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What is Advocacy?

An advocate is someone who is independent of social services and the NHS, and who isn't part of your family or a close friend.

Advocacy can support you to:

  • make your opinions, views and concerns known
  • find out about your rights and options
  • make your own choices
  • be involved in decision-making
  • take part in important formal meetings

They will not give you their personal opinion, solve problems or make decisions for you, but they will listen to what you want, support you to speak up for yourself, and help you to find information to make informed decisions and take control of your life.

Updated December 2016

Formal advocacy

Formal advocacy is: 

  • focused and time-limited support for individuals across Suffolk
  • available to adults aged 18 or over who live in Suffolk, or who access health and social care services here
  • delivered by Total Voice Suffolk (a partnership of charity and voluntary sector organisations in the county)

How formal advocacy can support people

Formal advocacy can help people:

  • facing important decisions about their lives or care during periods of disability or ill health
  • wanting to explore their options at each stage of the complaints procedure about NHS funded services
  • who need help to be fully involved in their assessment, review, planning and safeguarding (and their family carers)
  • qualifying under the Mental Health Act 2007 for Independent Mental Health Advocacy
  • with a mental health condition who need specialist Mental Health Advocacy
  • who lack mental capacity subject under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 but have no one to speak for them, such as family or friends, about decisions regarding serious medical treatment or a move to other accommodation or when an application to deprive them of their liberty has been made
  • living in those Care UK homes purchased from the council and/or their family members
  • with a learning disability who are parents and are facing child protection proceedings
  • with a learning disability who are moving from NHS accommodation to supported living (and their family carers)

Get in touch

If you or someone you care for need help with anything mentioned above, or if you want to find out more about advocacy, please contact Total Voice Suffolk:

Informal/community advocacy

We are supporting the development of less formal advocacy in local communities.

We provide training, support and mentoring to charities and community groups.

This means they can gain an understanding of both formal and informal advocacy, and deliver informal advocacy through their volunteers or paid support workers.

This work is being developed by Total Voice Suffolk and it provides awareness training to organisations and community groups about advocacy and the advocacy requirements of the Care Act.

Get in touch

If your charity or community group is interested in joining this initiative, would like information about training programmes, or would simply like more information, please:

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