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Due to essential maintenance, the following systems will be unavailable from 3.00pm on Friday 31 March until 8.00am Monday 3 April 2023: our online council tax, business rates and housing benefit services, and our welfare assistance form. You will also not be able to register to pay council tax online, make a change of address for council tax or cancel single person discount. You are still able to make a payment during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Arranging for someone else's care

If you need to make a financial, health or welfare decision for someone, need advice for the future or you need someone to speak up on your behalf (an advocate) - this section can help.

Getting someone to speak up on your behalf

If you need the help of an independent organisation to get impartial advice or express your views, opinions and wishes about your care services then an advocacy service can help.

When you might need this service

You, or your carer might need this service if:

  • your care needs are being assessed or reviewed
  • a service is being withdrawn or reduced
  • if you have a conflict with us or your carer
  • when you are discharged from, or admitted to, a care home or day centre
  • if you have a complaint about a service you use

If you want more information on advocacy services, contact your social worker or Social Care Direct.

Making a decision on someone's behalf - who decides when you can not

If you can no longer make decisions for yourself, you are said to lack mental capacity. If you would like to know more about mental capacity, please read Mental Capacity for  more information.

Making decisions - the law

The law (Mental Capacity Act 2005) protects anyone, over the age of 16 who is unable, at any particular time, to make some, or all decisions on their own behalf. This could be because they have:

  • dementia
  • a mental health problem
  • a brain injury or stroke
  • a learning disability
  • or some other reason

It covers decisions about topics ranging from everyday matters like what to eat or wear, to decisions that could have important personal, financial or legal consequences. 

How the law can help and support you

The law will help you if:

  • You currently find it difficult to make decisions some or all of the time.
  • You want to plan ahead in case you are unable to make decisions in the future.

The Office of the Public Guardian booklet making decisions - Who decides when you can't? has detailed information and advice about mental capacity and what the next steps should be.

What to do if you don't have anyone to act on your behalf

We can help manage the financial affairs of people who have no one who is willing or able to do this for them. Our Independent Mental Capacity Advocates service can also be when the person who lacks capacity has no-one (other than paid staff) to support or represent them.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

The law also allows for people, who can not make their own decisions, to be cared for in a very restrictive way, but only if it is necessary for their own protection. Find out more about our involvement in assessing care homes and hospitals to ensure the care being provided is In the person's best interests on our Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards page.

Further information

If you want more information on advocacy services, please see Advocacy for social care service users and carers and contact your social worker, or Social Care Direct.

Contact us
First Contact/Social Care Direct
03000 267 979
0191 383 5752

Financial Assessment (social care)
03000 268 232
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • PO Box 257
  • Stanley
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH8 1GL
01207 218 876

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
03000 267 981
Our address is:
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UL
0191 389 8229