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Portsmouth Advocacy Service

Supporting vulnerable adults to have their voices heard and make important care decisions in Portsmouth.

Having a mental health problem, or experiencing mental distress, can mean that your opinions and ideas are not taken seriously, or that you are not offered the opportunities and choices you would like. 

An advocate can:

  • listen to your views and concerns
  • help you explore your options and rights (without pressuring you)
  • provide information to help you make informed decisions
  • help you contact relevant people, or contact them on your behalf
  • accompany you and support you in meetings or appointments.

An advocate will not:

  • give you their personal opinion
  • solve problems and make decisions for you
  • make judgements about you.

If you or your loved one are subject to The Mental Health Act, lack the capacity to make decisions or need support to attend important proceedings in Portsmouth, there are different types of Advocacy available to you. 

Below will give you an overview of the Advocacy we provide and your eligibility. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. 

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

An Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) is an advocate appointed to act on your behalf if you lack capacity to make certain changes and decisions, like consenting to serious medical treatment or moving to long-term accommodation in hospital or a care home.

An IMCA will meet you in your care home, hospital or other place to:

  • help collect relevant information about the decision that needs to be made
  • consult with health professionals providing your care and treatment
  • tell you what your options are, including getting second medical opinions
  • help identify your wishes, feelings, beliefs and values
  • make sure the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice is being followed
  • if necessary, help you make a complaint.

How to receive IMCA support

You will be allocated an IMCA once referred to our service by your Decision-maker if you currently reside within a PO1 to PO6 postcode, meet the criteria above and do not have a close family member or a person who cares for you to support you. Decision-makers can find our downloadable referral form on this page. 

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

If you have been detained under Section 2 or 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983, have been conditionally discharged from Section 2 or 3, or are subject to a Guardianship Order or on a Supervised Community Treatment Order, you have the legal right to see an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA).

An IMHA can help you understand:

  • your rights under the Mental Health Act and why certain decisions have been made
  • the rights which other people (like your next of kin) have in relation to you under the Act
  • any conditions or restrictions you are subject to (for example, taking a leave of absence from hospital or a Community Treatment Order (CTO))
  • any medical treatment that you are receiving or might be given, including:
    • the reasons for that treatment or proposed treatment
    • the legal basis for providing that treatment
    • the safeguards and other requirements of the Act which would apply to that treatment.

How to receive IMHA support

If you or a loved one meet the above criteria, are over the age of 16 and live within a PO1 to PO6 postcode, a referral can be made by your hospital, social worker, care co-ordinator or by self referral. Please select, fill out and return the corresponding form.

Care Act Advocacy

Care Act Advocacy can help those who are facing proceedings that may result in changes and decisions being made about their care by Portsmouth City Council. This might be accessing Adult Services, a Needs Assessment, Carers Assessment, Care Planning, Review of Care Plan, a Child's Needs Assessment or Safeguarding enquiry or review.

They are appointed when you do not have a loved one to help support you and experience substantial difficulty during the proceedings, like understanding or retaining information, weighing up the information or communicating their wishes and views.

How to receive Care Act Advocacy support

If you or a loved one meet the above criteria, are over the age of 16 and live within a PO1 to PO6 postcode, a referral can be made by a social worker or self referral. Please select, fill out and return the corresponding form.

Parent Advocacy for Case Conferences

We also provide advocacy for vulnerable parents who require additional support to present their views either in person or via a report at Child Protection Case Conferences.

The advocate usually meets with the parent prior to the conference, to go through reports and prepare any points they wish to communicate. After the conference, the advocate meets the parent to help ensure they understand the outcomes, next steps and pass over any notes made during the proceedings.

In accordance with our consent and confidentiality and Safeguarding policies:

  • the Advocate will ask to have your care plan shared so that we have the correct information to support you with
  • your Advocate will always be instructed by you
  • your Advocate will require your consent before we do anything or speak to anyone
  • the Advocate can only meet with you in the absence of your child/children.

    How to receive Parent Advocacy for Case Conferences

    If you or a loved one are a parent attending or preparing a report for a Case Conference and live within a PO1 to PO6 postcode, a referral can be made by a social worker. 

    Social workers can fill out and return the corresponding form. Please note:

    • there will be only one preparation appointment prior to the case conference 
    • the Advocate will always be instructed by the client
    • we will attend only one Case Conference meeting 
    • we will take time to wrap up and close the case with the client.
    Contact details & opening hours

    Monday: 9am - 5pm
    9am - 5pm
    Wednesday: 9am - 5pm
    Thursday: 9am - 5pm
    9am - 4.30pm

    Due to most establishments closing to non-urgent visitors, and to keep our service users and staff safe, we are currently offering a telephone support service. We can also arrange contact through Skype, FaceTime or Teams if required.

    All our advocates are available to speak to, please don't hesitate to call with any queries. If your issue is urgent or you are making contact with us to discuss a safeguarding case or serious medical treatment, please call our office to discuss with a Manager.

    T: 023 8020 8955
    E: portsmouthadvocacy@solentmind.org.uk

    Portsmouth Advocacy Service's address is to be used for post only:

    Solent Mind Portsmouth Advocacy Service
    John Pounds Centre
    PO1 3HN


    Download & Print our IMHA leaflet
    Download & Print our Parent Advocacy leaflet

    An Advocate's Story

    Our service and volunteers show great care and empathy for someone at the end of their life, always ensuring their wishes are conveyed dignity.

    Read more about An Advocate's Story
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