Care Act Advocacy

NOTE: This advocacy is available only from a referral from a professional (eg. social worker). You cannot self-refer.

Care Act 2014

The main purpose of the Care Act is to support people to get the outcomes that matter to them in their life.

It has to focus on the needs and goals of the person and put them at the centre of all decisions.

The Care Act says local authorities must make sure all adults in their area have access to information and advice on their care and support and to keep them safe from abuse and neglect.

The Care Act applies equally to adults with care and support needs and their carers. In some cases, it applies to children and young carers. It also applies to young people over 16 who are in transition to adult services. The Care Act includes prisoners.

The person’s wellbeing has to be at the centre of every decision that is made.

The Care Act guidance says that wellbeing covers 9 areas:

personal dignity and treating the person with respect

• physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing

• protection from abuse and neglect

• control by the person of their everyday life. This includes how and where their support is provided.

• being involved in work, education, training and leisure

• social and economic wellbeing

• domestic, family and personal relationships

• living in a suitable place

• being involved in the community

The local authority needs to look at the parts of the person’s wellbeing that are most important to them.

Local Authorities Must:

involve people in decisions that are made about them and their care and support;help people to express their wishes and feelings.

Support people to make choices and help them to make their own decisions.

Independent advocacy is about giving the person as much control as possible over their life. It helps them understand information, say what they want and what they need.

Not everyone is entitled to advocacy under the Care Act. There are 2 conditions:

• The person has substantial difficulty in being fully involved with their assessment, care and support planning and review or safeguarding;

• There is no one appropriate and available to support and represent their wishes.


What does substantial difficulty mean?

• understanding relevant information

• remembering information

• using information to help them be involved in making decisions

• communicating their views, wishes and feelings


What does appropriate to support mean?

The Care Act says it is not enough to love the person and know them well.

They have to be able to support the person to be involved in their care and support.

They cannot be employed by the local authority or paid to support the person in another role.

Some people may not have anyone suitable or the person may not want them to be involved.

If the person meets these 2 conditions, the local authority must refer for an independent advocate.

There are 3 situations where an advocate must be involved even if there is an appropriate individual to support them. These are:

• if a person is in hospital for more than 4 weeks

• if a person is in a care home for more than 8 weeks

• if there is a disagreement between the local authority and the appropriate individual and all agree that the involvement of an advocate would benefit the person


When to refer for an advocate

Referrals should be made as soon as it is clear that someone will have substantial difficulty being involved and no appropriate individual has been identified to support them.

Advocacy should be considered from the first point of contact, request or referral and at any subsequent stage of the care and support process.

If a referral is not made immediately, perhaps because advocacy was not required at that time, a referral can be made at any stage in the care and support process.

To support the transition of people currently receiving council arranged care in England to the Care Act, reassessment of eligibility will not be required until the next care review.

The right to an advocate applies in all settings regardless of whether the person lives in the community or a care home, and includes prisons (except with safeguarding enquiries or Safeguarding Adult Reviews).

To make a referral for a Care Act advocate in the London Borough of Croydon, please click here.


What is the advocate’s role?

Advocates get involved in:

• a needs assessment

• a carer’s assessment

• a transition assessment

• the preparation of a care and support or support plan

• a review of a care and support or support plan

• a safeguarding enquiry

• a safeguarding adult review

• an appeal or complaint about a local authority decision


Advocates have the right to look at the person’s health or social care records to support people with their:

• assessments

• care planning

• reviews

• safeguarding


Advocates do not:

• choose for the person

• be their friend

• give advice

• take other people’s side


Some useful links

Below are some useful links. These will tell you more about the Care Act 2014 and Care Act Advocacy.