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Choosing an advocate

There are changes to the way our adult social care services are running at the moment, because of COVID-19. These changes include: assessments being completed virtually,  socially distanced face to face meetings, some services only being available over the phone or email and some of our staff needing to wear PPE (personal protective equipment)

For anyone who has difficulty getting involved, an advocate is someone who can support and represent you. They will spend time with you understanding the processes and what’s happening and make sure your wishes, views and feelings can be expressed. They will also support you in challenging a decision made by the Council if needed.

The advocate will help you to be an active partner in the key care and support processes of assessment, care and support planning and review, and any enquiries in relation to abuse or neglect.

The ultimate aim is for your wishes, feelings and needs to be at the heart of these processes.  

Rutland Information Service

How can the Council help in situations where I face difficulty being involved?

Firstly, it would be important to work out if and how you could be better supported. For example, you might find it easier if any information was presented to you in a different way (e.g. larger print, Braille) or to involve an appropriately trained and registered interpreter if needed. Or the Council may be able to make reasonable adjustments so that you can get the support you need.

However if you still have ‘substantial difficulty’ in being involved, the Council will support you to be as fully involved as possible either by:

Making sure you have an appropriate person, such as a friend or relative who can assist your involvement; or

If there is no appropriate individual to help you, by arranging for an independent advocate to support and represent you.

What is meant by 'substantial difficulty'?

A substantial difficulty may be found in any one of the four areas below:

  • Can you understand the information?
  • Can you retain the information?
  • Can you use and think about the information given to you?
  • Can you communicate your views, wishes and feelings?

Many people can be supported to understand relevant information if it is presented appropriately and time is taken to explain it. 

Rutland County Council has a responsibility to make sure this happens. However, some people will not be able to understand relevant information.

If this is the case with yourself and you are unable to retain information long enough to be able to weigh up options and make decisions, then you are likely to have substantial difficulty in being involved in the process.

You must be able to weigh up information to participate fully and express your preferences or choose between options. You must also be able to communicate your views, wishes and feelings - whether by talking, writing, signing or any other means - to help the decision process and make priorities clear. If you are unable to do this, you will have substantial difficulty in engaging with and being involved in the process. 

If you have substantial difficulty being involved in the assessment, planning, review or safeguarding processes, Rutland County Council must make sure you are offered an Independent Advocate unless there is someone else to support you, i.e. an appropriate individual.

Who is an appropriate individual?

An appropriate individual could be, for instance, a carer, friend or relative.

The important thing is that they would be able to make your active involvement in the process possible.

Your wishes must be respected - if you don’t want to be supported by a particular person then this will be honored. You can choose who supports you, but if you don’t have the ability to give your consent,

Rutland County Council must be satisfied it is in your best interests to be supported and represented by the person. 

An appropriate individual cannot be someone who is already providing you or your carer with care or treatment in a professional capacity or on a paid basis.

It cannot be your GP, a nurse, a key worker or care and support worker, for example.

It is the Council’s decision as to whether a family member or friend can act as an appropriate individual and it is their responsibility to communicate that decision to your friends and family where this may have been in question.

There are times where this may not be appropriate, for example:

  • When it is suspected that the family member or other person is being abusive towards you
  • When a placement is being considered in NHS-funded provision and the local Council believes that it would be in your best interests to arrange an independent advocate
  • Where there is a disagreement between the Council and yourself and an independent advocate would be beneficial to this situation

Independent Advocacy Service details

Age UK are the independent advocacy providers for Rutland.

They provide a free independent care act advocacy service in Rutland for adults and young people aged 14+ who might not have an appropriate adult to help them.

Telephone  0116 2045110

E-mail  advocacy@ageukleics.org.uk

Website https://www.ageuk.org.uk/leics/our-services/information-and-advice/care-act-advocacy-service/

What can I do if I am unhappy with any decisions made about my care and support?

If you feel able to, talk through your concerns with the people directly involved and see if you can resolve the issue together. 

If you are unhappy with a decision that has been made about your care and support, you may be able to appeal against the decision. Contact the Council on 01572 722 577 or email enquiries@rutland.gov.uk to find out if you are able to appeal.

If you are still unhappy, you can make a complaint to Rutland County Council. Making a complaint will not adversely affect the care and support services you receive or how you are treated by us.

Let us know…

We are keen to receive your comments on services generally, not just in relation to complaints. We would welcome any views you have about any of our services. For example, if you feel a service is working particularly well, we would like to know this. Tel: 01572 722 577 or email letusknow@rutland.gov.uk

Safeguarding: Important Information

Keeping you safe...

The national eligibility criteria don’t apply to safeguarding situations where there is concern about potential abuse or neglect. Rutland County Council will always respond in situations where there is concern.

If Rutland County Council has a reasonable cause to suspect that you or any other adult in Rutland is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect then the Council must make enquiries and this applies even where the person doesn’t normally live in Rutland but is in the county at the time.

If you are worried about yourself or another person, please contact the Adult Duty Team on 01572 722 577 or email dutyteam@rutland.gov.uk

For more information about safeguarding generally, visit the Leicestershire and Rutland Safeguarding Boardwebsite:

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