What is advocacy?Advocacy means having someone that expresses the views, wishes, secures the rights and a represents a person’s interests. It safeguards a vulnerable person or someone who has a disability by having an advocate to speak and act on their behalf.
Advocacy enables a person to make informed choices and decisions about their own health and care. Advocates act only according to the wishes of the person they are speaking for and are completely independent of social care services. Some types of advocacy are statutory, which means they must be provided in certain circumstances, while others are non-statutory.
In Camden, statutory advocacy is provided by ReThink. Camden Council has a duty to appoint an advocate through ReThink for the following services:
Care Act Independent Advocacy Service
When decisions about your care and support including Care Act care assessments, developing support plans and any safeguarding concerns are being made, the council must involve you in the decision-making process. Visit the Adult Social Care section to find out more about Care Act assessments and developing support plans.
If you have significant difficulty in being involved in these processes and may not have an appropriate individual to support you, the council must provide an independent advocate to assist you throughout the process.
Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) Service
For a person who lacks mental capacity when certain decisions are being made by the council or NHS Provider, they must consult an IMCA. An IMCA provides an independent safeguard to support vulnerable people who lack capacity to make certain important decisions and who have no-one appropriate who can act for them. Decisions include accommodation moves and serious treatment.
An IMCA can be instructed where there is an assessment under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.
ReThink's IMCA service can also be accessed at the Royal Free Hospital and UCLH.
Paid Relevant Persons Representative (PRPR)
A PRPR ensures that the rights of the person who is being deprived of their liberty are protected and that their best interests are being fully represented. If a person is subject to a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) Authorisation, the local authority will seek to instruct a PRPR where there is no-one in the person’s social network who can perform this role. This could be someone who is a qualified advocate or another professional with relevant experience.
Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) service
The local authority must provide access to an IMHA if a person is sectioned under the Mental Health Act, subject to guardianship under the act, is in receipt of a community treatment order or has been conditionally discharged.
Advocacy ensures people can have their point of view acknowledged and can fully understand any information they are provided with, which ensures that their rights are safeguarded and people can make informed choices.
ReThink's IMHA service can also be accessed at Highgate Mental Health centre and the St Pancras Hospital.
Contact ReThink (Camden Advocacy Service) if you require an advocate
Telephone: 020 7267 6187
ReThink's offices are permanently closed but face to face appointments with advocates can be arranged in the community.
The local authority provides non-statutory advocacy services for older adults and people with dementia, adults with mental health problems and adults with a learning disability. This enables people who need support to express their view to have their voice heard and to make informed choices.
Non-statutory advocacy services can include the following:
- expertise and advice on making a complaint which does not relate to NHS complaints advocacy
- support at reviews
- support at case conferences and meetings
- when people are facing a major decision or going through a crisis
- when people are discharged from hospital
- for people with mental health problems in the community to avoid people reaching a crisis point
- opportunities for citizen’s advocacy or peer advocacy, where the advocate is a skilled volunteer or expert by experience.
- for people who are disputing issues around access to care.
Learning Disability advocacy and support for people with sensory needs
People with learning disabilities may have difficulty being involved in certain processes, and therefore require the assistance of specialist advocates who can help. Assistance can range from providing appropriate communication tools such as Makaton to ensuring people have sufficient time to absorb the relevant information, come to an informed decision and voice their opinion.
Visit the learning disability page for information about support and resources available for people with a learning disability and their carers.
Visit the sensory impairment page for information about support and resources available for deaf or deafened people.
NHS Complaints Advocacy
The NHS Complaints Advocacy Service is a free, independent and confidential service that can help people make complaints about the NHS. Any person has a right to complain about the NHS as long as that complaint is reasonable.
Visit the Having your say section to find out about other ways of getting your views heard, including how to make a complaint about Adult Social Care services.
Advocacy provided by Camden Carers Service
Camden Carers Service offers information, advice and advocacy to carers in Camden. During COVID-19 Camden Carers Service will offer a telephone and email based service and they will develop other services in response to the ongoing situation and to carers’ needs. They will be calling carers to provide support and wellbeing checks and encourage carers to get in contact should they have any questions or concerns.
Visit the Carers section for information about support available for carers in Camden.
Contact Camden Carers Service if you require support
Telephone: 020 7428 8950
You can contact the above organisations directly but if you are still unsure about getting the right type of advocacy support, you can call the Adult social care Access and Response team for further advice.
Telephone: 020 7974 4000 (option 1)