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POhWER is a leading secure and complex services advocacy provider, working in more than 90 units in England and Scotland. The people we work with have learning disabilities, enduring mental health conditions, behaviours that challenge, physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries, autistic spectrum disorders and personality disorders. We work in a range of settings including prisons, high, medium and low secure hospitals, Psychiatric Intensive Care Units, acute settings, step-down units and residential facilities.  We deliver face-to-face, non-instructed, group and self-advocacy services, as well as supporting patient forums.

Who can access our Secure and Complex Advocacy Services?

You can find out if we provide a Secure and Complex Advocacy Service in your hospital/unit by clicking on the link below. If we don’t provide a service there please call our Help Hub on 0300 456 2370 for information, advice and signposting to other organisations who may be able to help you.

List of areas where we provide Secure Services

How can an advocate help?

Our specialist advocates work with people to ensure that their voices are heard and that they have a say in decisions being made about their lives.

We help people understand and participate in, their care and treatment, keeping them at the centre of decision making at all times. Our advocates’ role is to understand the goals and ambitions that each person wants to work towards and to support and empower them to achieve these aims including supporting them to raise any concerns or complaints.

The services that we offer may include:

Drop-in Sessions

Advocates conduct regular drop-in sessions to homes and hospital. These sessions allow patients and residents to have regular and consistent contact with their independent advocate.

Family advocacy

Having a family member in a service can be a difficult and emotional time. Our advocates can support family members and help them to understand decisions which are being made by the professionals caring for their loved ones.

Non-instructed Advocacy

Advocates use non-instructed advocacy if the patient or resident they are working with is unable to communicate their wishes and views. They use different approaches:

  • Rights based: looking at the person’s human rights.
  • Person centred: gathering information to get an understanding of what the person’s views and wishes would be.
  • Watching Brief: asking questions on behalf of the person to encourage the hospital/home to put them at the centre of the decision making process.
  • Witness-Observer: observing the person without making judgements or assumptions.

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

Our specialist advocates are trained to support patients and residents who are detained under the Mental Health Act. They help people to understand their rights and support them to exercise these rights at review meetings.

Peer and Group Advocacy

Advocates support patients and residents to represent each other and speak up on behalf of their ward at meeting and then report back to the other patients/residents.

Patient forum meetings

Advocates support patients and residents to hold their own monthly forum meetings. They choose the agenda and are empowered to express their views and wishes. Minutes of the forum are sent to the hospital/home manager

How do I get support from an advocate?       

You can speak to one our advocates when they visit your unit or ward. Or you can ask a member of the ward or unit staff to refer you for advocacy support. You, your family or a friend can also contact us.

Secure Services and Independent Advocacy referral form (word version) 

Leaflets and Brochures

Secure and Complex Advocacy Service leaflet (pdf)

If you would like to find out more about Secure Services check out our brochure:

POhWER Secure and Complex Services brochure (pdf)


Secure and Complex Advocacy Service in British Sign Language (BSL)