Referrals for Surrey Adult Advocacy Services

What is advocacy?

Advocacy is for people who face difficulties in being involved in decisions about their care, having their voice heard and normally have no other independent person to help them do so. It can help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need.

Advocates and advocacy schemes work in partnership with the people they support and take their side. Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice. Advocacy is free, independent and confidential.

Adult Social Care at Surrey County Council commissions statutory advocacy services for adults in Surrey and also some discretionary services on behalf of the NHS.

Instructed advocacy

Instructed advocacy is when a person is able to tell the advocate what their needs and wishes are and what support they need. They are able to ask the advocate for support and tell them what actions they would like to be taken on their behalf.

In Surrey, POhWER is providing:

  • Instructed Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
  • Instructed Care Act Advocacy
  • Instructed Discretionary Advocacy

Advocacy is subject to eligibility criteria which will be established at the point of contact.

How to make a referral

The information on the POhWER website about instructed advocacy in Surrey contains leaflets which can be downloaded to explain the different types of instructed advocacy.

Social care or health professionals referring people for instructed advocacy in Surrey should use the online referral forms.

Only professionals can refer to POhWER for Care Act Advocacy. Individuals themselves, as well as professionals, can refer to POhWER for IMHA or discretionary advocacy.

Professionals should use the online forms for all services; individuals wishing to self-refer for IMHA or discretionary advocacy can do so by telephone or email.

Contact details

POhWER's Help Hub is open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (excluding bank holidays).

  • Telephone: 0300 456 2370
  • Text: Send the word 'pohwer' with your name and number to 81025
  • Skype: pohwer.advocacy
  • Email:

Non-instructed advocacy

Non-instructed advocacy is provided as a best interest decision or statutory requirement to individuals who have been assessed to lack the mental capacity to instruct an advocate.

Matrix Ltd continues to hold the contract for non-instructed advocacy for adults in Surrey and will provide:

  • Non-Instructed Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
  • Non-Instructed Care Act Advocacy
  • Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)
  • Relevant Persons Representatives (DoLS)

Professionals referring people for non-instructed advocacy in Surrey can use the Matrix online referral forms and find further information from the Matrix website.

Contact details

Guidance for referrals

  • Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) and Care Act Advocacy referrals should be made to POhWER. If it is subsequently established that the person lacks the mental capacity to instruct an IMHA, referrals will be forwarded to Matrix.
  • Where it has been established that the person lacks the mental capacity to instruct an advocate prior to the referral (for example, the person has severe dementia), the referral can be made directly to Matrix.
  • For Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) services and Non-Instructed Care Act advocates, referrals should go directly to Matrix.

The arrangements for advocacy providers in Surrey apply to anyone living in the county including hospital patients, prisoners, care home residents and carers.

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