Advocacy News

Care Act advocacy hits the courts
The London Borough of Haringey was criticised for failing to provide an asylum-seeker with an independent advocate under the Care Act. The judge in the case said the requirement for an advocate in the Care Act "could not be clearer". More information on the case can be found here.
Care Act advocacy referrals “way below” expected level
Those of us involved in advocacy will not be surprised at recent reports which show that Care Act advocacy referrals are well below expected levels. Under the Care Act, councils are legally required to offer an advocate to anyone who has ‘substantial difficulty’ being involved in assessments, care planning, reviews and safeguarding cases and lacks a suitable friend or relative to represent them. 

Updated guidance on delayed transfer of care
NHS England has recently issued updated guidance on delayed transfer of care. It is interesting to note that the "guidance now places more emphasis on local collaborative solutions to any barriers as part of a wider picture of joint and integrated working (which is embedded in the Care Act)."
As well as the guidance, NHS England has also published the latest local statistics which you can check to see how your local area is doing.

NICE guidelines on integrated care for older people
NICE have recently released a new set of guidelines calling on better integrated care for older people with a range of long term conditions. The guidelines encourage health and social services to work closer together to deliver high quality personalised care. One of the key recommendations is to ensure that older people who have social care needs as well as multiple long term conditions should have one named care person as their first point of contact. This is essential in providing continuity of care. These guidelines will affect over 6 million people a year.
National review of Adult Social Care complaints
The Local Government Ombudsman has produced its annual review of adult social care complaints. 55% of all complaints received were upheld and there was an 18% increase in complaints and enquiries received since 2013/14.

Commissioning Independent Advocacy under the Care Act 2014
The Advocacy Action Alliance’s monitoring report found:  63% of contracts for independent advocacy were for 12 months or less. Some local authorities that had not commissioned any Care Act advocacy in time for April 2015 required “nudging” by advocacy providers to set up a commissioning process. In the majority of reported cases (17 local authorities out of 21) the spend on independent advocacy was less than 60% of what the Local Government Association’s Care Act ‘Ready Reckoner’ had indicated it should be for 2015-16, and the average was less than 50%.
15 out of 29 responses reported that their contracts and contracts held by other organisations to provide advocacy had been reduced or ended since April 2015, suggesting a reduction in the provision of advocacy in many local authority areas.

(from OPAAL UK)