ASK 4 Advocacy

ASK 4 Advocacy is the advocacy service for Kirklees delivered by Touchstone in partnership with Advonet. This service works to empower individuals across Kirklees to know their rights, make choices and decisions about their lives and to ensure that their wants, needs and wishes are heard. There are a number of different types of advocacy provided by this service:

  • Care Act Advocacy – Advocacy for those undergoing assessment, care planning or review under The Care Act and who would have ‘substantial difficulty’ engaging with the process. Professional and self-referrals.
  • Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) – for anyone who is sectioned under the Mental Health Act as either an inpatient or subject to a community section (guardianship, SCTO). Professional and self referral.
  • Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) – Where a decision, or review is to be undertaken under The Mental Capacity Act and there are no family or friends who are deemed appropriate to consult in the person’s ‘best interest’. Professional referrals only, a social worker or doctor depending upon the nature of the decision to be made.
  • Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Advocacy (DoLS) –Adult Social care (DoLS team) referrals only
  • Relevant Person’s Representatives (RPR) – to represent the wishes of those deprived of their liberty who may wish to challenge the deprivation or any aspect of it where no close family or friend are able to perform this role. Referral by local authority (DoLS team) only.
  • Community Mental Health Advocacy – for individuals wanting mental health advocacy support but who are not sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Self and Professional referrals accepted.
  • General Advocacy – for people who need support ensuring that their voices are heard and rights upheld due to a disability or disadvantage (Learning Disability, autism, physical or sensory issues for example). Self and professional referrals accepted.
  • Independent NHS Health Complaints Advocacy – for people who have a concern or complaint about an NHS service that they have received. Self referrals.

NB: Except where a referral is made under the Mental Capacity Act, including Deprivation of Liberty, the advocate will only act upon the consent and instruction of the individual concerned.

Making a referral:

Please download our referral form – completed referral forms should be returned via email to:

How to contact us:

Address: Dewsbury Business Centre, 13 Wellington Road East, Dewsbury, WF13 1HF


Tel: 01924 460211

Care Act Advocacy

The Care Act is legislation about supporting and protecting vulnerable people who may have ‘substantial difficulty’ being involved in assessment, care planning and review of their care needs.

The Care Act Advocate will make sure that people are as involved as possible in important decisions and that these are person centred and take the holistic Wellbeing principles into account.

  • Facing needs assessment, care planning or review under The Care Act
  • Assessed having ‘Substantial difficulty’ when trying to be involved; 
  • Have no appropriate family or friends to consult

The Local Authority (Kirklees Council) have a duty to instruct a Care Act Advocate if the criteria above are met.

The statutory authorities may also involve a Care Act Advocate in safeguarding cases when the person is assessed to have ‘substantial difficulty’ or to’ lack capacity’. Care Act Advocates may also be involved along with family if the social worker and family feel this would be useful.

You can make a self-referral for Care Act Advocacy in Kirklees. You have a right to say that you don’t want Care Act Advocacy.

What a Care Act Advocate can do:

  • Work with you to help you get the best outcome
  • Find out your wishes, feelings, values and beliefs in private 
  • Access relevant health and social care records 
  • Challenge a decision or plan on your behalf if required
  • Submit a report 
  • Ensure that any decisions or plans made on a person’s behalf are made having listened to that person’s views as far as possible

What a Care Act Advocate can’t do:

  • Assess a person’s capacity
  • Make decisions on behalf of the person they support
  • Provide mediation or arbitration where there is conflict
  • Provide continuing advocacy support when the Assessment, planning or review process is completed

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

Advocacy is FREE, CONFIDENTIAL and INDEPENDENT of anyone else you’re involved with.

You have a right to IMHA support if:

  • You are sectioned under the Mental Health Act
  • On a Community Treatment Order (CTO)
  • Under Guardianship Order
  • A conditionally discharged restricted patient

You also have a right to an IMHA if a ‘special treatment’ such as Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) (under-18) or neurosurgery is being discussed with you, even if you are not detained.

What an IMHA Advocate can do – Our advocates can support you:

  • To say what you want in decisions about your care and treatment.
  • To know your rights and make sure these are given.
  • In reviews and meetings e.g. ward reviews, CPAs, to put your views across and understand your options.
  • If you want, they can look at any records and speak to professionals to get information for you. We can help you to appeal against the section you are detained under.

Make a referral – You can make an advocacy referral for an IMHA by:

  • Contacting us yourself/asking a relative
  • Speaking to the advocate on your ward
  • Asking someone from your care team to call us

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is legislation about supporting and protecting vulnerable people who are unable to make their own decisions. The Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) will make sure that people are as involved as possible in important decisions and that these are in their best interests. 

How to engage an IMCA – You can refer for an IMCA if the person is:

  • Facing decisions about change of accommodation, serious medical treatment, safeguarding or Care review and:
  • Have been assessed as lacking capacity to make these decisions, and;
  • Have no appropriate family or friends to consult

The statutory authorities (Kirklees Council or NHS services in Kirklees) have a duty to instruct an IMCA if the criteria above are met.    The statutory authorities may also involve an IMCA in safeguarding cases and some care reviews when the person is assessed to lack capacity.

IMCAs also support people who are under Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) to make sure that any decisions made are the least restrictive possible.

What an IMCA can do:

  • Work with decision-makers to get the best outcome
  • Find out the person’s wishes, feelings, values and beliefs in private
  • Represent the person
  • Access relevant health and social care records
  • Challenge the decision on behalf of a person if necessary
  • Seek a second medical opinion where appropriate
  • Submit a report
  • Ensure that any decisions made on a person’s behalf are made in that person’s best interests  

What an IMCA can’t do:

  • IMCAs do not assess a person’s capacity; this is the responsibility of the decision maker 
  • Make the decision on behalf of the person who lacks capacity 
  • Make a decision on behalf of the decision maker
  • IMCAs do not provide continuing advocacy support when the decision making process is completed 
  • IMCA is not an emergency service; you do not have to instruct an IMCA in an emergency

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Advocacy (DoLS)

An IMCA should also be instructed where a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards authorisation has been requested (sections 39A, 39C, 39D of the amended Mental Capacity Act 2005).


39A IMCAs should be instructed if an urgent Deprivation of Liberty Authorisation has been given or a request for a standard authorisation has been made and no one is available to consult other than those providing care in a professional (paid) capacity. The 39A IMCA will support the relevant Person during the assessment process, consult with assessors and submit a report to the Supervisory Body regarding their findings. They should be instructed by the Supervisory Body as soon as it received an application from the Managing Authority.


39C IMCAs should be instructed when there is a gap in the appointment of an unpaid Relevant Person’s Representative (RPR). 39C IMCAs have the right to make submissions to the Supervisory Body on the question of whether a qualifying requirement should be reviewed, or to give information or make submissions to any assessor carrying out a review assessment. The involvement of the 39C IMCA will end as soon as a new RPR is appointed.


Both the relevant person and the unpaid RPR have a statutory right to the services of a 39D IMCA. A 39D IMCA should be instructed to support an unpaid RPR in their role if:

  • They request such support
  • The Supervisory Body believes they need support to carry out the RPR role
  • The Supervisory Body believes that the unpaid RPR will not exercise the relevant person’s rights of review or appeal

The 39D IMCA will assist the unpaid RPR to understand the RPR role, attend meetings, deal with professionals involved and, if needed, support the RPR to challenge the DoLS in the Court of Protection. A 39D IMCA can be requested at any stage during the term of the authorisation.

Relevant Person’s Representatives (RPR)

When a DoLS authorisation is granted a referral for a professional RPR should be made if there is no one suitable or available to undertake the RPR role. The RPR will visit the person regularly, ensure that the DoLS continues to be appropriate and the relevant criteria and any conditions attached to the DoLS continue to be met. The RPR will be in a good position to identify any other areas of concern which should be addressed including issues not directly related to the DoLS but which have a bearing on the circumstances of the person’s care.

The professional RPR will:

  • Maintain regular contact with the relevant person and provide support which is independent of all others involved
  • Support and represent the person in all matters relating to the DoLS including any meetings which may be convened
  • Ensure that the relevant person is supported to understand and exercise their right of review, complaint and challenge
  • If necessary, challenge the DoLS in the Court of Protection.

When an authorisation expires the role of the RPR will also end.

Community Mental Health Advocacy / General Advocacy

Advocacy helps you to say what you want, when you need it the most.

An advocate from Ask 4 Advocacy can work with you to help make your voice heard, get the support you need and help to secure your rights.

What our team does:

  • Help you to understand and put forward your choices, be involved and have a say in what you need.
  • Our service is available for any adult who needs advocacy support to have their voice heard dealing with organisations like:
  • Adult Social Care Healthcare professionals Utility companies and housing services
  • We are here to support you to uphold your rights.

How we can help:

  • Advocacy over the phone
  • One-to-one meetings
  • Support with specific issues
  • Peer advocacy – Supporting communities or groups to advocate for change
  • Support for self-advocacy – Empowering people to state their needs and assert their rights

Information and signposting:

You can contact our office from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday if you need information about organisations in Kirklees which may be able to help you.

Our team of advocates have a lot of expertise. They understand a variety of cultural, mental health and disability related issues.

Independent NHS Health Complaints Advocacy

What is Health Complaints Advocacy?

Our Health Complaints Advocacy team can help you to make a complaint about any care you have received from a service run by the NHS, provided you live in the Kirklees Council area.

Complaints procedure

The NHS complaints procedure covers all healthcare provided by the NHS. This includes:

  • Hospital
  • G.P.
  • Dentist
  • Pharmacist
  • Optician
  • Any NHS-funded care, even if it is provided by a private company

Just looking for information?

Our free Information Pack about the NHS complaints procedure is available on request, or you can download it from our website.

Our advocates will:

  • Provide information about the NHS complaints procedure
  • Help you to explore your options so you can decide what to do
  • Help you to put forward your views and make sure they are heard
  • Help you to understand what you can expect to achieve from making a complaint

An advocate might also:

  • Help you to write letters 
  • Help you to prepare for meetings and go to these with you 
  • Help you to monitor the progress of your complaint with the organisation responsible 

An advocate will discuss your options with you, but will not tell you what to do. You are always in control of your own complaint.

Meeting of Minds

Meeting of Minds is a friendly forum for people who use mental health services in Kirklees. We are an independent group, run by and for service users and anyone 18yrs+ who has lived experience of mental health difficulties.

Come and join the conversation…

To ask us a question about MoM or to sign up as a member you can call us at the Touchstone Advocacy Service on: 01924 460211 or email:

Our Group Values…

We Will:

  • create a safe space for people to connect with each other to offer support and share experiences, skills & interests
  • provide a forum for people to speak directly with services, giving people a collective voice to support positive change
  • provide opportunities for people to get involved
  • promote equality, recognition and respect

We Won’t:

  • judge, label or pigeonhole people
  • expect too much or ask people to do more than they’re ok with
  • allow discrimination or stigma
  • share each-others’ information without consent

Our Aims:

By combining skills and knowledge from our diverse community we can:

  • be a stronger voice
  • help to improve services
  • challenge and change views on mental health
  • build confidence and skills
  • reduce isolation and loneliness