Someone to speak on your behalf (independent advocacy)
Sometimes it helps to have someone else who can speak on your behalf and represent your views and interests. You may feel that you need support to help you to speak for yourself, especially in formal situations, or when you do not feel very confident about something.
Someone who speaks on your behalf or who supports you to speak for yourself in this way is often called an advocate. Advocacy does not always have to be provided by paid professionals. Often people take a friend or family member with them to important meetings to give moral support, and to speak up on their behalf if required. If you do not have someone to support you in this way, we can arrange for an independent advocate to ensure that you are involved in all decisions about your care and support.
How advocates can help
An advocate can help you to make informed choices and decisions. Whether they are a family member, carer, friend or professional, an advocate must always act on your behalf to ensure that your care and support needs are met and are appropriate for you.
An advocate should be able to:
- Help you to understand the care and support process and options available to you
- Support you to prepare for an assessment or any meetings or safeguarding enquiries
- Make sure that your views and wishes about your care and support needs are expressed
- Work with you so that you are able to make your own decisions and are able to take as much control as you want or can
- Support and represent you as appropriate, to challenge decisions if it is felt that your views, wishes and feelings are not being considered appropriately
- Find out more information and services available that may be appropriate for you
- Understand and defend your rights and responsibilities
- Be able to resolve conflicts and negotiate a way forward should the need arise
How do I get an advocate?
If you do not have someone who can speak on your behalf and you feel that you need some extra support, we can refer you to an independent advocate.
VoiceAbility is a charity which supports people in having a voice through providing professional and independent advocacy support. They offer independent mental capacity advocacy, care and support advocacy, and community advocacy.
For more information:
Adult Social Care and Public Health
Wandsworth High Street
Telephone: 020 8871 7707 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).