Advocacy FAQs

What you may want to know – FAQs

Are our Advocates legally trained?

Our advocates are not generally legally trained and cannot give legal advice, but they can help find you legal representation.

Can an OCD Action Advocate give me advice on treatments and medications?

Our advocates are not clinicians and they never give advice so they cannot advise you on what medication to take or where to get therapy but they can provide you with information so you can make informed choices about your treatment. They can also support you in meetings with healthcare professionals and social services.

Do OCD Action Advocates keep what I tell them in confidence?

Confidentiality is between you and OCD Action as your advocate will discuss your case with their supervisor i.e. the Advocacy Manager or Lead Advocate. We will not pass on any information to a third party without your permission except in exceptional circumstances - please see our Confidentiality Policy.

Will my Advocate really understand OCD?

Although lots of mental health advocates will have knowledge of OCD we provides our advocates with an in depth knowledge of OCD as part of their training and some of our advocates have OCD themselves.

Are OCD Action Advocates Independent of my healthcare team or social services?

All Advocates should be independent of your healthcare providers or local authority. They are not members of your clinical team. Some patient Advocates are employed by the NHS but they should still maintain independence when representing you. Our advocacy service is not funded by the NHS but through Comic Relief.

Do I have to pay for an Advocate?

No

Are Advocates trained?

We provide intensive training to our advocates and they are closely supervised and monitored by the Advocacy Manager/Lead Advocate and work to Action for Advocacy's Code of Practice.

How long will an Advocate work with me?

This depends on the type of Advocacy being offered. The OCD Action Advocacy service is ‘issue based’ this means that the advocate will support you with a particular issue you are having by drawing up an action plan with you of what they will do and when. Once a piece of work has been carried out and a response received e.g. attended a meeting/written a letter with you the advocate will talk with you about what you might want to do next if the issue is not resolved. The advocate will only ever act on your instructions and you can stop working with us whenever you want.

What happens if I don’t like my Advocate?

You are entitled to stop working with your advocate whenever you like - if you're unhappy with your advocate please contact the Advocacy Manager/Lead Advocate and we will try to provide you with an alternative advocate.

Can I complain about my Advocate?

Yes, we have a complaints procedure that you can access. Please contact the Advocacy Manager/Lead Advocate for more information.

Will my Advocate speak to people behind my back?

No, your advocate will only speak to a third person with your consent. If in exceptional circumstances confidence has to be breached the Advocacy Manager/Lead Advocate will talk you through this.

Can my Advocate become my friend?

Advocates can be friendly but not friends. An Advocate has to maintain appropriate professional boundaries to be able to work with you in the most effective way.

Can my Advocate counsel me if I am feeling low?

Advocates often get to know their clients well and help them in whatever way they can, but they are not trained counsellors or therapists and should not take on this role with you.

Will my Advocate do what I ask them to?

Yes, your Advocate will work solely on your instruction.

Will my Advocate attend meetings with me ?

If we have an advocate in your area we can arrange for them to attend a meeting with you.

Do I have to give official permission for my Advocate to act for me?

Yes, you will have to sign ‘A Form of Authority’ which you should read and agree before signing. This will set out in what areas you would like the Advocate to act for you. Healthcare professionals and other agencies will often not engage with an Advocate unless they have your permission and it is best that this is in written form

What difference does having an Advocate Make?

Feedback from our clients tells us that Advocacy can be incredibly effective in resolving issues. Clients feel supported in getting their views across. Advocates can represent their views, challenge poor practice and can point out to professionals when their client’s rights are being infringed. Some people only use Advocates as sounding boards to discuss their options, others rely on Advocates to attend meetings with them, make phone calls and write letters. An Advocate’s role however, is not to make you dependent on them but to help you regain your confidence so you can do things yourself. Your Advocate should work with you in a way that is most comfortable and helpful for you.

Do other professionals have to take notice of what an Advocate says?

Some Advocates have ‘ statutory powers’ this means that Public bodies such as the NHS have to take notice of what they say. The two types of statutory Advocates are : Independent Mental Health  Advocates (IMHA) who in England work with people detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended 2007) or in Wales are in hospital receiving mental health treatment and Independent Mental Capacity Act Advocates (IMCA) who work with people without friends or family who lack capacity to make a particular decision.

OCD Action advocates do not have statutory powers but they can be very effective in supporting you to resolve the issues you might have because of your OCD/BDD. Please see our report on the first 300 cases we worked on.