What is Advocacy?

Advocacy means having someone who will express your views and wishes, secure your rights and represent your interests. It safeguards you if you are vulnerable by speaking up for you.

If you have a physical disability, sensory impairment or a learning disability, or are old or have mental health needs, advocacy enables you to make informed choices and decisions about your own health and social 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 and some are non-statutory. Below are the different types of advocacy and the contact details of the organisations that provide them in Camden.

What is the Care Act Independent Advocacy Service?

  • The council must involve you in decisions made about your care and support including assessments, developing care and support plans and any safeguarding concerns.
  • You may have significant difficulty in being involved in these processes and may not have an appropriate individual to support you.
  • If you (including carers) meet both of these criteria then the council must provide an independent advocate to assist you throughout the process.

This service is statutory and it is provided by Rethink.


What is the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) Service?

  • The Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) Service 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.
  • The Council or an NHS Provider must consult an IMCA when making certain types of decisions for a person who lacks mental capacity.
  • This includes decisions regarding accommodation moves and serious treatment.
  • An IMCA can also be instructed where there is an assessment under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

This service is statutory and it is provided by Rethink.


What is a Paid Relevant Persons Representative?

  • This is a person appointed when a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards(DoLs) Authorisation has been granted for an individual who is being deprived of their liberty.
  • A person must have a Representative appointed if they are subject to a DoLs Authorisation.
  • In circumstances where there is no-one in the person’s social network who can perform this role, the local authority will seek to instruct a paid professional.
  • This could be someone who is a qualified advocate or another professional with relevant experience.
  • The role of the Representative is to ensure that the rights of the person who is being deprived of their liberty are protected and that their best interests are being fully represented.

This service is statutory and provided by Rethink.


What is the Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) service?

  • The Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) service provides independent advocacy for people with mental health issues who are under section or are based in the community.
  • 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.
  • The council 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.

The IMHA service is statutory and it is provided by Rethink.


What is NHS Complaints Advocacy?

  • The NHS Complaints Advocacy Service is a free, independent and confidential service that can help people make complaints about the National Health Service (NHS).
  • Any person has a right to complain about the NHS as long as that complaint is reasonable.
  • The council has a duty to provide advocacy support to people if they require it. The service is provided by POhWER.

Click here for POhWER's leaflet on their Independent Health Complaints Advocacy service.


What is the Learning Disability Advocacy service?

  • People with learning disabilities may have difficulty being involved in certain processes, and therefore require the assistance of specialist advocates who can help.
  • This 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.
  • The Council provides a non-statutory advocacy service for people with learning disabilities to cover a range of issues.


The service is provided by POhWER.


Non-statutory advocacy

  • The council also 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 provide advocacy on the following issues:
  • 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.


This service is provided by Rethink.


Carers advice and advocacy

Camden Carers Service offers information, advice and advocacy to carers in Camden.


Further information

You can contact any of the organisations directly but if you are still unsure, you can call the Adult social care Access and Response team on 020 7974 4000 (option 1) for further advice.

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