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Advocacy is about helping people to speak up for themselves, to make sure that their views, thoughts and opinions are heard and understood. Advocates will help people to:

  • Think through different choices and options available to them
  • Make their views and wishes clear
  • Represent their views if they are unable to represent themselves
  • Get independent and accurate information
  • Understand their rights
  • Challenge decisions that have been made about a person if they do not agree with the decision.

In Lincolnshire there are a variety of different advocacy services. All advocacy is free and independent of the Trust.

The different types of service and contact details are described below; 

Care and Support Advocacy

Changes brought in by the Care Act (2015) mean that any decisions about people’s care will consider their well-being and what is important to them so that they can stay healthy and remain as independent as possible. It is therefore important that they are fully involved in decisions about their care and support needs.

A person may be eligible for advocacy if they have care and support needs and have no appropriate friends or family to support them. An advocate may be required where this person finds it difficult;

  • to understand what is happening and the choices that they have,
  • to decide what care and support they need
  • telling people what they want.

Advocacy can be available during:

  • Care and support needs assessment
  • Care and support planning
  • Care and support reviews

Advocacy is available if a person lives at home, in a care home or hospital, or if they are in prison.

More information about care and support advocacy including information leaflets is available from TotalVoice

Telephone: 01522 706580

Text: 07860 018887


Children and Young People’s Advocacy

TotalVoice Lincolnshire provide advocacy for children subject to the Mental Health Act.

TotalVoice and Barnados work in partnership so that children (up to their 18th birthday) are able to access advocacy for situations where they require specialist support and advocacy.

They offer an independent voice to children and young people, to assist them in resolving issues relating to their welfare, care and circumstances. The service actively represents children and young people involved in child protection conferences on an opt-out basis.

Telephone: 01522 706580

Text: 07860 018887


Advocacy for Carers

Advocacy services are available to support carers, including child carers and young carers, who have care and support needs of their own, or are likely to develop needs as a consequence of providing care and:

  • will find it very hard to participate in their carers assessment and reviews
  • there is no one else appropriate to support them to be fully involved

The advocate can be there to ensure that a carer is not alone during their carer’s assessment or review. Advocates will work with the carer in the way that they choose and that best meets their needs.

More information about care and support advocacy including information leaflets is available from Carer Advocacy TotalVoice

Telephone: 01522 706580

Text: 07860 018887


Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy was introduced as part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This gives people who have an impairment, injury or a disability which results in them being unable to make a specific decision for themselves, the right to receive independent support and representation.

The Trust must refer someone if they have no ‘appropriate’ family and friends who can be consulted and they have been assessed as lacking the capacity to make a decision about:

  • any serious medical treatments
  • a move to a hospital that would be for more than 28 days
  • a move to a care home that would be for more than 8 weeks
  • where safety or care which is likely to result in you being deprived of your liberty

An IMCA can challenge decisions made by the decision maker, including the capacity assessment itself.

IMCAs will be allowed to meet with you in private and can ask to see all relevant health, social services and care home records.

All VoiceAbility IMCAs have specialist skills in working with people who are unable to communicate or find it very hard to express themselves. IMCAs also have specialist knowledge of Mental Capacity Act and other interrelated laws, codes and practices.

More information about IMCAs including information leaflets is available from TotalVoice IMCA

Telephone: 01522 706580

Text: 07860 018887


NHS Complaints Advocacy

POhWER is a free and confidential service that is independent of the NHS and tailored to the needs of the individual. POhWER can:

  • Support anyone to make a complaint about the service, care or treatment provided to you by the NHS
  • Support you to make a complaint on someone else’s behalf, including if someone has died,
  • Listen to your concerns
  • Signpost you to the right organisation in the right area if we think that we are not the right organisation for you
  • Answer questions about the complaints procedure and explain your options
  • Provide a step by step guide to the complaints process and some tips
  • Provide you with a POhWER advocate, an experienced worker who can help you make your complaint and support you through the process
  • Support a young person under 16 if they have capacity / competency to reach their own decisions. If a child does not have the capacity to make a decision about their treatment, only a parent or guardian may complain on behalf of their child without permission

POwHER can be contacted by;

Telephone 0300 456 2370

Minicom - 0300 456 2364

Text - send the word ‘pohwer’ with your name and number to 81025

Email - 

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

Anyone detained under the Mental Health Act (1983 as amended 2007) has the right to an advocate known as an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA). This is free and independent of the Trust and provided by TotalVoice Lincolnshire. It is the duty of Trust staff to discuss the idea of an IMHA with the patient and to give them the opportunity to decide for themselves whether to request an IMHA’s help. Where a patient does not have capacity to decide for themselves the Trust has a duty to ask an IMHA to attend the patient so that they can explain what they can offer the patient directly.

More information about IMHAs including information leaflets is available from TotalVoice IMHA

Telephone: 01522 706580

Text: 07860 018887


Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

Speaking Up provides independent specialist mental health advocacy services for people who experience mental health conditions. Speaking Up can work with service users who are:

  • Aged between 16 and 65
  • Living in Lincolnshire
  • Using secondary mental health services

In addition to the above, Speaking Up work with people who are under a section of the Mental Health Act (MHA), regardless of their diagnosis or age. For this group, they are contracted to see them within 72 hours of being referred. There is a team of advocates in place, made up of a service manager, two full time advocates and an 18 hour advocate. This team will work with anyone who meets the referral criteria, regardless of whether they are community based, or using in-patient or day services. They will provide information to enable people to make informed choices and decisions about their lives, and support them to achieve these choices. They will also provide support and assistance in meetings such as CPA reviews, Mental Health Review Tribunals and Multi-Disciplinary Team Meetings. However, Speaking Up cannot investigate complaints, but could support someone to make a complaint if that was their choice of action. Speaking Up will also signpost to a more appropriate service if they cannot offer the service required.

Speaking Up for Lincolnshire can be contacted on 01522 706580 for further information about the service they provide. Alternatively, please contact if you require any leaflets, posters or promotional literature about the service.

A process for referring service users to Speaking Up advocacy services has been developed. Two flowcharts ilustrating the process are below:

Both flowcharts show how colleagues should refer to Speaking Up when a service user (a) has capacity and (b) does not have capacity. They provide all the information that’s needed to proceed.

Speaking Up is contracted and funded by us to provide independent specialist mental health advocacy to SECONDARY mental health service users up to the age of 65, except where the person is detained under the Mental Health Act (MHA), in which case there is no age limit. Under the terms of Speaking Up’s contract with us, an advocate MUST visit a patient within 72 hours of being "sectioned" if the patient has capacity and consents. If a "sectioned" patient doesn't have capacity, they should be referred to Speaking Up giving only the patient’s gender and ward. We monitor Speaking Up’s performance, which includes amongst other things the number of "sectioned" patients they see within 72 hours. Referrals to Speaking Up’s independent specialist mental health advocacy service can be made by phone (01522 706597) or referral form (available from Speaking Up).

Unfortunately some people who use our services aren't eligible for Speaking Up independent specialist mental health advocacy. This omission has been brought to the attention of our commissioners (i.e. the county council and the primary care trust) so these people’s needs will be taken into account in future planning. Our commissioners are about to review all advocacy services in the county.

People NOT eligible for Speaking Up independent specialist mental health advocacy include:

  • informal patients with learning disabilities at Long Leys Court. These patients may be eligible for advocacy from CALL (tel:01522 511114) if they also receive services from the County Council’s adult social care department
  • informal patients over the age of 65 who are in hospital or at home. These people may be eligible for CALL advocacy if they receive social care services from the county council
    recipients of substance misuse services, unless they also use secondary mental health services
  • children and young people under the age of sixteen
  • users of primary mental health services

Speaking Up is also contracted by the County Council to provide IMHA services to the whole county for adults of any age who meet the criteria for IMHA.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) Services

The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) created the role of the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) to represent and support service users that lack capacity to make decisions regarding their accommodation and serious medical treatment.

Speaking Up has been commissioned to provide the IMCA service throughout Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. Anyone that is aware of a relevant decision being made for someone that lacks capacity can make a referral to the IMCA service. To make a referral you can contact the Speaking Up IMCA referral line on 0845 650 0081.

For a referral to be appropriate:

  1. The service user must lack capacity to make the decision for themselves. The appropriate two stage test, as outlined in the Mental Capacity Act (MCA), must have been conducted and recorded on the appropriate form as outlined by the trust’s MCA policy.
  2. The service user must be unsupported by appropriate family or friends; must not have a Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney and no Welfare Deputy should have been appointed by the Court of Protection.
  3. There is a duty to refer to the IMCA service where a decision is being made about the service user’s long term accommodation or any serious medical treatment. Further details of long term accommodation and serious medical treatment are available in Chapter 10 of the MCA Code of Practice.
  4. There is a discretionary power for a decision maker to instruct an IMCA for a service user’s care review, or where there is an adult protection investigation. A decision maker may wish to consider instructing an IMCA for a care review where the IMCA has previously worked with the service user for a previous decision.

The IMCA will not make the decision, but will represent the service user through the decision making process. Each referral should identify the individual who will make the decision, this is the decision maker. An IMCA will contact the decision maker within 72 hours of a referral being made.

If a decision about a service user’s serious medical treatment or accommodation needs to be made in an emergency, an IMCA does not need to be instructed to represent the service user for the emergency decision. However, the decision maker will need to make an IMCA referral for any continuing serious medical treatment or, in the case of a decision about an individual’s long term accommodation, as soon as possible after the emergency decision to move the service user has been made.

To discuss any potential referral please contact the Speaking Up referral line on 01522 706597.

For any further information about the IMCA service please contact the IMCA Service Manager on 01522 706580.

Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS)

ICAS is a free and confidential service that is independent of the NHS and tailored to the needs of the individual.

Service users who want and are able to raise their concerns are empowered to do so.

Service users with more complex needs have access to specialist advocates who can support them through the official complaints process.

How can ICAS help service users?
An experienced worker, known as an Advocate, can:

  • help write letters to the right people
  • prepare the individual for and go to meetings with them
  • help service users explore their options at every stage of the complaint
  • answer questions to help service users make decisions

If you would like the support of an ICAS advocate, you can contact them at:

Unit 14
Evans Business Centre
Gateway Park
Roman Way

Tel: 0300 456 8347
Fax: 01522 705131

Office Opening Hours:
9am – 5pm (Mon, Tues, Weds and Fri)
9am – 7pm (Thurs)

A 24-Hour Telephone Voicemail Service is in operation to accept calls outside office hours.

Visit for more information.