1.7 Advocacy in Safeguarding
The Care Act (2014) places a separate duty on Local Authorities to arrange an independent advocate for adults who are subject to a safeguarding enquiry or Safeguarding Adults Review (SAR).
See Advocacy for Sunderland’s local advocacy service provider contracted by the Local Authority. This provider can support individuals going through the safeguarding adults’ process at no cost to the individual. Other advocacy providers in Sunderland are available if the individual does not want to use the contracted service.
Local Authorities must arrange an independent advocate to facilitate the involvement of a person in their assessment, in the preparation of their care and support plan and in the review of their care plan, as well as in safeguarding enquiries and SARs if two conditions are met:
- That if an independent advocate were not provided then the person would have substantial difficulty in being fully involved in these processes; AND
- There is no appropriate individual available to support and represent the person’s wishes who is not paid or professionally engaged in providing care or treatment to the person or their carer.
The role of the independent advocate is to support and represent the person and to facilitate their involvement in the key processes and interactions with the Local Authority and other organisations as required for the safeguarding enquiry or SAR.
Everyone should have access to information and advice on care and support and keeping safe from abuse or neglect (see Chapter 3). Prior to making contact with the Local Authority, there may be some people who require independent advocacy to access that information and advice.
It will be necessary to consider such needs in ensuring that the information and advice service is accessible. Subsequently, once a person has contacted the Local Authority, or come to the Local Authority’s attention as a result of a safeguarding concern, they must be actively involved in identifying their needs through assessment, in developing their care and support plan, and in leading their care reviews, where relevant, and being involved in any safeguarding process/enquiry or Safeguarding Adult Review (SAR). The aim of the duty to provide advocacy is to enable people who have substantial difficulty in being involved in these processes to be supported in that involvement as fully as possible, and where necessary to be represented by an advocate who speaks on their behalf.
The role of independent advocate is distinct from that of interpreter (see Use of Interpreters, Signers or Others with Communication Skills Procedure).
It is also different from the specific role of the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate, which is also described in more detail in Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.
The Advocacy Charter for Advocacy Schemes defines the ten key principles of Advocacy:
- Clarity of Purpose;
- Putting People First;
- Equal Opportunity;
- Supporting Advocates;
All Adults at Risk should be advised of their right to ask for an independent advocate.