make a referral to an advocacy organisation to ask for some support.  The advocate will contact you and may arrange to meet with you to discuss the reason for wanting advocacy support.  The advocate will ask you what you would like to achieve or what outcome you would like.  An Advocate can’t promise to get you what you want but they will help you to be listened to.

An advocate is independent and not associated with services or organisations that you may be having an issue with.

Advocates are not there to:

  • Make decisions for your or influence you into making a decision
  • Give advice
  • Provide counselling to you or agree with what other people may want for you
  • Give legal advice.


What are the different types of advocacy services?

There are different types of advocacy.  Some advocacy is available as certain laws state that it has to be provided.

Care Act Advocacy

This is provided to people aged 18 and over who have substantial difficulty understanding the process relating to:

  • A Care Needs Assessment whereby social care are going to undertake an assessment to find out what care and support needs you may have
  • Preparing a Care or Support Plan. Once an assessment has been done and it has been agreed you need some support, a social worker will work with you to prepare a care plan.
  • Review a Care/Support Plan. Every 12 months your care/support plan should be reviewed.  If adult social care feel you would have substantial difficulty understanding the process, they can request a Care Act Advocate.   If your care is funded by continuing health care, the Care Act Advocate can support you when your care/support plan is being reviewed.
  • If a concern has been raised with adult social care and they want to investigate the concern and it is felt that you would have substantial difficulty understanding the process, adult social care can request a Care Act Advocate.
  • Carer’s Assessment. If you are carer for someone and adult social care want or are going to undertake a carer’s assessment they can refer for a Care Act Advocacy to support you with the assessment process.

Independent Mental Health Advocacy  (IMHA)

An IMHA can support people that have been detained under the MHA and placed on a Section or Community Treatment Order.

The IMHA doesn’t usually assist if you are an informal patient or you have been bought to hospital and you have been placed on a Section 5.2 whilst it is being decided whether to place you on a Section 2.

An IMHA can help you:

  • Understand your rights under the Act
  • Help you to appeal the section you have been placed on
  • Attend ward rounds
  • Safeguarding
  • Discharge planning
  • Section 117 Leave
  • Attend CPA


Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

This service supports people who have been assessed as lacking capacity and have no friends or family that can be consulted regarding the following decisions:

  • Change of Accommodation
  • Serous Medical Treatment
  • Care Review
  • Safeguarding (where the investigation has been concluded and a decision needs to be made about the protective measures)


NHS Complaints Advocacy

The NHS complaints service is for anyone wishing to make a formal complaint in writing about the care and treatment .  The service is based on where you live rather than the location of the NHS service.

The advocacy service can provide you with information to help you write a complaint your self or an advocate can work with you to write a complaint and support you through the process.  The advocacy service doesn’t investigate the complaint.

Advocates are not able to assist you if you are seeking to compensation through medical negligence or if you are looking for disciplinary action against staff.  This is a legal issue and you will need to speak to a solicitor.

Other Advocacy Services

Community Advocacy

Advocates can support with various issues not related to statutory services.  They can help you to communicate with other people about the difficulties you are facing.  Sometimes the advocacy is specific and there is certain criteria for using the service.


Useful Contacts

Advocacy in Birmingham:

  1. Pohwer Advocacy : 0300 456 2370

The service  provide advocacy for Birmingham:

  • IMHA
  • IMCA
  • Care Act
  • Community ( mental health, physical disabilities, sensory impairment)


2. People in Partnership : 0121440 4685. The service provides advocacy in Birmingham

Parent advocacy ( for parents going through child protection/care proceedings and have a learning disability/autism/mental health)

Follow on Advocacy (supporting parents with a learning disability post proceedings).