Our advocacy services

Advonet provide several different advocacy services for many client groups.  These services are:

Bilingual Advocacy

About the service

We provide an independent, culturally sensitive, bilingual advocacy service and practical assistance supporting clients to fully access their rights and entitlements and negotiate service provisions.

We work with all minority ethnic communities, including refugees, asylum seekers, Roma and other Eastern European communities.  We specialise in supporting those with little or no English.

As a service we run several surgeries across Leeds in areas local to the communities we are supporting.

Our service provides information and practical assistance to aid clients in accessing services, working to ensure that:

  • Clients fully understand their rights and options and are fully heard, and
  • Services are appropriate and understanding of client needs.

Advocacy is provided in relation to:

  • Social care,
  • Health Services,
  • Welfare benefits and tax credits,
  • Housing
  • Debt and financial management.


Care Act Advocacy

About the service

From April 1st 2015, 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 their:

  • Care assessments,
  • Care and support planning,
  • Care and support reviews,
  • Safeguarding enquiries,
  • Safeguarding adult reviews (previously known as serious case reviews).

Care Act Advocates will work with individuals to help them make their own decisions, will support people to understand the care and support process they will be involved in and to tell people about their wishes and feelings to inform discussions about their future care and support needs.

To be entitled to an independent advocate under the Care Act, a person must meet two conditions:

  • The person has substantial difficulty in being fully involved with their assessment, care and support planning and review or safeguarding, and
  • There is no one appropriate and available to support and represent their wishes.

Referrals for an advocate under the Care Act can only be made by a Social Worker.  If you need support to ask a Social Worker for a referral, we may be able to help with that.


Community Mental Health Advocacy

About the service

This service provides ‘issue based’ advocacy for anyone aged 18 and over who experiences mental distress.

If your opinions and ideas are not being listened to, you are not being offered the opportunities and choices you need and if it feels like no one is on your side, a community advocate will listen to you, respect your views and support you to speak up for yourself.  We cannot guarantee you will get what you want but we will make sure your views are heard and your rights are respected.

The service can provide support and options regarding a wide range of issues, e.g. for housing problems; accessing mental health or other services; for parents whose children are in need, at risk or in the care system; and for many other situations.  It can also help to access other types of support if necessary e.g. legal, medical or care services, advice or information or others.

We can meet you at our offices, your home or somewhere else suitable.

We will agree with you what issues you need support with and how you want us to support you.  We will do what you want and won’t take over from you.  We may offer you advocacy over the telephone, e-mail, or for short periods or for a ‘one off’ (e.g. meetings etc.), depending on your needs.


Dementia Advocacy

About the service

The ability of people with dementia to understand issues, make decisions and speak up for themselves varies enormously depending on their circumstances and the degree of dementia that they are experiencing.

Many people with dementia face serious disadvantage and are vulnerable to discrimination and abuse.  Advocacy aims to redress this disadvantage and discrimination by supporting people with dementia, for example, to:

  • play a full part  in decisions about everyday matters affecting their lives;
  • play a full part in major life decisions, for example, about moving home;
  • obtain outcomes that they want;
  • prevent outcomes that they do not want;
  • ensure their needs are met;
  • protect their rights and secure their entitlements;
  • promote their well being;
  • improve their quality of life.

Advocates use a range of techniques to enable people with dementia to have a voice, ranging from making sure that people with dementia who are speaking themselves are heard, to ensuring that the rights and the likely preferences of people who can’t speak for themselves re respected.

People with dementia may have a friend or family member who can advocate for them.  This service is for people who need independent advocacy support in order to make sure that they are heard.


Health Complaints Advocacy

About the service

We can provide free, confidential and independent advocacy if you feel you have not had the service you expect from the NHS and want to make a complaint.

We can support anyone who lives in the Leeds Metropolitan District area, even if the treatment was elsewhere.

You may want to know how the complaint procedure works or who you should send a letter of complaint to; or you may need the support of an advocate to help make your complaint.

We can send you a free information pack or you can download this from here.

As part of our support for people making an NHS complaint we will be happy to provide interpretation, translation, British Sign Language, etc.

The NHS complaints procedure covers all healthcare provided by the NHS.  This includes:

  • Hospital,
  • GP,
  • Dentist,
  • Pharmacist,
  • Optician,
  • NHS funded care from a private provider.

We cannot assist you with complaints about private healthcare, in this case you should complain directly to the provider.


Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy

About the service

Articulate Advocacy cic provides the Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) service for people in Leeds.  Articulate Advocacy is owned and managed by Advonet.

The role of the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate was introduced as part of the Mental Capacity Act (2005).  The main role of an advocate under the Mental Capacity Act is to provide an independent safeguard for people assessed as not being able to make some important decisions.  Their role is to ensure that people are as involved as possible in major decisions about their lives, and that any decisions made on a person’s behalf are made in that person’s best interests.

People over the age of 16 have a statutory right to IMCA if they:

  • Are facing decisions about long term accommodation, or serious medical treatment, or are subject to deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS), and
  • Lack capacity to make these decisions, and
  • Have no appropriate family or friends to consult.

The statutory authorities (Leeds City Council or the NHS services in Leeds) have a duty to instruct an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate if the criteria above are met.

The statutory authorities may also involve an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate in safeguarding cases and some care reviews when the person is assessed to lack relevant capacity.

An IMCA referral should be made on an IMCA Referral Form.  You can download this and fax it to 0113 2440178.


Independent Mental Health Advocacy

About the service

You have the right to the support of an Independent Mental Health Advocate if you are:

  • Detained in hospital under some sections of the Mental Health Act,
  • On a Community Treatment Order,
  • Under Guardianship,
  • A ‘Conditionally discharged patient’,
  • If a special treatment such as ECT or neurosurgery is being discussed with you (even if you are not detained).

Our IMHA service includes specialist advocacy support for people with a learning disability.

The IMHA service can support you to take part as much as you want in decisions about your care and treatment.  Our service can help you obtain and understand information about your rights.  We can come with you to reviews and care planning meetings to help you put your views across.

You can meet your advocate in private and with your permission, the advocate can visit and talk to anyone who is professionally concerned with your medical treatment, and see any records relating to your detention, treatment or aftercare.

The service is confidential, we do not discuss your situation with anyone outside of Advonet without your permission.  However, if you told us of a serious risk of harm to yourself or others, we might have to tell someone.  We would always try to discuss this with you first.


Independent Advocacy at Care Homes

About the service

Since December 2014 Advonet has been providing an independent advocacy service at Ravensdale Care Home. The service has been offered for an average of 2 hours a week. The idea behind the bespoke advocacy service is that the advocate would:

  1. offer an independent source of information for service users about their options
  2. help individual service users/groups of service users to raise issues with staff
  3. support individual service users to participate in care planning meetings
  4. facilitate service user group meetings
  5. support service users to self-advocate individually and as a group
  6. use non-instructed advocacy techniques to enable service users who lack capacity to participate in decision-making about a particular issue

There is a comprehensive partnership agreement in place to safeguard the independence of the advocacy.

Read a review of the advocacy provision at Ravensdale here.


Learning Disability Advocacy

About the service

This project provides a number of different services.  These include:

Citizen Advocacy: Citizen advocates are volunteers who are trained in advocacy, negotiation skills, learning disability awareness, and autism awareness.  They are matched with advocacy partners for long or short term advocacy.

They will get to know the person and support them to communicate their wishes or act as an independent voice on their behalf.  This may include support at meetings, assessments and securing their rights.  They do not make decisions for people but represent the client’s interests as if they were the advocates own.

Parents Advocacy: The parents advocacy gives independent advocacy support to parents with a learning disability.  We support parents whose children are subject to care proceedings, with assessments and attending meetings in connection with their children.

Issue Based Advocacy: The learning disability advocacy project also provides professional advocates to work on more complex or crisis issues.  This can include housing, benefits, decision making, employment issues, among many others.