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Providing Independent Advocacy under the Care Act 

Some people find making decisions about health and care needs very difficult. The Care Act gives eligible people the right to have an independent advocate who can:

  • support them to prepare for care assessments, meetings or safeguarding enquiries
  • help them understand the care and support processes and options available to them
  • help them feel able to give their views and wishes about their care and support needs
  • work with them so that they are able to make their own decisions
  • support and represent them when appropriate, and to challenge decisions made if it is felt that their views have not been taken into account

This right is also extended to carers, for instance those who provide care to relatives or friends. 

What are the care and support processes that an Independent Advocate can provide help with?

  • an adult needs assessment
  • a carer’s assessment
  • the preparation of a care and support plan or support plan for adults
  • the review of an adult’s care and support plan
  • the review of a carer’s support plan
  • a young person’s needs assessment (if the young person is under transition to adult care/support)
  • a child’s carer’s assessment (if the young person is under transition to adult care/support)
  • a young carer’s assessment
  • a Safeguarding Enquiry
  • a Safeguarding Adults Review

Who is eligible to receive the service?

Independent Advocacy under the Care Act is available for people who would have Substantial Difficulty in being involved in their own care and support process and who do not have an Appropriate Individual available to support and facilitate their active involvement in the process.

What is the definition of Substantial Difficulty?

This means that a person finds one or more of the following very hard to do:

  • Understand relevant information
  • Retain information
  • Use or weigh up the information
  • Communicate their views, wishes and feelings

Who can be an Appropriate Individual?

Family or friends who are available (i.e. they live close enough to support the person on a regular basis) and feel able to support them to be fully involved with all of the social care processes.

Who would not be an Appropriate Individual?

People who are already providing paid-for care will not be able to support the person in this role.

If the person doesn’t want to be supported by a particular relative of friend, then that individual cannot be considered to be appropriate.

Can someone have both an Appropriate Individual and an Independent Advocate?

In some cases, this may be possible. For example:

  • A placement is being considered for an NHS funded stay in hospital (for a period exceeding 4 weeks) or a care home (for a period exceeding 8 weeks)
  • There is a disagreement between the Local Authority and the Appropriate Individual, and it is agreed that the person would benefit from having an advocate


seAp delivers Independent Advocacy under the Care Act in several areas across the south of England. Choose your Local Authority above to check if we provide ICAA in your area. If a person is eligible to receive our support, the Local Authority’s social care teams (and designated organisations) can make a referral to our service.

seAp ICAA leaflet

Easy words and pictures. Easy Read H Click here for an Easy-Read guide to Independent Care and Support Advocacy                                                       
To download the seAp Care Act Advocacy referral form please click below.
This referral form is designed to be used with Nitro or Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.
If you have trouble using this form with your PDF reader and require a different format, or have any questions, please contact us on: 0330 440 9000 or at:

Please note that our ICAA services in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly use a different referral procedure. Please go to the relevant local authority seAp web page for more information.

This service is provided by seAp in the following local authority areas:

  • Bracknell Forest
  • Cornwall
  • Isles of Scilly
  • Kent
  • Milton Keynes
  • North Somerset
  • Plymouth
  • Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
  • West Berkshire
  • Wokingham