What is Care Act Advocacy?
The Care Act (2014) guarantees the right for anyone with a need for care to be entitled to a needs assessment. It also entitles the person supporting them to a carer’s assessment if they have their own need and meet national eligibility criteria.
Local authorities must involve people in decisions made about them and their care and support. No matter how complex a person’s needs, local authorities are required to help people express their wishes and feelings, support them in weighing up their options, and assist them in making their own decisions.
Under the Care Act you are entitled to a carer’s assessment where you appear to have needs, this matches the rights to an assessment of the person being cared for. You will be entitled to support if you meet the national eligibility criteria.
The person you care for is entitled to a ‘needs assessment’ if they appear to have needs for care and support.
Local authorities are allowed to arrange for other organisations such as charities or private companies to carry out assessments.
Who is it for?
Care Act advocacy is available to a person in need of support if:
- The person has substantial difficulty in being fully involved with their assessment, care and support planning and review or safeguarding.
(Substantial difficulty is defined as issues with understanding, remembering, using relevant information and communicating views, wishes and feelings).
- There is no one appropriate and available to support and represent their wishes
An appropriate person could usually be a family member, but cannot be:
- already providing care or treatment to the person in a professional or paid capacity.
- someone the person does not want to support them
- someone who is unlikely to be able or available to adequately support the person’s involvement
- someone implicated in an enquiry into abuse or neglect or who has been judged by a safeguarding adult review to have failed to prevent abuse or neglect.
What can an advocate do?
The advocate can:
- Speak with you to discuss your views, wishes and feelings about your care
- Provide information about the Care Act assessment process
- Support you at a carers assessment
- Signpost you to other support organisations
- Speak on your behalf when necessary
- Speak with your social worker when necessary
The advocate cannot:
- Provide advice, or tell you what to do or say
- Provide support for financial, housing, or welfare issues you may have
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I have an advocate instead of my family member to support me?
Yes. You have the right to support from someone of your choosing who is appropriate and available to support you. You do not have to be supported by an unpaid carer, friend, or family member if you do not wish to be.
I provide care for my disabled child. Can I have an assessment separately to my child?
Yes. The Children and Families Act 2014 gives you a standalone right to an assessment as the parent of a disabled child.
I’m a carer for my child who is turning 18 soon, what will happen to their care?
The Care Act 2014 introduced a new duty on local authorities to carry out Child’s Needs Assessments (CNA) for young people where there is ‘likely to be a need for care and support’ after they reach 18. The CNA should look at what adult community care services a young person might qualify for when they turn 18 and should include a predicted personal budget.
Young people or their carers can request a CNA at any time before a young person turns 18 at a time when it is of ‘significant benefit’ to their preparation for adulthood.
The Care Act also ensures that if the local authority has not carried out a CNA, then they must continue to provide community care services to the young adult until a either a decision has been made that they do not qualify for services under the Care Act or the care they have been assessed as needing is actually in place.
What if I disagree with a decision social services have made?
If you are not happy with the way you have been treated, or with the outcome of any of the assessments, you can complain to social services.
If you are not happy with the outcome of the complaint, you may be able to take a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman. Your social services department should be able to give you more information about this.