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Someone to speak on my behalf

Having someone to speak on your behalf is often known as advocacy.

Advocacy means having someone who will express your views and wishes, secure your rights and represent your interests. It safeguards people who are vulnerable by speaking up for them. It enables people with physical or learning disabilities, older people and those with mental health needs to make informed choices and decisions about their own health and social care.

Advocacy helps you to access information and services, like benefit entitlement, and to explore choices and options. Advocacy is completely independent from the organisations that provide social care services. Advocates act only according to the wishes of the person they are speaking for. They do not take their own view of what is best, or try to influence the person to make a different choice. Advocacy services are not offered by the Council but there are a number of local organisations that can act as independent advocates.


n-compass Advocacy Services - single point of contact for advocacy services in Blackburn with Darwen

n-compass Advocacy in Blackburn with Darwen offers a single point of contact for all advocacy enquiries in the area.  The single point of contact performs advocacy triage by offering an information, advice, signposting and referral service for all health and social care related advocacy enquiries.  Different types of advocacy support available via the single point of contact in Blackburn with Darwen include:


Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy is statutory advocacy for adults aged 16+ who lack capacity to make certain decisions about their care or treatment or are being assessed / subject to a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard.

Legal duty to refer

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) is a statutory Advocacy Service introduced as part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The Mental Capacity Act places a legal duty on NHS bodies and Local Authorities to refer eligible people to the IMCA Service.



Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy

The Local Authority or NHS body must instruct an IMCA when an individual aged 16+ has no family or friends appropriate to consult and they lack capacity to make important decisions about either:


  • an NHS body providing or withdrawing serious medical treatment
  • an NHS body or Local Authority proposing a stay in a care home of more than 8 weeks or a stay in hospital for more than 28 days


An IMCA may also be considered for decisions regarding:


  • a review of care or accommodation
  • Safeguarding Adult proceedings, for this particular decision a person can still be referred even if they have friends or family involved.



Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

An IMCA can be instructed by the Supervisory Body for DoLS when:


  • a care home or hospital has requested an Urgent or Standard Authorisation to deprive someone aged 18+ of their liberty (39A IMCA)
  • a person aged 18+ is subject to a DoLS and requires an IMCA to stand in as the representative on a temporary basis (39D IMCA)
  • a person aged 18+ subject to a DoLS, or their unpaid representative requests the support of an IMCA via the Supervisory Body (39D IMCA).


Paid Relevant Persons Representative (RPR)

An IMCA can be instructed by the Supervisory Body to provide a Paid RPR for a person subject to a DoLS who has no available unpaid RPR to represent them. 


Care Act Advocacy

Care Act Advocacy is statutory advocacy for adults, who are subject to a safeguarding enquiry or review /  are undergoing a social care assessment or review, who have substantial difficulty being involved in the process and no appropriate person to facilitate their involvement.


Legal duty to refer

The Care Act 2015 states anyone, who is subject to a safeguarding enquiry or review / undergoing a social care assessment overview that has substantial difficulty in understanding the process and no appropriate individual to represent them must be referred, by a health or social care professional, to a Care Act Advocate.


The Local Authority must instruct a Care Act Advocate when an individual has:


  • substantial difficulty in understanding the safeguarding enquiry or review /assessment or review process and has no appropriate individual to represent them
  • a referral can be made at any stage of the assessment / review / support planning stage. A Care Act Advocate will facilitate the person's involvement during the enquiry, assessment or review process, supporting and representing their rights, views, wishes and feelings. 

Independent Mental Health Advocacy

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)   is a statutory right for people aged 18+ detained under most sections of the Mental Health Act, subject to Guardianship or on a community treatment order (CTO) and those aged between 16 - 18 years old who are discussing with a doctor the possibility of ECT.

Legal duty to refer

If you aged 16+ and are restricted or being detained under the Mental Health Act, you are legally entitled to help and support from an Independent Mental Health Advocate.


This applies to hospital patients and those who are on a Supervised Community Treatment Order or under guardianship.


Upon your restriction / detention under the Mental Health Act you will automatically be referred to the IMHA Service by a Health Professional after which an IMHA will then arrange to come and visit you to tell you about the advocacy support we provide and how it can help you. However, you don't have to wait for a professional to refer you to the IMHA service, you contact us direct.


An IMHA will support you to understand:


  • the reasons for your detention and help you to understand how to appeal against this detention using the Mental Health Review Tribunal process
  • your rights under the Mental Health Act and safeguards that apply to you
  • any conditions or restrictions which apply to you
  • the medical treatment you are receiving or might be given for mental health issues
  • the requirement that would apply in connection with the treatment
  • access information. We can ensure that information given to you is presented in an appropriate and understandable format.


Health Complaints Advocacy

Health Complaints Advocacy is for adults aged 18+ wishing to make a complaint about the National Health Service.



General Advocacy

General advocacy is self-help support, via telephone / email, for adults aged 18+ who have a general health or social care issue.


Contact n-compass Advocacy Services

Telephone: 033 000 222 00


Age UK's Information and Advice Service

Age UK Blackburn and Darwen's Information and Advice service's specialist knowledge and considerable experience mean they can contact other organisations to represent people's views and query decisions for people aged 50 and over.

Age UK Blackburn with Darwen
Address: 4 King Street, Blackburn
Phone: 01254 266620
Fax: 01254 266621

You can contact any of the organisations direct but if you are still unsure the Adult Social Care Team will be able to advise you. You can contact them from 8.45am to 5pm, Monday to Friday on (01254) 587547.

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