About Independent Advocacy

 

Independent advocacy is not new, it’s been around for a long time, but it’s only in the last 20 years or so that it has been made more available to those people who are likely to benefit from the support it can provide.  Some of the most frequently asked questions about advocacy are answered below and a number of examples given.

What can Independent Advocacy do for those who use it?

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Why might someone feel that they need an independent advocate?

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In What Situations Is Independent Advocacy Support Helpful?

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What an independent advocate can do?

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What can Independent Advocacy do for those who use it?

The purpose of independent advocacy is to:

    • Assist and support people to speak out/speak up for themselves.
    • Ensure that a person’s voice is heard and listened to.
    • Assist people to achieve their goals and/or to access the services they need.
    • Provide the information that people will need to ensure that they can make informed choices and decisions.
    • Give people control over their situations and lives.
    • Protect and safeguard rights, services and interests.

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Why might someone feel that they need an independent advocate?

Someone may need support for many reasons and in a number of different situations.  They may also feel that the best way to get that is by having the assistance of someone who is independent of their carer, care services, other service providers, professionals or family.

They may, for example:

    • have no one else to help them when making decisions and need independent support to be enable them to express their needs and wishes;
    • feel that they are not able to speak up for themselves or are not being given the opportunity to do so;
    • feel they are being pushed into making decisions or disagree with decisions that are being made for/about them;
    • feel that no one is listening to what they are saying about what they want;
    • be facing changes and/or difficult decisions about personal matters or accommodation;
    • be going through changes that involve new and unfamiliar information and may need help and support to understand it;
    • need practical help aimed at resolving the things which are affecting them;
    • be waiting for a place in, or a move into, a care home or sheltered housing/housing with support;
    • be finding it difficult to express their wishes/views to those around them;
    • disagree with decisions that have been made, for or about them, by their carer(s) or professionals.
    • ready to move from hospital and are seeking other accommodation;
    • in a situation where the NHS needs to free their bed and facing decisions about where they want to move to – See the ‘Advocacy In Delayed Discharge Situations’ section for more details;
    • Discover that their care home or ward is to close – See the ‘Advocacy When A Care Home Closes?’ section for more information.

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In What Situations Is Independent Advocacy Support Helpful?

Here are some examples of the situations where an independent advocate can act on behalf of others or where independent advocacy can be of support:

    • At a case conference or case review;
    • At care plan reviews and care planning meetings;
    • Where people are unhappy with services, or with those providing the service(s);
    • Where people have find themselves being exploited or abused, e.g. financially,physically, sexually or psychologically;
    • With financial matters;
    • With Power of Attorney matters;
    • With matters under the Mental Health Act: e.g. Tribunals or detention;
    • With ‘Guardianship/Guardianship Order’ matters;
    • With personal care issues;
    • When people are choosing or changing accommodation, e.g. when moving house or into a care;
    • Where care homes are being closed;
    • Where people are given Notice to Quit or were being evicted, e.g. from their homes or a Care Home.

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What an independent advocate can do?

An independent advocate can/will:

  • Support or assist a person to advocate for her/himself.
  • Advocate for a person and put that person’s views forward in their absence and/or where they are unable to do so for themselves.
  • Ensure that the person they are advocating for is kept fully informed and has the information they need to be able to make informed decisions or choices.
  • Listen, hear, respect and act with that person in mind.

 

Independent advocates will always put their own values to one side, they do not make judgements or give opinions and are there solely to support and enable their Advocacy Partners* to make decisions and choices about what might be right or wrong for them.

An independent advocate will usually visit the person, discuss the reason for referral, inform them of what advocacy can and can’t do and, where and when requested and agreed offer support to the person. Once the person’s views, wishes and needs have been established, the advocate will take those forward, or assist the person in taking them forward. Advocacy will continue until the issue is either resolved or all the possibilities have been exhausted.

*which is what we call those people we support

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