This guideline covers advocacy for people using health and social care services in all adult settings (including young people under 18 using adult services). It describes how to commission and deliver effective advocacy, 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.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Commissioners and providers of health and social care services, and of advocacy services
  • Integrated Care Boards
  • Health and Wellbeing Boards
  • Safeguarding Adults Boards
  • Health and social care practitioners who work with advocates
  • Advocates, including peer advocates, citizen advocates and professional advocates
  • Training providers
  • People using health or social care services, their families and carers and the public

It may also be of interest to regulators.

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)