The Care Act 2014 introduces new duties for the local authority to involve independent advocates in supporting people’s involvement in assessment, planning, care review and safeguarding processes.
Advocacy and the duty to involve
Local authorities must involve people in decisions made about them and their care and support. No matter how complex a person’s needs, local authorities are required to help people express their wishes and feelings, support them in weighing up their options, and assist them in making their own decisions. The duty to involve applies in all settings, including those who live in the community, care homes or prisons, for example.
When does the advocacy duty apply?
The advocacy duty will apply from the point of first contact with the local authority and at any subsequent stage of the assessment, planning, care review, safeguarding enquiry or safeguarding adult review. If it appears to the authority that a person has care and support needs, then a judgement must be made as to whether that person has substantial difficulty in being involved and if there is an appropriate individual to support them. An independent advocate must be appointed to support and represent the person for the purpose of assisting their involvement if these two conditions are met.
It will be unlawful not to provide someone who qualifies with an advocate.
In what circumstances do I need to instruct an Independent Advocate?
If they are undergoing:
• A needs assessment under section 9 of the Care Act;
• A carers assessment under section 10;
• The preparation of a care and support plan or support plan under section 25;
• A review of care and support plan or support plan under section 27;
• A child’s needs assessment under section 60;
• A child’s carers assessment under section 62;
• A young carer’s assessment under section 65.
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