If you find it difficult to arrange your own care or to represent yourself, you can ask someone to help with making decisions and talk to us for you.

If someone speaks or acts on your behalf when arranging or managing your care, this is called advocacy. You can choose your own advocate or we can provide one for you. They will:

  • help you make decisions about your life
  • speak out about issues that matter to you
  • protect your rights

If you think you need advocacy, use our Contact Care Direct online form so we can suggest the best organisation for you.

Advocates you know

Someone you already know can support you to get your voice heard in a range of situations. Your advocate could be:

  • a family member
  • a friend
  • someone from your community
  • a member of a faith group

Who can use our advocates

We can provide more formal advocacy for adults where you or your carer find it difficult to get care and support services. This could be because you have:

  • learning difficulties
  • mental health problems
  • physical disabilities
  • sensory impairment

We can also provide advocates to the carer of anyone with one or more of these issues, as well as if you're involved in a safeguarding adults enquiry or review.

When you may need an advocate

  • when we're assessing or reviewing your care needs
  • if a service is withdrawn or reduced
  • if you have a disagreement with us
  • if you have a disagreement with your carer
  • when you're discharged from, or admitted to, a home or day centre
  • if you want to make a complaint to us about social care or a complaint about an NHS funded health service

Advocacy help packs

To help you advocate about a health or care complaint for someone else, or for yourself, there are self help packs available for you to use from The Advocacy People. They also have easy read leaflets and BSL signed videos for you to use.

Advocacy providers

We work with different organisations to help provide some advocacy support for Bristol citizens. These include:

Health and social care complaints advocacy

The Advocacy People can help you advocate about a health or care complaint for someone else, or for yourself.

They have self-help packs, easy read leaflets and BSL signed videos.

Care Act advocacy

If you need help with a Care Needs Assessment or Review, or if there is a safeguarding concern, contact the South West Advocacy Network.

Community advocacy

Contact POhWER, if you need support with:

  • citizen advocacy, for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and physical or sensory impairment, older people and carers of people in these groups, who need support with health and wellbeing issues
  • culturally appropriate advocacy, for people with a minority ethnic background in Bristol who have a mental health issue
  • community outreach advocacy, for adults who have learning disabilities or mental health needs, and their carers, who need support with a particular issue

Advocacy for statutory services

Statutory services include:

  • Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)
  • Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding (DOLS) advocacy
  • a Paid Representative, everyone who is deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act must have a representative. This could be a family member or a friend, but if there is no one suitable it could be a Paid Representative also known as a RPPR
  • health service funded Independent Mental Health Advocacy (inpatient)

If you need support with these, contact South West Advocacy Network.

Other advocacy providers

You may also be able to receive advice about advocacy from other providers:

Plans for the future

The Care Act means that each council needs to look at how it provides advocacy. We're using this as an opportunity to look at advocacy as a whole in Bristol to see if we could do things better.

Engagement and consultation

We have been reviewing how we provide advocacy and have decided on models for future advocacy services. We would like to hear what you think of these different models.

The public consultation is now live, and you can give us your views here: Consultation on Advocacy Services 2023 (Ask Bristol).

  • The public consultation finishes on: 13 December 2023
  • We will publish how we have used your views on this page in the future