You can get somebody to speak for you, so you can have a say on your support.

An advocate is a person who helps you to explain and say what you want if you find it difficult to do this by yourself.

Advocates can help you:

  • access information and services
  • be involved in decisions about your life
  • explore choices and options
  • defend and promote your rights and responsibilities
  • speak out about issues that matter to you

Somebody you know can be your advocate. You can also use advocacy services.

How we work out if you need an advocate

We will ask an independent care act advocacy service to represent you.

We do this if you will have substantial difficulty in taking part in our assessment of your needs or planning your care, and have no appropriate person to help you.

We must consider whether you have substantial difficulty with:

  • understanding relevant information
  • retaining information
  • using or weighing information as part of the process of being involved
  • communicating your views, wishes, or feelings

Sometimes it will be possible to help you take part without an advocate. We could make adjustments, such as providing information in a way you can access.

Choosing who can be your advocate

Advocates can be used when you have no appropriate person to help you. Someone is only an 'appropriate person' if you want them to speak for you. It cannot be someone who is providing you with care or treatment.

We will respect your wish not to be supported by somebody. If you do not wish to be supported by a relative, we cannot consider them as an appropriate advocate.

You can use advocacy services, such as:

How an independent advocate speaks for you

An independent advocate’s role is to support and represent somebody and their wellbeing and interests, including helping you to:

  • understand the process
  • communicate their wishes, views and feelings
  • make decisions
  • challenge decisions made by the local authority if the person wishes
  • understand their rights
  • when appropriate, support and represent them in the safeguarding process

What we do if you lack the capacity to make a decision

One of our social care practitioners or care managers can decide you need an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate.

This happens when we assess you lack the ability to make a particular decision. This could be due to dementia, a learning difficulty, a mental health condition or a stroke.

In Dorset, you would get represented by Dorset Advocacy, who will use methods to work out your views, consult with anybody who knows you well and gather information. Find out about Dorset Advocacy.

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