Independent Advocacy under the Care Act 2014
The Care Act 2014 concerns the care and support of adults and carers
The main purpose of the Care Act
To support people with health and care needs to get the outcomes that matter to them in their life. It sets out how people’s needs will be assessed and addressed fairly.
The act recognises that not everyone will be able to be meaningfully involved in the assessment, safeguarding processes and care and support planning and review, without advocacy support.
It recognises that independent advocacy helps a person have as much control as possible over their life. It helps them understand information, say what they want and what they need.
The Care Act will help to improve people’s independence and well-being.
It makes clear that local authorities must provide or arrange services that help prevent and delay people developing needs for care and support.
Who can Access an Independent Advocate?
To be entitled to an independent advocate under the Care Act a person must meet three conditions:
Condition one – The person must be going through one of the processes described in the act which includes (but is not limited to): a needs assessment, the preparation or review of a care and support plan, a safeguarding enquiry
Condition two – The person has substantial difficulty in being fully involved with this process
Condition three – There is no one appropriate and available to support and represent their wishes.
What does substantial difficulty mean?
The person must have ‘substantial difficulty’ in any one of the following areas:
- Understanding relevant information
- Retaining information long enough to make decisions
- Being able to understand the advantages or disadvantages of the options available to them
- Communicating their views, wishes and feelings
What does appropriate and available to support mean?
The Care Act says it is not enough to love the person and know them well. The appropriate person has to be able to facilitate the person’s involvement in the process. They cannot be employed by the local authority or paid to support the person in another role.
Some people may not have anyone suitable or the person may not want them to be involved.
What happens next?
If the person meets these three conditions, the local authority must refer for an independent advocate. In Leeds this means that a social worker will make a referral to Advonet. Advonet will then allocate an advocate.
There are three situations where an advocate must be involved even if there is an appropriate individual to support them. These are:
- One – if a person is considering going into hospital for more than 4 weeks
- Two – if a person is considering going into a care home for more than 8 weeks
- Three – if there is a disagreement between the local authority and the appropriate individual and all agree that the involvement of an advocate would benefit the person
If you are not sure about whether or not you should be entitled to a Care Act Advocate, please speak to Adult Social Care on 0113 222 4401 or Advonet on 0113 244 0606.
What will a Care Act Advocate do?
A Care Act Advocate will support you to be involved in the assessment or review process. They will represent your rights, views, wishes and feelings by helping you to:
- Understand the assessment or review process
- Participate in the process ensuring your rights are protected and your wishes, views and feelings are heard
- Identify any alternative options
- Promote your own wellbeing
- Prevent and delay the need for care and support
- Take control of your life so that you can pursue opportunities to realise your potential
- Ensure the assessment or review process follows the Care Act
You can download fact sheets about the Care Act 2014 from the Department of Health website.