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Role of an Independent Advocate during Care Proceedings

View profile for Isabelle Swirles
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The role of an independent advocate is to support and  assist a person to communicate their views, wishes and feelings. This may be encouraging them to voice their opinions or assisting their involvement in the court process.

An independent advocate is a professional advocate who is appointed by the Local Authority but is independent from them. The Local Authority has a duty to provide an independent advocate under section 67 – 68 of the Care Act 2014. Which outlines that it is necessary to appoint an independent advocate if.

  • They feel that the person (or carer) would experience substantial difficulty being fully involved in the Care and Support process without support; and
  • There is no appropriate other person to support and represent them.

Substantial difficulty applies to one or more of the following areas;

  • Understanding relevant information relating to the process or function taking place.
  • Retaining that information
  • Using or weighing up that information as part of the process of being involved; or
  • Communicating their views, wishes or feelings (whether by taking, using sign language or any other means)

The duty applies for care and support for the Local Authority when:

  • They are carrying out a needs assessment with a person (whether this is online or face to face or via telephone)
  • Carrying out a carer’s assessment (such as a parenting assessment or pre-birth assessment)
  • Preparing a care and support plan
  • Revising a care and support plan
  • Carrying out a child’s needs assessment for transition purposes
  • Carrying out a child’s carer’s assessment
  • Carrying out a young carer’s assessment
  • Carrying out a safeguarding enquiry or a safeguarding adults review

The Local Authority must consider whether a person may experience substantial difficulty in one of the care and support processes listed above. The Local Authority may give regard to any health condition, disability or learning difficulty a person has. They may also consider the degree of complexity of the circumstances or whether a person is experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect.

Here at Johnson Astills Solicitors, members of our Care Department are highly experienced and can deal with a wide range of matters where Social Services are involved.  Please contact Johnson Astills at either our Leicester Office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough Office on 01509 610 312 and ask for a member of the Care Team so that we can advise you accordingly. Alternatively, please email us on and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.