Independent Professional Advocacy
Local authorities must arrange for the provision of an independent professional advocate when a person can only overcome the barrier(s) to participate fully in the assessment, care and support planning, review and safeguarding processes with assistance from an appropriate individual, but there is no appropriate individual available.
An “appropriate individual” may be a family member, friend, carer, or anyone providing a non-professional form of independent advocacy. An appropriate individual is someone who can facilitate a person’s involvement in the assessment, care and support planning, review and safeguarding processes.
The appropriate individual should have sufficient understanding of local authority processes to be able to support the person’s participation in determining their well-being outcomes and obtaining the care and support they need.
However, an appropriate individual cannot be someone who:
– the person does not want to support them
– is unlikely to be able to, or available to,
– adequately support them, or
– is implicated in a safeguarding enquiry.
The person needs to be able to engage and participate fully when local authorities are exercising statutory duties in relation to them.
Participating fully enables the individual to express or have represented and taken into account their views, wishes and feelings; that they understand their rights and entitlements; the decision-making process; what matters to them; the personal well-being outcomes that they wish to achieve; the barriers to achieving those outcomes, and the options and choices available to them.
“What constitutes the barriers which can impact on an individual’s ability to engage and fully participate” Local authorities must in partnership with each individual, consider whether that individual is likely to experience barriers to participating fully in determining their well-being outcomes and reach a conclusion on their needs for advocacy support.
Key barriers will include issues and situations that will impair individuals’ ability to:
– understand relevant information
– retain information
– use or weigh up information
– communicate their views, wishes and feelings.