KEY POINTS

  • People must be supported to be involved as fully as possible in all aspects of interaction with Adult Care including assessment, support planning or review and any safeguarding enquiry or review.
  • When people have substantial difficulty and there is not an appropriate person to support them, an Independent Advocate must be provided.
  • When a language or communication barrier prevents people from accessing a service, it may be appropriate to provide an interpreter, document translation, or information in an alternative format.

July 2019: This chapter has been revised to include additional information in Section 4.1, Useful Contacts.

1. Independent Advocacy

The  Care Act 2014 requires that local authorities will arrange for an independent advocate to represent and support an individual to be involved in all aspects of their assessment, support planning or review (scheduled or unscheduled) and any safeguarding enquiry or review, if the person would experience substantial difficulty in doing one or more of the following:

  • understanding relevant information;
  • retaining that information;
  • using or weighing that information as part of the process of being involved;
  • communicating their views, wishes or feelings (whether by talking, using sign language or any other means).

The duty to arrange an independent advocate does not apply if there is someone who would be an ‘appropriate person’ to represent and support the individual. An ‘appropriate person’ is not an option if:

  • they are engaged in providing care or treatment for the individual in a professional capacity or for remuneration; and
  • the individual does not have capacity to consent to being represented and supported by that person, and the local authority is not satisfied that being represented and supported by that person would be in the individual’s best interests.

If a safeguarding enquiry or review needs to begin as a matter of urgency, it may do so even if the authority has not yet been able to arrange for the involvement of an independent advocate.

Chapter 7, Independent Advocacy, of the Care and Support Statutory Guidance provides full information about when an advocate should be involved, and their role in that involvement.

The VoiceAbility Referral Flowchart illustrates advocacy under the Care Act.

Total Voice Lincolnshire is a partnership between VoiceAbilityBarnardo’s, and Age UK Lincoln and South Lincolnshire. The partners provide an independent advocacy service designed to help people gather and understand the information they need in order to express their needs and desires, and to support people to express those needs and desires. Total Voice’s maxim is “advocacy is about empowerment”, and person centred techniques are used to ensure the service meets the needs of each person and time is spent developing methods which best suits the person requiring the service.

The types of advocacy services for adults, provided by Total Voice, are Care and Support AdvocacyCommunity Advocacy, Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA), and Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA).

Total Voice Lincolnshire will help people to:

  • have their feelings and opinions heard, respected and responded to;
  • be involved in health and social care decisions made about them;
  • have the support and confidence to question decisions;
  • have their issues resolved as far as is possible;
  • have support to access sources of advice and information;
  • make an informed choice and take control;
  • be supported in times of crisis;
  • be supported to challenge discrimination and poor standards of service.

Referrals will be accepted from a wide range of sources including:

  • in person, by telephone, correspondence, email;
  • from a third party with the person’s consent (subject to agreed protocols);
  • by a person acting in the best interests of a person who lacks capacity (subject to agreed protocols);
  • Adult Care professionals;
  • health professionals;
  • safeguarding teams;
  • Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Team;
  • Healthwatch;
  • Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust staff;
  • local authority and NHS complaints departments.

Additional information is available to Adult Care staff through the Independent Advocacy page on Lincolnshire County Council’s intranet.

2. Foreign Language and Accessible Communication Needs

Lincolnshire County Council does not translate information as a matter of course. However, there are times when a language or communication barrier prevents people from accessing a service. In such cases it may be appropriate to provide an interpreter, document translation, or information in an alternative format. Staff can find more information about how and when to arrange this through the Interpretation and Translation section on Lincolnshire County Council’s intranet.

Lincolnshire County Council provides Adult Care information in accessible formats for people with communication needs. Where a service user or member of the public requires information in an alternative format or the use of an interpreter, this should be provided in line with the Accessible Information Standard. Additional information is available to Adult Care staff showing how to make information accessible in the Making Information Accessible document.

3. Terminology

Practitioners are encouraged to use plain English in their recording, wherever possible. However, there are many social care terms used in Adult Care which staff will need to understand. Common keywords used in these policies, procedures and practice guidance can be found in the Glossary section. Think Local Act Personal has created a Care and Support Jargon Buster as a guide to the most commonly used social care words and phrases, with definitions. Additionally, the Patient Info website lists medical abbreviations.

4. Armed Forces Covenant

‘To those who proudly protect our nation, who do so with honour, courage, and commitment, the Armed Forces Covenant is the nation’s commitment to you.’

The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge from the nation that together we acknowledge and understand that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve.

The covenant focuses on helping members of the armed forces community to have the same access to government and commercial services and products as any other citizen.

This support is provided in a number of areas including:

  • education and family wellbeing;
  • having a home;
  • starting a new career;
  • access to healthcare;
  • financial assistance;
  • discounted services.

Lincolnshire County Council is committed to ensuring that pledge is upheld, ensuring people who are or have served and their families are able to access our services. It is therefore important that as Adult Care practitioners, we are aware of the covenant and mindful of its significance in our practice.

Raising the question during an assessment of whether someone has served or is related to someone who has served in the armed forces is really important to understanding that person, their strengths, interests, qualities and connections. This may lead to support that maintains their independence, builds on what they can do for themselves and more importantly support that makes sense and works for them.

4.1 Useful contacts

The information below contains contact details for the main organisations that can provide support and should be considered the first port of call if a person whom you are supporting indicates they have a personal connection to the Armed Forces.

There is also an e-learning module available on Lincs2Learn – The Armed Forces Covenant: e-Learning for Front Line Workers.