The Local Authority must arrange an Independent Advocate to facilitate the involvement of a person in their assessments, preparation and review of their care and support plans and through safeguarding adult enquiries and reviews under the Care Act 2014 if they consider that

  • the person would experience substantial difficulty in understanding the processes or in communicating their views, wishes or feelings and
  • there is no appropriate individual to help them.
The ultimate aim of Independent Care Act Advocacy is for peoples' wishes, feelings and needs to be focused at the heart of the assessment, care planning and review processes.

When is Independent Care Act Advocacy needed?

For assessments, care planning and review processes, and/or cases of a safeguarding enquiry or Safeguarding Adults Reviews (SAR).

The duty to refer to an Independent Advocate applies to the following

  • a Needs Assessment under section 9
  • a Carer’s Assessment under section 10
  • the preparation of a Care and Support Plan under section 25
  • a review of a Care and Support Plan under section 27
  • a Child’s Needs Assessment under section 60
  • a Child’s Carer’s Assessment under section 62
  • a Young Carer’s Assessment under section 65

The duty applies in all settings including the community, care homes or prisons.

Substantial difficulty refers to when a service user may not be able to fully engage with the local authority care and support processes in terms of understanding, retaining or using information given, or in communicating their views, wishes or feelings in response.
An 'appropriate adult' is deemed as an individual who is fully able and available to support and represent the service user's wishes, but who is not paid or professionally engaged in providing care or treatment to that person or their carer.

No matter how complex a service user’s needs may be, Local Authorities are required to involve that person at all stages, in order to help them express their wishes and feelings, to support them to weigh up their options, and to encourage them to make their own decisions based on the full presentation of information.

The duty to involve the service user applies in all settings, including for those people living in the community, in Care Homes, or, apart from safeguarding enquiries and SAR cases, those residing in prisons. (For more information on Prison Support, click here)

What does an Independent Care Act Advocate do?

The role of the Independent Advocate in these cases is to support and represent the service user and to facilitate their involvement in key processes and interactions with the Local Authority.

The aim of the duty to provide advocacy is to enable people who have substantial difficulty in being involved in such processes to be supported in that involvement as fully as possible, and where necessary, for them to be represented by an advocate who speaks or represents on their behalf.

When to refer for an Advocate - Safeguarding

Our quick 7 Minute Briefing infographic lets you know how and when to refer for an Independent Advocate when dealing with a Safeguarding Enquiry or Safeguarding Adults Review. Or download as a PDF here.

Advocacy in Action

Yasmeen* was living in supported living accommodation and expressed that she was unhappy with this and instead wished to move in with her partner of six years. She felt she was not being listened to. Yasmeen did not have an appropriate person other than her paid carers to support her through a household review, and so a referral was made to Advocacy Focus for an Independent Care Act Advocate (ICAA). Continue reading...

Make a referral

All referrals are on the final instruction of Social Services. To arrange for an Independent Advocate, please complete the form and email it to [email protected]

Important note: Many of the people who qualify for advocacy under the Care Act will also qualify for advocacy under the Mental Capacity Act (2005). At Advocacy Focus, the same advocate can provide support as an advocate under both the Care Act and under the Mental Capacity Act. This is to enable the individual to receive the same continuous provision of advocacy and not to have to repeat their story to different Independent Advocates in changing between the two.