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Independent Care Act Advocacy (ICAA) the Care Act 2014 states that Local Authorities must provide an Independent Care Act Advocate to someone who has no one else appropriate to support them and has substantial difficulty in getting involved and making decisions about their care and support needs. Care Act Advocacy support is applicable for any/all of the following

  • Care needs assessments

  • Carer’s assessment

  • Care review and support plan

  • Safeguarding enquiry/review

At each stage, an individual has the right to be offered an Independent Care Act Advocate, by their social worker and a referral must be made if eligible.

Carers of adults (incl young carers), carers of children and young people in transition to adult services are all eligible for a Care Act Advocate, along with individuals with care and support needs, if they meet the above criteria.

Some examples of ‘substantial difficulty’ are:

  • Understanding and remembering information

  • Using information to be involved in decisions

  • Telling others their views, feelings and wishes


Advocacy in Slough provide both Instructed Care Act Advocacy, where the individual is able to instruct and Non-Instructed Care Act Advocacy where a mental capacity assessment has been carried out and the individual has been deemed to lack capacity to be involved in decisions about their care and support

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

An IMCA is trained to support and represent someone over 16 who is unable and lacks mental capacity to make particular decisions that affects their life and they have no family or friends who are able to speak for them or family or friends do not want to support them. Sometimes losing mental capacity can be a temporary thing or it could be permanent as result of a disability or illness.

An IMCA does not make any decisions and is independent of the decision maker. The person must have been assessed as lacking mental capacity by a doctor or a social worker at the time the particular decision needs to be made.

An IMCA would normally be instructed by a Social Care or Health or Professional when a decision needs to be made about:

  • A change of accommodation - When the NHS or local authority wants to move a person to hospital for more than 28 days or to other accommodation for more than 8 weeks. Also when accommodation arrangements need to be reviewed as part of a Care review.

  • Serious medical treatment - When the NHS wants to give new treatment, stop treatment that is already being given or when they do not want to start treatment.

  • Safeguarding Adults from Abuse - When the NHS or local council receives a report of abuse. The person that lacks capacity could be the abused or the abuser and plans need to be put in in place to prevent the abuse.

Advocacy in Slough have qualified IMCA’s who meet the person they are supporting and find out about their views and beliefs.  They have the right to access the person’s health and care records. An IMCA considers all relevant information about the person and then writes a report to help decision-makers reach a decision in the best interests of the person. An IMCA also has the right to challenge any decision made.

The decision maker will be staff working in statutory organisations, in the Local Authority or the NHS and who are involved in making best interest decisions

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

an IMHA has trained and gained knowledge in the Mental Health Act 1983 and is able to support people who are:

  • Detained under the Mental Health Act (even if you are currently on leave of absence from hospital) excluding sections 4, 5(2), 5(4), 135 or 136

  • Receiving Supervised Community Treatment (SCT).

  • Being considered for a treatment to which section 57 applies (“a section 57 treatment”)

  • A conditionally discharged restricted patient

  • Subject to Guardianship under the Act

IMHA’s can help and support a patient to understand the following:

  • Reasons for detention and how to appeal

  • The rights and applicable safeguards under the Mental Health Act and any conditions/restrictions which apply

  • Medical treatments

IMHA’s also provide a patient with support to:

  • Access information in a way that meets someone’s needs

  • Be involved in care and treatment decisions

  • Prepare and during meetings, tribunals, Hospital Managers Hearings, CPAs and ward rounds.

  • Talk with staff and say what’s important

  • Ask questions and voice concerns about treatment


Advocacy in Slough provide access to Independent Mental Health Advocacy by having a regular presence at Prospect Park Hospital

Independent Health Complaints Advocacy (IHCA)

If someone is unhappy with the health care they receive, it is a good idea to speak in the first instance with the doctor, nurse or manager of the service.

Hospitals provide a Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), which anyone can speak to about concerns they, relating to any service provided by the NHS. PALS aim is to help resolve any issues/concerns as quickly as possible so that the formal NHS complaints process does not need to be used. Advocacy in Slough provide a useful information pack to use in the first instance. See our TOOLKITS

The NHS Complaints process is there to use if the issues someone has remains unresolved. It can also be used to complain on someone else’s behalf, with their permission. NHS Complaint

Advocates are able to support someone:

  • Source information and explain the complaints process

  • Prepare information and write letters

  • Prepare for a meetings regarding the complaint

  • Attend a complaint meeting

  • Contact and refer to the Health Service Ombudsman if someone is unhappy with the complaint response from the NHS service

  • Signpost to other organisations


NHS Complaints Advocates are unable to support someone to:

  • Investigate the complaint

  • Support with a complaint where the issue happened more than 12 months ago, unless the issue that went wrong has just been identified, or there is a good reason for the complaint not being addressed sooner

  • Support with a complaint relating to private health care

  • Support to complain about a medical professional’s ‘fitness to practice’

  • Give legal or medical advice

If you need advice regarding legal action visit the Action Against Medical Accidents website

Advocacy in Slough also provide a range of non statutory Advocacy services, including

Community Advocacy which is available for adults with care and support needs who face difficulties in having their voice heard, expressing their views and whose physical and/or mental health is at risk of deteriorating if support is not available. This is issue based and outcome focused support and is usually complete within a few weeks.

An Independent Advocate supports people who are able to instruct the Advocate and who are able to be involved in the advocacy support.

An Independent Advocate can support someone to:

| Understand their rights and choices   |   Gather information | Get their voice heard   |  Access services they need


Advocacy in Slough have qualified Independent Advocates who work in partnership with the people they support on a wide variety of issues. This can be anything from housing, transport, health, social care, finance. Advocates are not advisors but can support and guide individuals to express their views and overcome challenges that might exist due to ill health, disability, age or any other disadvantage.