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 VoiceAbility.

Children and Young People’s Advocacy

VoiceAbility provide advocacy for children subject to the Mental Health Act.

VoiceAbility works to provide children (up to their 18th birthday) access to 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.

In North East Lincolnshire advocacy services are provided by Cloverleaf Advocacy. They can be contacted on:

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 is available from VoiceAbility.

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 IMCA is availble from VoiceAbility.

NHS Complaints Advocacy

You can get free information and support from us to help you use the NHS complaints process from Voiceability.

Advocates are independent professionals who are trained to support you. They are on your side and don’t work for the hospital or the NHS.

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 Voiceability. 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 is available from Voiceability

VoiceAbility - NHS complaints advocacy

A free, independent and confidential advocacy service to support people with their NHS complaint.

Click here for their website


VoiceAbility also provides independent specialist mental health advocacy services for people who experience mental health conditions.

Click here for their website