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Statutory Advocacy Roles

Statutory Independent Advocacy describes advocacy that has been introduced within Primary legislation.  This means that certain groups of people are legally entitled to access advocacy free of charge.  The great thing about this is that there are duties for advocacy to be provided if you are eligible.  The bad thing is that not everyone fits into one of these groups so advocacy isn't universally available to everyone.  We think it should be.

Children and Young People receiving services under the Children Act 1989

Independent Advocacy is available to children and young people who are making, or thinking about making, a complaint or representation about the services they receive.  This means advocates should be offered to young people who want support in attending any meetings that the Local Authority are holding about them (like Family Group Conference's or LAC reviews), when making plans (like child protection plans or care plans) or when accessing complaint processes.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

If a person has been assessed as lacking the capacity to make a decision about serious medical treatment or a long term change in accommodation AND they do not have any friends or family who can act as their consultee, than an IMCA must be instructed to support and represent them as the decision is made.  An IMCA can also be instructed for the review after the change in accommodation decision.


Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (IMCA)

People who are going through the DoLS can be supported by an IMCA in the following circumstances:

  • if there is an assessment to see if a person should have a DoLS authorisation AND they do not have anyone who can consult on their behalf, then a 39a IMCA will be appointed to support them through the assessment.

  • if the DoLS has been authorised and the person's representative can no longer act in this role, a 39c IMCA can be appointed until a representative can be found

  • if the person who is subject to the DoLS authorisation OR their representative asks for help (or the supervisory body believes it is helpful) than a 39d IMCA can be instructed to help the person (or their rep) to be involved, raise concerns or challenge the DoLS.


Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)


In England, IMHAs are available for people who are detained under the Mental Health Act - except for people held under the emergency powers of section 4, 5, 135 and 136.  This includes people who live in the community but are still subject to the compulsory powers of the Mental Health Act - so people on CTO's, Guardianship and Conditionally Discharged patients.

In Wales, however, everyone admitted to a psychiatric hospital, whether voluntary or formally detained, can access an IMHA. 

NHS complaints advocate

The Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints Regulations (England) 2009 introduced the right to access independent advocacy support to people in England who are considering, or wishing to make a complaint about the health and care services they receive

In Wales, local community health councils provide an independent advocacy service on behalf of Welsh ministers to patients aged 18 and over.

Care Act Advocacy (England only)

Any person, who is likely to face substantial difficulty at being involved within assessment, planning, review or safeguarding processes, AND do not have anyone appropriate to support their involvement can have an Independent Advocate.  This includes:

  • the person with the (potential) care and support needs

  • their carers (including young carers)

  • young people going through transition

  • their carers

Social Services and Well-being Act (Wales) - Independent Professional Advocacy

The Act requires that Independent Professional Advocates are made available when a person can only overcome the barrier(s) to participate fully in the assessment, care and support planning, review and safeguarding processes with assistance from an appropriate individual, but there is no appropriate individual available.  The advocacy requirements apply to both children and adults going through relevant processes under the Act.

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