What you can do if you are unhappy about your advocacy service

If you have landed on this page, it may mean that you’re not happy about an advocacy service or may be seeking to make a complaint about an advocacy service. We’re sorry if this is the case.

NDTi cares about people having access to good advocacy support when they need it, but we aren’t able to investigate your complaint. In England, Advocacy is unregulated – there is no official body that oversees the commissioning and delivery of independent Advocacy.

NDTi operates the Advocacy QPM (Advocacy Quality Performance Mark). The QPM is a quality assurance assessment and kite mark for independent advocacy services. We assess advocacy organisations to see if they are working to the standards set out in the Advocacy Charter and the Advocacy QPM. We are not regulators of Advocacy. As we aren’t a regulator, we can’t regulate or demand certain behaviours or actions from advocacy organisations or individual advocates working within the advocacy sector. We also can’t investigate complaints about advocacy providers.

Giving feedback and making complaints.
Advocacy organisations usually seek feedback from people about their experiences of the advocacy service. They should have ways for you to provide your feedback, be that positive feedback or if you are unhappy and wish to make a complaint.

If you are unhappy with the advocacy support you have received, you should let the organisation know. They will have a complaints procedure which will tell you how to make a complaint. You can ask the advocacy service for a copy of the complaint’s procedure, or the procedure will usually be on their website. 

If you have already gone through the organisation’s complaints process and are unsatisfied with the outcome, you could try contacting the local authority, if the advocacy service is commissioned by them (local authorities must commission statutory advocacy services). You can find your local council through this link here or local authority social care contact information here. You could ask to speak to a commissioner, or you could make a complaint to the local authority about the advocacy service they have commissioned.

Most advocacy organisations are registered charities. If a charity provided your advocacy support, you could contact the Charity Commission to complain about a charity. The Charity Commission accept complaints about a small range of concerns about how charities have behaved. 

NICE Advocacy Guideline
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published a Guideline about advocacy services for adults who have health and social care needs. You can find it here.
They have an information page for members of the public here. They have also published an Easy Read guide about Advocacy here.

These guidelines describe how advocacy services should be commissioned and delivered, as well as identifying who should be offered Advocacy (including who is legally entitled to it). It also covers monitoring and improving advocacy services and training and skills for advocates and practitioners.

Types of Advocacy

Instructed Advocacy is the most usual type of Advocacy. Advocates only do what someone they are working with wants them to do.
Instructed Advocacy can be statutory or non-statutory.

Non-instructed Advocacy is when someone is unable to tell their advocate or ‘instruct’ their advocate in some or all of the things the advocate is supporting them with. This is known as ‘non-instructed advocacy’. Non-instructed Advocacy can be statutory or non-statutory.

Statutory Advocacy
Sometimes, someone may have the legal right to an advocate. The roles and work for this type of Advocacy are set out in the law. For example, these advocates support people being treated under the Mental Health Act or because people lack the mental capacity to make some of their own decisions. Care Act Advocates support people who find it difficult to understand and be involved in decisions about their care or planning their care.

Non-statutory Advocacy can happen in many ways, such as self-advocacy, community, peer, or group advocacy.

You can find out more about Types of Advocacy here

Finding Advocacy in your area
The easiest way to see what advocacy services are in your area is to search online for ​’advocacy + your city, county or borough‘ or ask your local authority. Your local authority may also have information on their website, or you could try ringing them up.

Other organisations who may be able to offer help and support and give advice and guidance:

Age UK


Carers UK


Citizens Advice


Family Action










The Challenging Behaviour Foundation Learning Disability England

POhWER and VoiceAbility are two very big advocacy organisations who may also be able to signpost you to the right advocacy service.