Acting on someone's behalf

Getting someone to speak up on your behalf

If you need the help of an independent organisation to get impartial advice or express your views, opinions and wishes about your care services then an advocacy service can help.

When you might need this service

You, or your carer might need this service if:

  • your care needs are being assessed or reviewed
  • a service is being withdrawn or reduced
  • if you have a conflict with us or your carer
  • when you are discharged from, or admitted to, a care home or day centre
  • if you have a complaint about a service you use

You can find details of advocacy services in our search.

If you want more information on advocacy services, contact your social worker or Social Care Direct.

Making a decision on someone's behalf - who decides when you can't

If you can no longer make decisions for yourself you are said to lack mental capacity.

Making decisions - the law

The law (Mental Capacity Act 2005) protects anyone, over the age of 16 who is unable, at any particular time, to make some, or all decisions on their own behalf. This could be because they have:

  • dementia
  • a mental health problem
  • a brain injury or stroke
  • a learning disability
  • or some other reason

It covers decisions about topics ranging from everyday matters like what to eat or wear, to decisions that could have important personal, financial or legal consequences.

How the law can help and support you?

The law will help you if:

  • You currently find it difficult to make decisions some or all of the time.
  • You want to plan ahead in case you are unable to make decisions in the future.

Download our factsheet about Factsheet: Mental Capacity (PDF, 392kb, opens in a new window)

The Office of the Public Guardian booklet "Making decisions: who decides when you can't?" has detailed information and advice about mental capacity and what the next steps should be.

What if you don't have anyone to act on your behalf?

Our financial support team can help manage the financial affairs of people who have no one who is willing or able to do this for them.

An Independent Mental Capacity Advocates service can also be when the person who lacks capacity has no-one (other than paid staff) to support or represent them.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

The law also allows for people, who can't make their own decisions, to be cared for in a very restrictive way, but only if it is necessary for their own protection. Find out more about our involvement in assessing care homes and hospitals to ensure the care being provided is In the person's best interests on our Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards page.

Related information

Offsite links