The Government has created a clause in the Care Bill that will give vulnerable people a right to an independent advocate, allowing them to navigate the care system and giving them a voice about their own care.
Mind, as part of the Care and Support Alliance, has been calling on the Government to introduce a right to independent advocacy in the social care system. We are delighted to announce that the Government has inserted a new clause into its Care Bill which will be discussed in the House of Lords today. When the Bill becomes law, local authorities will need to ensure independent advocates are available for the most vulnerable members of their communities.
Social care can provide people with mental health problems with the practical support they need to live independently – such as help with bills, shopping and appointments – but too many people don’t get the support they need. This is often because they find it hard to articulate their needs or to navigate their way through the complex, intimidating social care system.
Independent advocates provide support to people who find it hard to express their views and needs, or make decisions about their care. They play a crucial role in ensuring people get the care they need. At the moment, however, advocacy provision is patchy and varies from one local authority to another.
Louise Kirsh, Parliamentary Manager at Mind said,
"It’s fantastic news that the Government has taken on board our views and concerns and created a right to advocacy. The Government has said it wants to empower people to make choices about their social care, but we know this can be difficult if you have a mental health problem. This new clause will help ensure that nobody is denied care simply because they are too unwell to articulate their needs.
Whilst this is a significant achievement, there are other areas of the Care Bill we would like to see strengthened. We are particularly concerned about after care services, which are vital for people leaving hospital after being detained under the Mental Health Act. The Care Bill will make it more difficult to access these services, which are crucial in helping people get back on their feet, and in preventing re-admission."
About the Care and Support Alliance:
Set up in July 2009, the C&SA is a consortium of over 70 organisations that represent and support older and disabled people, those with long-term conditions and their families; and campaigns to keep adult care funding and reform on the political agenda.