The Care Act 2014 requires local authorities to change their approach from primarily providing services to promoting people’s individual wellbeing. The Act is a single piece of legislation that makes it clear what kind of care and support people should expect.
Care Act 2014: Advocacy and the duty to involve
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.
When does the advocacy duty apply?
The advocacy duty will apply from the point of first contact with the local authority and at any subsequent stage of the assessment, planning, care review, safeguarding enquiry or safeguarding adult review.
If it appears to the authority that a person has care and support needs, then a judgement must be made as to whether that person has substantial difficulty in being involved and if there is not an appropriate individual to support them.
An independent advocate must be appointed to support and represent the person for the purpose of assisting their involvement if these two conditions are met and if the individual is required to take part in one or more of the following processes described in the Care Act:
- a needs assessment
- a carer’s assessment
- the preparation of a care and support or support plan
- a review of a care and support or support plan
- a safeguarding enquiry
- a safeguarding adult review
- an appeal against a local authority decision under Part 1 of the Care Act (subject to further consultation).