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Care Act
Spot Purchase
Learning Disability Advocacy


Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

Who is IMCA for?


The IMCA service is for any person who:

  • lacks capacity regarding the particular decision being referred for and

  • has no family member or other unpaid person who would otherwise be appropriate to consult about that decision.

IMCA referrals can be made for the following issues;​

  • The proposed giving or withholding of serious medical treatment

  • A proposed change of or review of accommodation

  • A decision that is required within safeguarding procedures for an adult at risk 

  • Where a local authority has authorised or is considering authorising a DOLS (deprivation of liberty) request or is applying to the Court of Protection for deprivation of liberty authorisation.

​​ What areas does the service cover?

As per The Mental Capacity Act, IMCA eligibility is based on the location of the referred person at the time they require support. (Our Newcastle and South Tyneside IMCA services therefore work with any person who is in either area at the time of need.)


Who can refer and how?

Referrals to the IMCA service should only be made by ‘the decision maker’ (or with the decision maker’s express consent) - the individual who will ultimately make a best interests decision on behalf of the person lacking capacity.


All DOLS IMCA referrals must be made by the local authority MCA/DOLS team.


Referrals should be submitted accompanied by an assessment showing that the referred person has been assessed as lacking capacity regarding the specific decision for which they are being referred.


Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)


Who is IMHA for?

A person is eligible for IMHA support if they are:

  • ​Detained under the Mental Health Act

  • Conditionally discharged patients

  • Subject to guardianship, or

  • Subject to a community treatment orders (CTO)

IMHAs are able to:

  • ​Attend meetings with the person or stand in for them should they wish

  • Assist with applications to Tribunals and Managers reviews

  • Support to ensure the person is able to participate in decisions

  • Speak to medical or social team on behalf of a person

What areas does the service cover?

If a person is detained in hospital, eligibility is based on the local authority area of detention, irrespective of the person’s ordinary residence and funding authority. Our IMHA service works with people when they are detained in a hospital in Newcastle or South Tyneside.

Where the person is receiving treatment in the community, eligibility is based on the area in which the ‘responsible hospital’ for their CTO (community treatment order) is based. Our IMHA service works with people subject to a CTO where the responsible hospital is in Newcastle or South Tyneside.

If the person is subject to guardianship, eligibility is based on area where the Local Authority is guardian - or if a private guardian, the area where the guardian resides. Our IMHA service works with people subject to guardianship where the guardian lives in Newcastle or South Tyneside or where the guardian is Newcastle or South Tyneside local authority

Who can refer and how?

 People who are eligible can self-refer to us, or someone else can refer on their behalf if they agree.


Advocacy under the Care Act

Who is Care Act Advocacy for?

A person is entitled to an advocate if they have "substantial difficulty" taking part in one or more of the following (either because they have problems understanding the relevant information or because they have difficulty expressing their views):

  • A social care assessment or review

  • Agreeing a social care support plan

  • A safeguarding enquiry or safeguarding process because they are felt to be at risk of abuse or neglect     

  • A carer’s assessment

What areas does the service cover?

​We provide Care Act advocacy for eligible people aged 18 years or older whose social care is provided by Newcastle Council or where Newcastle Council is carrying out safeguarding enquires or processes for an adult believed to be at risk of abuse or neglect.


Who can refer and how?

We can only accept Care Act referrals under The Care Act from local authority social care staff and safeguarding teams in Newcastle.

*Referrers should note that advocacy support under The Care Act is optional and that referrals should only be made after first discussing with their client and agreeing that the person wants advocacy support.

Referral forms are held by the local authority social work teams rather than by ourselves.

Care Act


Relevant Person’s Representative (RPR) service


Who is the RPR service for?

A Relevant Person’s Representative is appointed to represent anyone who is subject to a deprivation of liberty safeguard (DOLS) authorisation in a setting in which they are continually supervised by staff and which they would not be free to leave should they wish to.  For a person to be subject to DOLS, the local authority must have first carried out a number of specific assessments and granted DOLS authorisation.

For most people who are subject to DOLS, their RPR will be a family member or friend. We provide RPRs where the referred person otherwise has no one who would be willing and able to undertake that role.  The RPR helps the referred person understand and exercise their rights under the DOLS, including exercising a right of appeal should they wish.

What areas does the service cover?

RPR eligibility is based on commissioning authority rather than the referred person’s current location. We provide RPRs across the region where the local authority appointing us  is Newcastle or South Tyneside. Some of those people therefore live in other areas across the North East.


Who can refer and how?


Only the MCA/DOLS teams in the local authority that has granted the DOLS is able to appoint an RPR.  We are unable to take referrals from any other source.

MCA/DOLS teams need to use their specific Local Authority form.

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Advocacy for people with learning disabilities


Who is the service for?

​Our advocacy services are open to adults who have learning disabilities and who live in South Tyneside or Gateshead. We may also be able to work with people who have learning disabilities who live elsewhere in the region if their social care support is provided by South Tyneside council.

​We aim to help people with any issue, providing they have a learning disability and are in our eligible areas.  Most of our advocacy services work is issue-based and for the duration of the issue.  We also run drop-in sessions in Gateshead and South Tyneside where people can receive initial help very quickly.


What areas does the service cover?

We can support any person who has a learning disability and who lives in Gateshead or South Tyneside  providing they are not already entitled to one of the above commissioned services listed above.


Who can refer and how?

People can self-refer to us, or someone else can refer on their behalf if they agree using this form.


Before referring a person who has a learning disability professionals should first consider whether the person is already entitled to a ‘statutory’ advocacy services listed above as there is a legal requirement that local authorities arrange advocacy for people eligible for any of these services.

Advocacy for people with learning disabilities
NHS Complants Advocacy Gateshead

NHS Independent Complaints Advocacy (ICA)


Your Voice Counts are the new provider for NHS Independent Complaints Advocacy (ICA) in Gateshead.  For more information about this service including our Self Help Information Pack and leaflets, visit NHS Complaints Advocacy Gateshead.


The NHS Independent Complaints Advocacy will provide you with practical support and information if you want to make a complaint about an NHS service that you, or someone you know, have received.


This service was provided by Carers Federation up until 31st March 2022.

Information for clients who were being supported by Carers Federation


At Your Voice Counts, providing person-centred support is one of our core values. We understand that it can be worrying when your Advocacy service provider changes and we are committed to supporting you through this process. We have agreed the steps below with the Carers Federation:


  1. Carers Federation will send you a letter to notify you that Your Voice Counts are the new provider for NHS Independent Complaints Advocacy in Gateshead.

  2. If you wish to continue to receive NHS Independent Complaints Advocacy support, Carers Federation need your consent to transfer your records to us.   

  3. Once we receive your records, we will contact you directly to discuss your ongoing support.


If you have any queries in the meantime please don’t hesitate to call for free us on 0800 048 7856.


If you are a Gateshead resident and wish to seek NHS Independent Complaints Advocacy information or support


If you live in Gateshead and wish to access NHS Independent Complaints Advocacy support or if you would like to find out more information please call for free on 0800 048 7856.

NHS Complaints Advocacy Referral Form

Spot Purchase Advocacy


We are sometimes able to take on additional advocacy work over and above our contracted arrangements. We will need some key information about the referral and the funding arrangements before we can agree to pick up this work. If you would like us to us to consider picking up an advocacy referral on a spot purchase basis please complete this form.

Find out more about our Advocacy services

Spot Purchase Advocacy
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