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Nottinghamshire County Council - Proud of our past, ambitious for our future


Advocacy supports people to have their say and get their views heard. Advocates can speak up for you if you can’t speak up for yourself.


What will an advocate do?

Advocates will talk to you and find out more about how you feel and what you want. 

Advocates will:

  •  listen to you
  •  help you to make choices
  •  help you get information you need
  •  help you write down what you want to say
  •  attend meetings with you if you ask them to
  •  speak up on your behalf but only if you want them to.

Advocates will not:

  •  give advice
  •  give their own views
  •  make judgements
  •  solve problems.


What is said between you and an advocate is private and will be shared without your permission only in exceptional circumstances. Your advocate will have a policy setting out when information will be shared without permission. You can ask them about this.


Who might need an advocate?

Anyone using services provided by us

If you are aged 18 years or over you can use our advocacy service if you:

  •  feel nobody is listening to you
  •  want to change things in your life and decisions are being made that affect you
  •  feel your rights have not been respected
  •  have a difficult decision to make and want to talk about choices.

People being treated under the Mental Health Act

Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHA) help patients understand:

  •  the Mental Health Act and how it applies to them
  •  any treatment that they might receive
  •  their rights under the Act.

People unable to make their own decisions

Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCA) support and represent people who:

  • lack the ability to make their own decisions
  • have no one else with the authority to do it for them.

They look at the way the decision is being made but do not make the decision on behalf of the person they represent.

See our mental capacity pages for more information.

People who are being deprived of their liberty

Under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) anyone who doesn't have someone to speak up for them can have a Paid Representative to ensure their best interests are met. This usually happens in care homes and hospitals.

See our Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards page for more information.

People who are making a complaint about Health Services

From April 2013 we are now able assist people when they are making a complaint about Health Services in Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire. The aim is to empower people to handle their own complaints by providing as much or as little support as people need in order to feel able to make their complaint. To do this, advocates will explain the options available and support people to pursue their chosen course of action. They will only do what you ask them to and will not try to tell you what to do. 

People who think they need care and support

Adults, carers and young people in transition have a right to a Care Act advocate if they have considerable difficulty being involved in an assessment of their care needs [PDF], development of a care and support plan [PDF] and a review of their needs and they have no family or friends to support them.

Advocates are also available to some people involved in safeguarding. 

How do I get an advocate?

Advocacy in Nottinghamshire (and Nottingham City) is provided by the Your Voice, Your Choice service. They have a single point of access for all advocacy services.


Is there a charge?

There is no charge for any of the advocacy services provided.


What if I am unhappy with the service I get from an independent advocacy service?

If you are unhappy about the service you get you can make a complaint. The advocacy service will tell you how to do this when they first begin to work with you. If you feel you cannot talk to the advocacy service about your complaint contact our complaints team.

Other useful advocacy contacts   

There are other sources of support for people who may need help to speak up. Nottinghamshire Help Yourself lists a number of organisations who provide advocacy services. 

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Provides a confidential listening and support service for patients and their relatives. Available to anyone using health services.  
tel: 0800 028 3693
website: www.nhs.uk

National Youth Advocacy Service

A national charity providing advocacy and advice to young people up to the age of 25.

freephone: 0808 808 1001
email: help@nyas.net
website: www.nyas.net

Complaints and Information Team 

Support for people who want to make a complaint or comment about Nottinghamshire County Council.

Community Legal Service Direct

Free and confidential service providing independent legal advice.
tel: 0845 345 4345
email: contact@clsdirect.org.uk
website: www.clsdirect.org.uk

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