Different Types of Advocacy
It is important to be clear about the different types as well as definitions of advocacy. The main types of advocacy are:
this can be Instructed or Non-Instructed. Where there is a statutory duty to provide advocacy following government legislation such as: -
Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
These advocates help people under a section under the Mental Health Act.
What is Independent Mental Health Advocacy? Independent advocacy can help. The support of a trained advocate can help someone understand:
- Why they have been detained
- Explain their rights under the Mental Health Act
- Ensure their views and wishes are taken into account by professional staff involved in their care and treatment.
Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)
When someone is assessed by a doctor or social worker as lacking mental capacity to make key decisions in their lives - perhaps because of mental illness, dementia, learning difficulties, a stroke or brain injury - they can have the help of a specialist Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA). This is a legal right for people over 16 who lack mental capacity and who do not have an appropriate family member or friend to represent their views.
When can an IMCA be instructed?
An IMCA can be instructed where there is a decision to be made regarding one of two specific issues:
- Serious medical treatment.
- A change of accommodation.
Independent Complaints Advocacy (ICAS)
If you have a complaint about NHS care and treatment in hospital or from you G.P. also Dentist. Then this is where you go for support, they have specialist trained advocates to help support you with this. They explain the options you have the implications and support you with the action your choice to follow.
Independent Care Act Advocate (ICAA)
You have a right to be actively involved in: -
Identifying your care needs and Planning and reviewing your care & support.
These Advocates can help if you find it difficult to be involved and have no-one appropriate to support you.
This is relatively new legislation which was implemented April 2015, the act was written in 2014. The Care Act creates a new legal framework for care and support, focussed on welfare and involving the individual, and enshrining advocacy in law.
Other forms of Advocacy
Where people come together to represent shared interests or goals and works by offering mutual support, skill development and a common call for change with the intention of developing or changing services.
Support from advocates who themselves have experience of using particular services such as mental health learning disabilities services. Can involve people speaking up for those who cannot do so themselves and may link with group advocacy.
Representation by legally qualified advocates, usually barristers or solicitors.
Representation by members of services involved in a person’s life, for example social workers or health workers. Whilst this is an important form of advocacy, most independent advocacy agencies would stress the limitations of this type of advocacy and recognise the potential conflict of interest that may arise out of professionals advocating on their service user’s behalf.
Family and Friend advocacy
Where a person’s family member or members or friend(s) play a part in advocating on their behalf. Most of us will have used or provided this support at some time in our lives whether we realised it or not.
Seen by many in the advocacy movement to be the most ideal form of advocacy, and one which all other types of advocacy should be aiming to work towards. People speaking out for themselves to express their own needs and representing their own interests. Often people with some form of disability may have received some support in achieving self-advocacy – this is a model employed by People First – a group run by people with learning disabilities for people with learning disabilities.