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Adult social care advocacy services

Find out how you can ensure that your voice is heard in the social care decision-making process.​ 

What is advocacy?

Some people have difficulties taking part in the social care decision-making process. This could be for a variety of reasons, including having a learning disability, mental or physical health issues, or being very elderly or ill.

We have a duty to involve you in all decisions made about your social care, no matter how complex your needs. If you have difficulty expressing your needs, or lack capacity to do so, we have a duty to help you express your needs and wishes, especially around major life choices.

An advocate is a professional who can help you express your wishes, feelings and choices, and can secure your right to be involved in making decisions that concern you. People that have substantial difficulty in being involved in their social care decisions have a right to an advocate.

Your social care practitioner may talk to you about referring you for an advocate. There are several different types of advocates that offer a range of support.

Our advocacy services

We offer an integrated advocacy service, provided by POWhER, who provide free, confidential and independent advocacy services to help people:

  • understand their rights
  • be treated as equals
  • be heard.

POWhER offers the following types of advocacy:

Care Act advocate

Under the Care Act 2014, we must provide support to people who face challenges when making decisions about adult social care.

A Care Act advocate can give you support if you don't have another appropriate person to help you. The advocate can help you with different social care processes, including:

  • assessments
  • reviews
  • support plans.

Independent mental capacity advocate

Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, we must refer you to an independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA) if:

  • you lack capacity to make serious life decisions surrounding medical treatment or accommodation

  • we are carrying out a Deprivation of Liberty assessment and there is no appropriate person to offer support.

Independent mental health advocate

If you are detained under the Mental Health Act 2005, you must be given an independent mental health advocate (IMHA), subject to a guardianship or community treatment order.

Being detained under the Mental Health Act can be distressing, so independent support can be helpful. An IMHA can help you get your views heard and understand your rights under the act.


Lewisham Integrated Advocacy Service


NHS advocacy

We can offer you advocacy support if you have a complaint about a service commissioned or provided by the NHS, including:

  • your GP
  • pharmacies
  • opticians
  • dentists
  • the ambulance service.

We commission Healthwatch Lewisham to provide this service.

For more information about our advocacy services, contact:


NHS Complaints Service