Your guide to care and support

Find an advocate

Advocacy services help people – particularly the most vulnerable in society – to:

  • access information and services
  • be involved in decisions about their lives
  • explore choices and options
  • defend and promote their rights and responsibilities
  • speak out about issues that matter to them
  • make a complaint about the care that they or someone else has received

What's an advocate?

An advocate is a person who speaks up for you and puts your case on your behalf.

They're:

  • independent of social services and the NHS
  • not part of your family or one of your friends

An advocate's role includes arguing your case when you need them to, and making sure health and social care services follow correct procedures.

An advocate will support you to be involved as much as possible in decisions about your care. Your advocates can help you when the council is:

An advocate might help you get information or go with you to meetings or interviews to support you. They can also help you if you're making a complaint about the care you or someone else received.

Your advocate can also write letters on your behalf, or speak for you in situations where you don't feel able to speak for yourself.

Where to find an advocate

Local authorities fund advocacy services in their area. To find an advocacy service, contact your local council or check their website.

If you have a care co-ordinator from your local social services or healthcare team, they'll liaise with other agencies for you.

Advocates from disability organisations

People with learning or physical disabilities can often struggle to be listened to and have their wishes understood.

seAp is an organisation that provides advocacy support. It also provides training for advocates, volunteers and professionals who need to understand the role of advocacy in health and social care services.

The British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD) works with people with learning disabilities and their families to make sure they have the right support to make choices and decisions about their own lives.

Mencap has advice on advocacy for people with a learning disability.

Other advocacy organisations

POhWER is an advocacy charity that helps people who need support to be involved in decisions their local council is making about their care and support. It works in over 50 local authority areas, spreading across five regions throughout England. You can also call POhWER’s support centre on 0300 456 2370 for information, advice and signposting to other organisations in your area who may be able to help you.

Age UK gives advice and information to older people and their carers, family, friends and other people involved in their care. Some branches offer advocacy services.

Carers UK has a free advice line for carers on 0808 808 7777. They don't provide an advocacy service, but can tell you where to go for help.

Diabetes UK offers an advocacy service for vulnerable people with diabetes.

VoiceAbility is a charity that works with vulnerable people, such as those who lack capacity or have a disability, communication difficulties, mental health needs, or nobody else to support them.

They can help you get your voice heard and be involved in making key decisions about your care and health needs.

Page last reviewed: 06/02/2018
Next review due: 06/02/2021