Advocacy is a fancy word for helping people to speak for themselves.
Advocates don’t speak on behalf of people with a learning disability – they make sure a person's own voice is heard.
Advocates support people to develop the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to voice their concerns and make sure they are being treated right.
Advocates help people to:
- access information and services
- be involved in decisions about their lives
- explore choices and options
- speak out about issues that matter to them.
How advocacy services work
Mencap do not offer an advocacy service, but if you contact our Learning Disability Helpline we may be able to put you in touch with someone who does.
Every local authority commissions advocacy services to support people who need help making their voice heard.
Advocacy services are provided by an advocate who is independent, and who is not part of your family or one of your friends.
Being independent means they are there to represent wishes without giving their personal opinion and without representing anyone else’s views.
How an advocate will support you
If you have a learning disability, an advocate might help you access information you need or go with you to meetings or interviews in a supportive role.
An advocate's role includes making sure correct procedures are followed and making sure your voice is heard. You may want your advocate to write letters on your behalf, or speak for you in situations where you don't feel able to speak for yourself.
We've created the following factsheets to help you with the benefits application, Care Act assessment and follow-up process:
Delays in receiving benefits (PDF, 52 KB) - this factsheet explains the options that may be available to you whilst you're waiting for your first payment.
Mandatory reconsiderations (PDF, 48 KB) - this factsheet explains what to do if you wish to challenge a benefit decision.
Reasonable adjustments (PDF, 425 KB) - this factsheet explains what changes should be made by the Job Centre and DWP for people with a learning disability who are looking to claim benefits.
What happens next (PDF, 367 KB) - this factsheet sets out what should happen after your Care Act assessment.
Reviews and new assessments (PDF, 219 KB) - this factsheet is for people who already receive care and support through a package of social care and what they can expect from the review and assessment process.
Direct payments (PDF, 72 KB) - this factsheet explains how people with a learning disability and their families can receive direct payments to arrange their social care support themselves.
How to get the support you need
Contact the Learning Disability Help, for guidance and information about what support we can offer you.
Or why not take a look at our online community? This is a place for parents and family carers of people with a learning disability to share experiences, advice and support.