What is advocacy
The Basics of Advocacy
For Health Professionals
Sean Ledington (Student Nurse)
• An understanding of what advocacy is and what it
• Knowledge of the different types of advocacy
• What ‘Valuing People Now ’ says on advocacy
• How the Mental Health Act (2007) affects
• Think about becoming a volunteer advocate
What is advocacy ?
Advocacy is speaking up for, or acting on behalf of, yourself or
Advocacy can help people to:
• Make clear their own views and wishes;
• Express and present their views effectively;
• Obtain independent advice and accurate information;
• Negotiate and resolve conflict.
Advocacy can enable people to take more responsibility and control
for the decisions which affect their lives.
Advocacy aims to achieve a more equal and just society
What does an advocate help a person with ?
An advocate can help you say what you want
Should empower the person they are working
An advocate cannot:
• give you biased advice or choose for you
• take other people's side
• be there all the time
If you see bad practice by the advocate you should report it
Types of Advocacy
(sometimes called paid or independent advocacy)
This type of advocacy is time limited case work and involves an advocate
being called in to support and represent someone who is facing a particular
problem or issue in their life.
When the advocate is usually called in if the person’s problem or issue is at
crisis point. For example someone may be due in court and need support to
understand the process. It is short term, issue based advocacy and support is
withdrawn when the issue or problem is resolved.
This involves a volunteer developing long term relationships with people and
speaking up for them
This involves people who have the same experiences, problems, discriminations,
or issues as the person they are advocating for
People come together in groups to speak up about things that are important to them.
Self-advocacy groups try to change the way people feel about themselves and change
other people's attitudes. They also try to change services and policies.
Dudley Voices for Choice
Walsall - Making Our Choice
Valuing People Now & Advocacy
Valuing People Now says that all
people with learning disabilities can
speak up and be heard about what
they want from their lives – the big
decisions and the everyday choices. If
they need support to do this, they
should be able to get it. (section 1)
Section 4.3 states that children who
are subject to a protection plan or
care proceedings should have
access to independent advocacy and
that advocacy services should be
made available to help parents
engage and access services
The Mental Health Act and Advocacy
The Mental Health Act & Advocacy
Under the new Mental Health Act (MHA 2007) people with learning
disabilities and people with a mental illness have a right to independent
There are some times when it is especially important for you to get
1. In hospital
2. On an order which says that:
* you must stay in hospital
* you can only stay out of hospital on certain conditions
* you can be given treatment even if you do not want it.
3. Going to a Tribunal meeting
Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers and Mental Health Officers should make
sure they give information on independent advocacy to people who need it.
They should make sure it is free.
You should give accessible information (for example in large print).
The new Mental Health Act arrangements (2009 section 130A) means that
certain people detained under the Act and called ‘qualifying patients’* are now
entitled to the support of an independent mental health advocate to provide
information about their rights under the act and any aspect of their care.
*Qualifying Patients Under Section 30 of the Mental Health Act (2007)
• a detainee under the Mental Health Act (1983) (even if they are
currently on leave of absence from hospital)
• a conditionally discharged restricted patient
• subject to guardianship
• a supervised community treatment patient.
For example, if a detained patient does not agree with the medication prescribed,
they may be advised by the advocate of their right to have a second opinion from
an independently appointed doctor.
Only someone who is formally employed as an advocate by either a commissioner
(a primary care trust or local authority) or an organisation that has a contract with a
commissioner can act as an IMHA .
Informing the patient of their right to an IMHA
The MHA places a duty on the “responsible person” to provide verbal
and written information about IMHA services to qualifying patients.
(See MHA, 130D)
“Responsible person” includes:
• managers of the hospital,
• the responsible clinician ( YOU )
• the local services authority,
• the registered medical practitioner or approved clinician.
Independent Mental Capacity Advocate ( IMCA )
What is an IMCA?
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 introduced the new statutory role of the
Independent Mental Capacity Advocate ( IMCA ) to support people who
lack capacity to make certain decisions.
An IMCA must be instructed by the NHS and/or Social Services, where
there is a decision to be made regarding either serious medical treatment
or change of accommodation AND the person has no close family or
friends to represent their views and the person has been deemed by the
Decision Maker to have capacity not to make that decision in accordance
with the Mental Health Act.
This can include:
People with dementia or mental ill health
People with learning disabilities and physical disabilities
People who have had a stroke
People with acquired brain injuries, who are unconscious or in a coma
Volunteer Advocate - Why Do It?
• Learn new skills.
• Practice the skills you have.
• Become more confident.
• Put some volunteering experience on your CV.
• Pick up some good ideas from other people.
• Show employers that you can handle commitment.
• Meet people who can help you find paid work.
• Have things to talk about in a job interview.
• Get references after a period of volunteering.
Any Questions ?