Advocates. How can one be privately employed ? — Scope | Disability forum
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Advocates. How can one be privately employed ?

newborn Member Posts: 741 Pioneering
Assume not everyone enjoys letting others take power over their lives.  Assume not everyone wants something 'free'.   Assume not everyone conforms to the tick boxes available to be placed on one or other of the available official processing conveyor belts.

Is he a card carrying labelled mental patient? A convict? Learning disabled? Alcoholic? Addict?  If so, he can be awarded a 'free' advocate, to do the things officials deem he needs help with. If not,  he can't have an advocate, no matter how much he is willing to pay, no matter how desperately he needs help. 

 There is no such thing as personal private advocates.   That is hard to understand.   Any other trade or profession has semi retired or part time practitioners wanting a little extra work, if it fits other commitments.   But advocates, alone, work exclusively  for charities or official organisations and are 'free' to users of their assistance.   

Suppose you are overwhelmed with personal troubles and physical disability,  and need to hand over some battles to the equivalent of 'Rent A Brother', someone who will support you, be at your side, be a witness to ensure you don't get bullied while you are tired and down, acompany you if need be, find out your rights, speak up for you, boost your confidence just as an ideal highly competent sibling might do, in a perfect world.

That would be an advocate worth his fee. But how can one be hired?

Suppose you broke your leg and need to endure a hospital stay, far from anyone who could visit?  You need someone on your side, to bring food and papers, to intercede with bully nurses and/or arrogant doctors  ..... (if such could exist?!)   There's a Pals office, which doesnt answer.  You need a phone charger, or perhaps you don't even have your phone with you,  and a change of clothes .    All patients are assumed to have a stock of hot and cold running servants, in the shape of willing and nearby relatives .   You have your credit card, or cash, and need to employ someone. How?

Any individual could employ a window cleaner, a cleaner, a hairdresser, could go to a private health provider or taxi service.

What he can't do, though, is far more important.  He can't,  for any amount of money,  get his own, privately employed, personal advocate.    Or can he? Please prove me wrong, and tell me how this can be done.


  • newborn
    newborn Member Posts: 741 Pioneering
    Is there someone in scope who could answer this?
  • siobhan1
    siobhan1 Member Posts: 77 Pioneering
    Could you not employ a Personal Assistant? On an ad-hoc basis. Or your usual PA could step in if you have one for caring duties at home.

    When i had an adult services care plan (my partner cares for me but was having major inpatient surgery) it included all sorts of random things.

    Such as...

    going for walks with me and my children while I'm in my wheelchair as they are young and I "would struggle to control them in the community" - busy roads etc if they're running around.

    Bringing nightwear and toothbrush to hospital when I'm admitted

    Running errands as necessary

    Calling me every day that my partner is in hospital to monitor my mental health condition.

    I was allowed to pay for their travel costs and reimburse cost of phone calls if any.

    It was a really great plan... It was difficult to find someone who would be available to do the scheduled caring and other things as needed but it did work.

    There needs to be more carers/PA's who can work flexibly this way without infringing on their rights to earn enough to live and also have a good work/life balance.
  • Jean_OT
    Jean_OT Member Posts: 513 Pioneering

    Hi @newborn

    As you have already stated:

    All local councils must commission advocacy services and in certain situations you are legally entitled to an advocate. This is called statutory advocacy and there are three types:

    • Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs) - if you are being assessed or receiving treatment for a mental health condition under the Mental Health Act 1983.
    • Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs) - if you lack capacity to make certain decisions and there is no-one else (such as a family member or friend) who can support or represent you
    • Care and Support Advocates (Care Act) - if you have ‘substantial difficulty’ in being involved in assessments and decisions about your care and don’t have an ‘appropriate adult’ to support you.

    If a person doesn't fall into one of these categories it can be difficult to access advocacy. There are certainly people around who are suitably qualified and experienced to be able to provide independent advocacy on a free-lance basis

    The difficulty is identifying someone in your area as there doesn't appear to be any national register or centralized place that people advertise. I think in truth most advocates work for organisations rather than freelance because most people that most need the services of an independent advocate just don't have the financial resources that you might expect to pay for their service (I thinking in the region of upwards of £25/hour plus expenses).

    Presumably you could advertise locally for someone willing to provide you with this service. I think you should probably ensure that they have at least a level 3 qualification and relevant experience. 

    City and Guilds have qualifications aimed at those working as independent advocates: see also

    The role of a professional advocate won't cover the more care orientated tasks you mention in the second part of your post. Things like fetching items for you when in hospital would be more the remit of an adhoc PA/Carer or maybe even a hospital volunteer or volunteer from the Red Cross if there is s scheme in the area.

    Best Wishes


    Jean Merrilees BSc MRCOT

    You can read more of my posts at:


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