Care Act 2014: Commissioning independent advocacy – easy read summary
Published: October 2014
Last updated: October 2022
The Care Act is a law that says councils must have an independent advocacy service for people who find it difficult to have a say in their care and services and do not have someone to help them with this.
Independent means the service is not controlled by the council and only thinks about what the people they are helping want.
Independent advocacy is about giving people as much control as possible in their lives. It helps people understand information, say what they want and what they need and get the services they need.
Advocates work together with people and are always on their side.
Advocacy helps people in general and helps everyone to live together. It helps people to be part of things, be equal with others and get their rights.
Councils must have plans to make sure there are independent advocacy services for people who need them. This might be hard because there will be times when there are more people using advocacy services and times when there are not so many.
Councils have other advocacy services too. These services are called Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy, Independent Mental Health Advocacy and NHS Complaints Advocacy. Some councils also have other advocacy services as they think they would be useful for people.
Complaint means saying that something is wrong with a service and asking for it to be sorted out.
When councils are thinking about what the Care Act says about advocacy services, they should look at what is already there and work with organisations who already do advocacy.
Councils need to make sure the organisations they pay to run advocacy services under the Care Act can be flexible and can give help to all the people that need it.
Councils should continue to get as much information as possible about advocacy services so they can plan for the future.
They should use this information to help them work out who should run advocacy services, who needs advocacy, how advocacy services should work and where new services are needed.
Advocacy must work well for people from all different backgrounds and communities.
Training is important for everyone who is working on advocacy services. This includes the people in the council who choose the organisations to run the services. They need to know about everything the law says the council has to do including how people get advocacy and how advocacy works.
It is best for councils to do all these things using co-production with local people who use services and carers. It is also important to work with organisations that run advocacy services or might run them in the future.
Co-production means working together with people who use services and carers and sharing the power