Care Act Advocacy

What is Care Act Advocacy:

Care Act Advocacy aims to support people to participate as fully as possible in a range of social Care processes described below.  Where is person is eligible the advocate will support people to understand the information involve and ensure the person’s views and wishes are central to the process. In some circumstances the Care Act Advocate will represent the person where the person is unable to represent themselves.

 Social care processes where a Care Act Advocate be considered include:

  • A needs assessment.
  • A carer’s assessment.
  • The preparation of a care and support or support plan.
  • A review of a care and support or support plan
  • A child’s needs assessment where the child is over 16 years of age.
  • A child’s carer’s assessment
  • A young carer’s assessment
  • A safeguarding enquiry
  • A safeguarding adult review
  • A Continuing Health Care (CHC) multi-disciplinary assessment or where a package is jointly funding

 

Who is eligible for a Care Act Advocate?

The local authority has a duty to instruct a Care Act Advocate where

A person has substantial difficulty in being fully involved in the process. Please see below further guidance on substantial difficult

There is no other appropriate individual to support them. They cannot be already providing care or treatment to the person in a professional capacity or on a paid basis.

Please see below further guidance on who is considered appropriate.

What does a Care Act Advocate do?

The advocate will get to know the person and work in a person centred way to ensure the person is at the centre of the process. This will include supporting the person to express their views and wishes about what support they need, what their strengths are, what is working well and what could improve, what their goals and aspirations are and what is important to the person.

The advocate will support the person at meetings which includes understanding information.  The advocate will support the person to understand their rights under the Care Act, including where a person is unhappy with the outcome of an assessment or review and what options they have in regards to this.

Who instructs a Care Act Advocate?

The local authority responsible (usually the social worker) for funding the person’s support should refer for a Care Act Advocate. The exception to this is for Care Act Safeguarding Advocacy where the safeguarding team within the local authority where the person currently is staying will refer.

Please click here Who we can help and how to refer section for further information on how to refer for your area.

 

Further information for social workers:

The following information is provided as a useful resource to understand how to judge “substantial difficulty” and “appropriate person”. It is taken from the SCIE website.

The link to SCIE full  resource can be found here:

 https://www.scie.org.uk/care-act-2014/advocacy-services/commissioning-independent-advocacy/duties/independent-advocacy-care-act.asp

Section 7 of The Care Act Statutory Guidance also provides detailed guidance on when there is a duty to instruct Care Act Advocacy. The Statutory guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-statutory-guidance/care-and-support-statutory-guidance#first-contact-and-identifying-needs

 

Judging ‘substantial difficulty’

Local authorities must consider, for each person, whether they are likely to have substantial difficulty in engaging with the care and support process. The Care Act defines four areas where people may experience substantial difficulty. These are:

  • understanding relevant information
  • retaining information
  • using or weighing information
  • communicating views, wishes and feelings.

 

Who is an ‘appropriate individual’ to assist a person’s involvement?

If the person being supported doesn’t want that person to support them, that’s not an appropriate adult. You can’t force an advocate on someone.

Local authorities must consider whether there is an appropriate individual who can facilitate a person’s involvement in the assessment, planning or review process, and this includes four specific considerations. The appropriate individual cannot be:

  • Already providing care or treatment to the person in a professional capacity or on a paid basis.
  • Someone the person does not want to support them.
  • Someone who is unlikely to be able to, or available to, adequately support the person’s involvement.
  • Someone implicated in an enquiry into abuse or neglect or who has been judged by a safeguarding adult review to have failed to prevent abuse or neglect.

The role of an ‘appropriate individual’ under the Care Act is potentially fuller and more demanding than that of an individual with whom it is ‘appropriate to consult’ under the Mental Capacity Act (MCA). Under the Care Act the appropriate individual’s role is to facilitate the person’s involvement, not merely to consult them and make decisions on their behalf.

Sometimes the local authority will not know at the point of first contact or at an early stage of the assessment whether there is someone appropriate to assist the person in engaging.  As a result, an advocate may be appointed only for it to be discovered later that there is an appropriate person available. The appointed advocate can at that stage ‘hand over’ to the appropriate individual.  Alternatively, the local authority may agree with the person, the appropriate individual and the advocate that it would be beneficial for the advocate to continue their role, although this is not a specific requirement under the Care Act. Equally, it is possible that the local authority will consider someone appropriate who may then turn out to have difficulties in supporting the person to be involved in the process.  At that point arrangements for an independent advocate must be made.

(https://www.scie.org.uk/care-act-2014/advocacy-services/commissioning-independent-advocacy/duties/independent-advocacy-care-act.asp, 6th July 2020)

 

 
 

How you can support us

As a local organisation we very much rely on the support of our local community, and continue to support people flexibly to have greater choice and control and remove the barriers that disabled people and children experience in their everyday lives. We support over 2,000 people every year.  But we need your help.

Click here to find out how you can support us

 
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