Advocacy is a way to help people to say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. Advocates and advocacy schemes work in partnership with people they support and take their side. Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice.
We are all entitled to the following rights
To make choices about our lives
To receive the social care and health services we need
To be informed of our rights
To enjoy equal opportunities in leisure, education, training and employment
To be different and not to suffer discrimination
To make a complaint when something goes wrong
Advocacy is founded on the belief that people are of equal value regardless of ability, wealth or status and are therefore entitled to equal rights.
An Advocate can:
Listen to you
Help you to plan any action you may need or wish to take
Write letters and make telephone calls with you, or for you
Ensure your views are heard by attending meetings/reviews with you
Obtain information for you, or put you in touch with someone who can
Spend time with you preparing for meetings
Investigate alternative sources of support
Increase communication levels between yourself and others
Find out what your rights are
Liaise with relevant agencies.
An Advocate will not:
Give you advice or choose for you
Take other people's sides
Work with you all the time
An Independent Advocate is not the same as:
A friend or family member
A lawyer or solicitor
Other people who work with you like social workers and health care workers
Voices through advocacy toolkits
Types of advocacy
There are different types of advocacy, they include:
Support advocacy - People can request for an advocate to accompany them to a meeting purely as support or to take notes for the service user to reflect on at a later date.
Joint advocacy - People can request and determine the level of involvement of the advocate. The advocate and user will meet before a meeting to decide questions to be asked to professionals or when to prompt if things are unclear or if the service user has not asked something that they previously stated they wanted to. This can also include typing out letters and liaising with other professionals e.g. when using the complaints procedure
Representative advocacy - People request the Advocate to speak on their behalf in all forms of meetings. The advocate will take all instruction from the user.
Advocacy services are committed to empowering people to give them more confidence and more opportunities to make decisions that affect their own lives and treatments. When people are involved and use their own voice they can shape their own lives and have ownership to what is happening to them.
Organisations that provide advocacy will not discriminate against anyone on any personal basis. It may be that a certain provider of advocacy may be the best type to support you depending on what your needs and circumstances are.
If you are unhappy with the work of your advocate you can make a complaint. Help can be provided to support your complaint.
If you think that you or someone in your family might benefit from advocacy services, please use the directory to find the services that are available within the borough and that may be appropriate to your services.
If you think you, or someone in your family might benefit from any service provided by Adult Care Services and you would like us to contact you by phone or email, please complete the Adult Services contact us/self referral online form and someone will be in touch with you as soon as possible.
Privacy and confidentiality
Unless you want the information you share with your advocate to be known, it will be kept private.
It is only if it is considered that you or other people are at risk or the court instructs us to that rule maybe broken.