Help in Making Decisions


What is Advocacy?

Advocacy means to speak up for someone. Advocacy is about making sure that people's voices are heard and listened to. It's about helping people to make their own choices in life. It provides people with the chance to be as independent as they want to be.

You can receive support from an advocate with:

  • Making a complaint
  • Challenging a decision made about a service you receive
  • Making a decision about a service you may need

There are different types of advocacy:


Generic or general advocacy supports people who feel that they can't express their views or feel that they are not being listened to.

3 County Independent Professional Advocacy (opens in a new tab) 

Provides several types of general advocacy.

Pembrokeshire People First (opens in a new tab) 

Provides an advocacy service that represents the individual interests of people with learning disabilities living in Pembrokeshire.

For more advocacy providers contact PAVS (Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services) (opens in a new tab) on 01437 769422.


If you or the person you care for has a disability or illness that makes it difficult to make decisions about medical treatment, care needs, finances and other aspects of everyday life, an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) can help you.

IMCAs work with people who lack capacity to make certain important decisions and has no one else who can be consulted to try and establish their wishes. The IMCA service for West Wales is co-ordinated across the counties of Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire by Mental Health Matters.

An IMCA must be instructed, and then consulted, for people lacking capacity who have no-one else to support them (other than paid staff), whenever:

  • an NHS body is proposing to provide serious medical treatment, or
  • an NHS body or Local Authority is proposing to arrange accommodation (or a change of accommodation) in hospital or a care home, and the person will stay in hospital longer than 28 days, or they will stay in the care home for more than 8 weeks.

An IMCA may be instructed to support someone who lacks capacity to make decisions concerning

  • Care reviews relating to accommodation where no-one is available to be consulted for people aged 16 or over
  • Adult Protection cases, whether or not family, friends or others are involved and are aged 18 or over

Referrals can be made by an authorised person and should be made in writing by completing a referral form and sending it by fax, email or post.

Where a verbal referral is made the referral form should be completed within 24 hours.

To find out more about the IMCA service: IMCA Wales (opens in a new tab) 


An Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) is specially trained to work within the framework of the Mental Health Act 1983 to support people to understand their rights under the Act and participate in decisions about their care and treatment. There is a legal duty to provide IMHAs for all eligible people.

You can receive the support of an IMHA if you are:

  • An inpatient in hospital and being assessed or receiving treatment for a mental health problem whilst you are in there
  • Detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act
  • Detained on a short term section
  • An informal patient
  • Being considered for neurosurgery for mental disorder or ECT for under  eighteen years
  • Subject to a Community Treatment Order
  • Conditionally discharged or subject to guardianship

To find out more about IMHA services: Advocacy West Wales (opens in a new tab) 

Useful websites

Office of the Public Guardian (opens in a new tab) 

Hourglass (opens in a new tab) 

Dewis Cymru (opens in a new tab) is the place to go if you want information or advice about your well-being – or want to know how you can help somebody else


ID: 2184, revised 29/08/2023