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Portsmouth Advocacy

Portsmouth Advocacy – Working Together for your Rights

Advocacy is a way to support and enable people to speak up and defend their rights.

For information and updates about current disruptions and changes to our services please click here.

Portsmouth Advocacy offers a wide range of free advocacy services, with over 32 years of experience. If you feel that you need someone to listen to you, and help you to speak up, then you may benefit from an advocate. Our advocacy services are provided in a person-centred way to make sure that you stay at the centre of your decision process. Advocacy is there to help you to have choice, equality, justice, support, empowerment, information, and to protect your rights.

What is an Advocate?

An advocate is an independent third party who will help you to:

  • Express your views and concerns
  • Exercise your rights
  • Have your interests represented
  • Access information and services
  • Explore your choices and options
  • Defend and promote your rights and entitlements
  • Explore your options and exercise your right of choice

To do this an advocate might help you to write letters, prepare and go with you to meetings, or listen to you and help you to understand your options and rights. They will help you without judgement or opinion. An advocate will not provide advice, counselling, mediation, social work, support work or befriend. They are there to make sure your voice is heard.

Do You Need an Advocate?

If you have learning disabilities, mental health issues, autism, physical and sensory disabilities, are an older person, have dementia or other long term conditions you may be eligible to get the help of an advocate. There are many different types of advocacy available and the type of advocate you can access will depend on your circumstances and needs.

Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA)

An IMHA will help you with any issues around detainment or any restrictions you may have. This includes accessing and understanding information and exercising your rights. An IMHA will listen and speak for you in times of need.

An IMHA can help you if you are:

  • Detained under certain sections
  • Conditionally discharged
  • Subject to a guardianship order
  • On a supervised community treatment order
  • Liable to be detained under the Mental Health Act (MHA)
  • Considering treatment under MHA
  • Under 18 and considering the use of ECT

IMHA assistance could include appealing a section or helping you to understand your rights. If you fulfil the eligibility criteria it is your legal right to see an IMHA.

How to access this service

This is a self-referral service; alternatively you can ask to be referred by hospital or social care staff, or a family member. You can self-refer using the form below or contact the office on 023 8020 8955 or email portsmouthadvocacy@solentmind.org.uk for more information.

PDF Version | Word Version

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

If you are facing decisions regarding serious medical treatment or changes to your accommodation you could be entitled to the help of an IMCA. Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 people who lack capacity to make a particular decision must be assisted to make their own decisions. An IMCA can also be involved in Care Reviews and Safeguarding enquiries. If a person does not have the capacity to do this, and does not have family or close friends who could act for them, then they could use the services of an IMCA. Read our information leaflet here.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

DoLS, which is a part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, says that you are entitled to be looked after in a way that only restricts your freedom if it is in your best interests, and if there is no other option. These safeguards have been created to protect vulnerable adults, and must not be used inappropriately. If the local authority feels that you may need to be restricted, and that it is in your best interests, a DoLS advocate can be involved to ensure your views and wishes are taken into consideration before they approve this. All referrals for a DoLS IMCA need to come through the Local Authority.

Paid Representative

If you are subject to having your liberty restricted you should be appointed a representative. This will often be family or a close friend, but if these people are not available then you are entitled to a Paid Representative. This is an advocate who is independent of the local authority. Their role is to maintain contact with you and to represent you. Your advocate may help by going through complaints procedures on your behalf, making an application to the court of protection, or triggering a review.

How to access the IMCA services

Referral to this service is usually by the decision maker (others can make the referral but the decision maker should be aware).

If the person is in Portsmouth, contact Portsmouth IMCA on 023 8020 8955 or email the referral form below to portsmouthimca@solentmind.org.uk

PDF Version | Word Version

Independent Advocate under the Care Act

The Care Act 2014 states that a person who is having substantial difficulty in engaging with a local authority care assessment, planning or review processes or safeguarding processes, and does not have anyone appropriate to represent them, is entitled to an Independent Advocate.

This service is available for adults aged over 18 years, carers, or young people who are changing from Children’s to Adult services.

You are entitled by law to a Care Act Advocate if you have substantial difficulty in taking part in decisions effecting you, and have no one else who is appropriate to do this role. Your Care Manager will need to agree that you have substantial difficulty in being involved.

If you have a care need or are a carer, young carer or young person in transition that means you would struggle with being involved in these processes, and live in Portsmouth, you need to ask your Care Manager to make a referral. You can speak to us for more information on 023 8020 8955 or email portsmouthadvocacy@solentmind.org.uk

For a referral form, please click on the link below

PDF Version | Word Version


Portsmouth Advocacy is committed to promoting self-advocacy and will be facilitating groups.  Keep an eye on this web page where we will be providing more information.

Community Advocacy

Solent Mind are committed to providing community advocacy to individuals in Portsmouth. This is dependent on funding and will be available as soon as possible.

This will be a one-to-one self-referral service that can be accessed by vulnerable groups over the age of 18 (or 16 in transition.) We will work with each person on an individual basis to help inform and provide safeguarding so that you can remain central to your own decision process, and access the services you need.  This service is supported by volunteers and due to high demand may have a waiting list. Alternatively you can ask to be referred by hospital or social care staff, or a family member.

You can self-refer using the form below or contact the office on 023 8020 8955 for more information.

PDF Version | Word Version

For further information on any of our advocacy services contact us:

Telephone: 023 8020 8955

Email: Portsmouth advocacy@solentmind.org.uk

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