Care Act Advocacy
What is Care Act Advocacy?
The Care Act, 2014 provides a legal framework for social care for adults (and children in some specific cases). Among the key provisions of the Act, a new statutory provision for Independent Advocacy is outlined for those who are eligible.
Who needs a Care Act Advocate?
Under the Care Act, Local Authorities have a responsibility to ensure independent advocacy provision where two conditions are met:
1) An individual has no appropriate person to help facilitate their involvement in the process
2) An individual would experience ‘substantial difficulty’ being involved without an independent advocate.
Who is an appropriate person?
- The person must be deemed appropriate to represent and support for the purpose of facilitating the individual’s involvement.
- An ‘appropriate person’ must not be a person providing care, support or treatment in a professional capacity, nor must they be paid
- Where an individual lacks capacity or is not competent to consent, the local authority must be satisfied that being represented by the person is in the individual’s best interest
- The individual (having capacity and competency to consent) must agree to the person being involved
What is ‘substantial difficulty’?
The Act says that the local authority must consider that, were an advocate not available, the person would experience substantial difficulty with one or more of the following:
- Understanding the relevant information
- Retaining the information
- Using or weighing that information
- Communicating views, wishes, feelings
Care Act advocates can be appointed for:
- Adults going through needs assessment, care and support planning or review
- Adult carers going through assessment, support planning or review
- Adults who are the subject of Safeguarding inquiry or review
- When a child’s needs assessment is being completed
- When a child’s carer’s assessment is being completed
- When a young carer’s assessment is being completed
What will a Care Act Advocate do?
Care Act Advocates will support the person to:
- Understand the processes
- Understand their rights
- Make decisions
- Communicate views, wishes and feelings
- Understand plans
- Challenge decisions
- Access records