What we do

ASC currently delivers three different types of advocacy project


Independent Mental Health Advocacy in Wales

The Mental Health Act 1983 (2007 amendment) requires that every Health Board in Wales and England makes an IMHA service available for all Qualifying Patients that want it. In Wales the Mental Health Wales Measure (2010) has extended this requirement and expanded those who qualify for the service.

IMHA is a statutory role defined by these pieces of legislation.

This means that Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs) are given the legal right to;

  • Visit and talk to their clients in private
  • Have access to patient records
  • Have access to professionals providing care

IMHAs are INDEPENDENT, which means that they act only on behalf of their client and are not governed by the opinions or wishes of others e.g. NHS Staff, Local Authority Staff, Family. It also means that only the client can decide if they have an IMHA or not.

The Law says that IMHAs can only provide advocacy support for people about Medication, Treatment and Care for their Mental Health.

Like all of our services it is FREE to the client and CONFIDENTIAL.

ASC provides this service in the following Health Board areas.

  • Abertawe Bro Morgannwg (includes Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend)
  • Cwm Taf (includes Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf)
  • Cardiff and the Vale (includes Barry, Dinas Powys, Penarth)
  • Anuerin Bevan (includes Torfaen, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire and Newport)
  • Powys (includes Brecon, Newtown, Llandrindod Wells, Welshpool, Builth Wells)


Community Advocacy

Community Advocates also provide INDEPENDENT, FREE and CONFIDENTIAL support to people and deal with a broad range of issues, which might include Housing, Child Protection Processes, Benefits Claims Appeals, Employment, Accessing Services and so on.

Despite the name, our Community Advocates will also support people in hospital with mental health care needs but who have community related issues ( i.e. not issues that would normally be dealt with by an IMHA).

Community Advocates do not have the legal rights and functions of IMHAs, but do practice according to the same principles described in the Advocacy Charter and Code of Practice.

ASC provided this service in the following Health Board areas:


  • Abertawe Bro Morgannwg
  • Cardiff & the Vale
  • Caerphilly
  • Torfaen (includes Pontypool, Blaenavon)
  • Blaenau Gwent (includes Ebbw Vale, Tredegar)


Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy

The IMCA role was introduced as part of the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The purpose is to help particularly vulnerable people who lack capacity to make certain decisions, and who don’t have family or friends who could be consulted about these decisions.

The aim of the IMCA service is to provide independent safeguards for people.

  • IMCAs have the right to see relevant healthcare and social service records.
  • IMCAs have the right to meet in private the person they are supporting
  • Information and reports provided by the IMCA must be taken into account as part of the process for working out whether a proposed course of action is in the person’s best interests.

IMCAs will support and represent the person, and may raise questions and challenge decisions which appear not to be in the best interests of the person.

To do this IMCA may talk to professionals, family, friends and anyone that can give information about the wishes, feelings, beliefs or values of the person.

The IMCA service is FREE. IMCAs are bound by CONFIDENTIALITY rules that are dictated by the statutory nature of the role. This means that an IMCA may not be able to share all information with the person they are supporting.

ASC provides the IMCA service in the following Local Authority areas:

  • Blaenau Gwent
  • Caerphilly
  • Cardiff
  • Merthyr Tydfil
  • Monmouthshire
  • Newport
  • Rhondda Cynon Taff
  • The Vale of Glamorgan
  • Torfaen.

Relevant Persons Representative

The role of the Relative Persons Representative is defined within the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Code of Practice. It is to maintain contact with the person and to represent them in all matters relating to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

The Relevant Persons Representative is independent of commissioners and service providers. A Relevant Persons Representative can be someone who is:

  • 18 years or older
  • able to keep in contact with the person
  • willing to be appointed
  • independent of commissioners and service providers

The Relevant Persons Representative could be a person’s relative, friend , neighbour etc.

If a suitable individual cannot be identified to undertake this role then a paid Relevant Persons Representative can be appointed from a properly commissioned and independent provider.

ASC has been commissioned to provide paid Relevant Persons Representatives where required, in the areas in which we provide the IMCA service (see above). The people undertaking this role are employees of ASC and are not paid by the person.

Whilst undertaking this role, ASC staff will have:

  • The right to request a review of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards authorisation
  • The Right to make an application to the Court of Protection
  • Access to formal and informal complaints procedures


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