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Someone to speak on your behalf

Sometimes it helps to have someone else who can speak on your behalf and represent your interests, especially in formal situations or when you don't feel very confident. A person who speaks on your behalf in this way is often called an 'advocate'.

As a result of the Care Act 2014 your local council has a duty to ensure that the people it works with have access to an advocate in certain circumstances.

For people with learning disabilities, we have our page Someone To Help Me Speak Up for easy-read information on advocacy.


Advocates can help you get your views or wishes across about the issues which are important to you, such as the care or medical treatment which you receive, or the management of your finances.

Advocacy doesn't always have to be provided by paid professionals. Often people take a friend or family member with them to important meetings with doctors, social workers or other professionals, to give them moral support and to speak up on their behalf.

Alternatively there are organisations that can arrange for a professional advocate to be with you at a meeting, or to contact someone on your behalf. A professional advocate will know about your rights, and about the options which should be made available to you, and will make sure that your views are properly heard.

You can make your own arrangements to get the support of an advocate at any time.

But the Care Act 2014 means that there are certain circumstances where your local council has a legal duty to ensure that you have the support of someone who can help you express your views and wishes.

Your council may need to ensure that there is someone to support you to express your views and wishes if you would otherwise have "substantial difficulty" in doing so yourself. "Substantial difficulty"could mean that:-

  • You have difficulty in making decisions about something by yourself, perhaps because you have memory problems or a mental health issue
  • You have difficulty in expressing your views, wishes or feelings, perhaps because you have a disability which affects your speech

If you do have substantial difficulty in speaking for yourself then someone will need to be involved in supporting you on the following occasions:-

  • During the care assessmentsupport planning and review process when your support arrangements are being discussed with you
  • During a carer's assessment
  • During a young carer's assessment
  • During a safeguarding enquiry or a safeguarding adult review
  • During an appeal against a local authority decision under Part 1 of the Care Act (subject to further consultation)
  • During a child's needs assessment (when you are the person looking after the child)
  • During a child's carer's assessment (when you are the person looking after the child, and the child has a disability)
Last updated: 17/08/2021