Our Advocacy Services
We offer advocacy in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
We are commissioned to provide statuary advocacy, and funded for other types of advocacy by health and fundraising activities
DoLS & Paid Representation
The purpose of the RPR Service is to provide specialist independent paid representative service to people under authorisation covered by the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards 2009.
IMCA and RPR are statutory services under the Mental Capacity Act and The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, governed by the Act; the relevant Codes of Practice and Guidance and case law.
The RPR must:
Ensure that the person represented is eligible to be deprived of liberty under the terms of the MCA DoLS.
Ensure that the MCA DoLS are never used as a form of punishment for the relevant person, or for the convenience of professionals, carers or anyone else.
Have a good understanding of the six qualifying requirements for the assessment process. If the RPR thinks the person represented does not meet (or has ceased to meet) any one of the assessment criteria, the RPR should ask for a Part 8 review of the MCA DoLS assessment.
Understand the terms of MCA DoLS authorisations, both urgent and standard.
Have regular, face-to-face contact with the person being deprived of their liberty, to ensure that their interests are being safeguarded.
Consult with carers and anyone who has an interest in the relevant person’s welfare to ensure that all decisions are made in their best interests.
Challenge authorisations on behalf of the person represented in the Court of Protection, if efforts to resolve any concerns informally with the managing authority and/or supervisory body have failed.
Comply with the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice.
Comply with the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards 2009 legislation and Code of Practice.
Once a standard DoLs authorisation has been granted, the Supervisory Body must appoint the RPR as soon as possible to represent the person who has been deprived of their liberty.
If neither the Relevant Person or Deputy selects an eligible person nor the Best Interests Assessor is unable to recommend anyone, the Supervisory Body must identify an eligible person via this Service.
The Supervisory Body will formally request the appointment of a paid RPR from this Service.
The service can provide support to people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and/or mental health conditions. The service is available to adults who are
from an ethnic or minority background and aged 18 years or over. There is no upper age limit.
Advocacy for Stoke-on-Trent residents
The service can provide support to people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and/or mental health conditions. The service is available to adults who are from an ethnic or minority background and aged 18 years or over. There is no upper age limit.
Advocates are allocated to work alongside people who are referred to the service and where there is a specific issue, or issues, that the person feels they need advocacy support to resolve. Generally, although not exclusively, advocates provide support to people who need assistance to understand their options and assert their views, choices and opinions in relation to services they are receiving from health and social care. An advocate can support people to:
• find information about their options
• discuss and understand their situation and the choices available to them
• speak up; by supporting them at meetings and reviews, including those with health and social care services and helping people to write letters or make calls.
Advocacy is free to access and confidential, however there may be a small wait for an advocate to be allocated.
The role of the Advocate is to empower and assist parents to fully engage in the Children’s Social Care statutory processes. To do this the Service Provider will focus on providing support at the following:
Child In Need (CIN) Meetings
Child Protection Conferences
In Stoke-on-Trent Asist is providing advocacy for parents:
The person requiring support is a parent of a child/ children that are open to Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Children’s Social Care; and;
The person has a diagnosed Learning Disability, which leads to them having substantial difficulty in one or more of the following areas:
Understanding relevant information
Using or weighing up information
Communicating their views, wishes and feelings; and;
There is no one appropriate or available to facilitate the person’s active involvement in the process
Referrals into the Parents Advocacy service will only be accepted upon receipt of detailed referral information that outlines any risks that need to be considered.
Referrals will only be accepted from the following Stoke-on-Trent City Council Children’s Social Care staff unless authorised by the Lead Commissioner:
Assistant Social Workers
Conference and Review Managers
Independent Reviewing Officers
NHS Complaints Advocacy
Do you live in Stoke on Trent and wish to make a complaint about an NHS service that you, or someone you know, have received, but not sure where to start?
This is a free, confidential, independent service that can help you to raise your concerns and make a complaint about a National Health Service, for example: a Doctor, Dentist, Hospital. By raising your concerns it can help to put things right and the NHS can learn from your experience. This could consist of an explanation, an apology or information about how the NHS has used your experience to improve their services or care.
An NHS Complaints Advocate can help you with a complaint about NHS treatment and care that is provided or funded by the NHS, we can provide:
• information to help you make a complaint
• support to make a formal NHS complaint
This could be:
• a complaint about your care and treatment
• a complaint about care and treatment of a child under the age of 18 who is unable to complain
• a complaint on behalf of your family member or friend with their permission
• a complaint on behalf of your family member or friend if they are unable to consent or agree (the health provider will check the person’s capacity)
• a complaint on behalf of a relative or friend who has died, even without their permission
The Care Act 2014 came into effect on 1st April 2015. The Act introduces principles of wellbeing and prevention and the recognition that an individual, their family and/or carer must be enabled to make decisions regarding their own care.
The Care Act places a new duty on local authorities to provide access to independent advocacy to those who would have substantial difficulty in being involved in care and support ‘processes’ and have no appropriate or available individual(s) who can support their involvement.
In Stoke-on-Trent Asist is providing advocacy under the Care Act to:
• Adults with care and support needs
• Carers with support needs
• Adult carers of a young people in transition
The Care Act extends the right for eligible people to have independent advocacy to help them be actively involved in their care and support process, including:
• an adult’s needs assessment
• a carer’s assessment
• the preparation of an adult’s care and support plan or support plan
• a review of an adult’s care and support plan or support plan
• a safeguarding enquiry
• a safeguarding adults review
A referral can only be made from a social worker
Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
From the 1st April 2009 new legislation came into effect under amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 (the Act) introduced by the Mental Health Act 2007. This placed a duty on the responsible individual and/or body to provide certain qualifying patients with information regarding the availability of their local IMHA Service. The IMHA Service in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is provided by Asist. Please note that the duty is to provide information and patients may choose not to be referred to the IMHA Service.
Persons who qualify for the IMHA Service are:
• Being detained under a Section of the MHA* or are on leave of absence from hospital
• Conditionally discharged and restricted patients
• Subject to Guardianship
• On Supervised Community Treatment
• Being considered for a section 57 treatment
• Under 18 and being considered for a Section 58A treatment like electro-convulsive therapy
*This does not include emergency and short term detentions such as those made under Sections 4, 5(2), 5(4), 135 or 136
Under mental health section and residing within Stoke-on-Trent area
Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)
Asist is the provider of IMCA Services across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. This page outlines the basic eligibility requirements of the Act.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 requires that Local Authorities and NHS bodies must instruct an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) when:
An eligible decision is to be made (Serious Medical Treatment; Change of Accommodation)
The person has been assessed as lacking capacity to make that decision
There are no friends or family willing, able or appropriate to be consulted as part of the best interests decision making process.
IMCA instructions can also be made for Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults when protective measures are proposed (irrespective of consultable friends/ family) and for Care Reviews relating to accommodation.