About Advocacy

What is Independent Advocacy?

What is Independent Advocacy?


advocacyHere at Angus Independent Advocacy “Having Your Voice Heard” is our core purpose.  This is the motivation of the staff and local people who become advocates and Board members.  We work to enable those who use our resource to have a stronger and respected voice.

People who use this resource find it hard to tell others what they want or need in relation to many issues such as care, family life, housing or other situations where difficulties may arise.


Our advocates draw alongside the individuals and either enable the person to speak up for themselves or directly advocate on their behalf when needed.  Another important function is to support the person to access information and options so they can make informed decisions and choices in their life.  Independent advocacy is a powerful tool in enabling advocacy partners to have more control and a meaningful say in their lives.  Advocacy can also help people re-connect to their community and build stronger community ties.

Independent advocates also work to ‘safeguard’ those who cannot look out for their own interests due to incapacity caused by disability or ill health.  We call this ‘Non-Instructed Advocacy’.

 

“Non-Instructed Advocacy is ... taking affirmative action with or on behalf of a person who is unable to give a clear indication of their views or wishes in a specific situation.  The non-instructed advocate seeks to uphold the person’s rights, ensures fair and equal treatment and access to services and makes certain that decisions are taken with due consideration for their unique preferences and perspectives.” (Henderson, 2006 quoted in SIAA Non-Instructed Advocacy Guidelines, 2009)

The Importance of Independence

The Importance of Independence


Our advocates are independent from organisations that provide services to the people who use our resource.  Our advocates have no close ties to family or friends of the individual.  This means we can freely speak up for the person without a ‘conflict of interest’.

AIA are committed to the individual’s voice and wishes being heard.  We do not express our own view, but that of the individual.  Even when the person is considered not to have capacity we still work to seek out that individual’s point of view.  When the person cannot tell us their wishes, then we would use non-instructed advocacy.

As an organisation our only function is to provide independent advocacy.  Our advocates often find they have more time to spend with people because this is our only core function – to get to know and express that person’s point of view to others.

Advocacy Projects

Advocacy Projects


AIA have one part-time generic independent Advocacy Worker who supports individuals who may be dealing with issues such as:

  • Child Protection
  • Adult Support and Protection
  • resettlement from long stay hospitals to the community
  • entering long-term care.

 

One of the main features of this post has been supporting parents, who may have a learning disability or mental illness, helping them to understand complex child protection systems.  Many of the parents we support find this is a very challenging process and struggle to have their voice heard.

We have two part-time independent Mental Health Advocacy Workers.  Both these workers support individuals who are affected or subject to the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.  We give priority to working with those who are detained in hospital or on compulsory measures in the community.  Our advocacy workers will go and meet with people and support them to understand their rights in relation to the Act.  The advocacy workers will ensure the person’s voice is heard and respected in relation to their care and treatment.

The advocacy workers will also support people who have mental health issues in the local community.  The work is issue-based, but often once someone has used advocacy they will come back when another issue arises.

Citizen Advocacy

Citizen Advocacy

 

Our Citizen Advocacy Project matches people who are struggling to have their voice heard and are feeling socially isolated (Advocacy Partner) with another local person (Citizen Advocate). 

Citizen advocacy is a preventative model of 1:1 independent advocacy which is usually long-term in nature.  One of the most valuable elements of Citizen Advocacy is that Partner and Advocate get to know each other well so the Advocate can effectively promote their partner’s views and wishes should issues arise.  Citizen Advocates are independent and their sole loyalty is to their Advocacy Partner, not to any services they use or indeed AIA who offer support but do not direct how the partnership develops.  Often having someone non-paid who chooses to be in their life is the most important part of citizen advocacy for those we support.  Partnerships are equal, with both people learning from each other.

We can support Angus residents aged 26+ who also have:

  • mental ill health
  • a learning disability
  • dementia
  • an acquired brain injury, or
  • are an older person.

A Development Worker spends time getting to the know the Advocacy Partner and works alongside them to develop their story, which is then used to recruit their Citizen Advocate.  Once a Citizen Advocate has been identified the Development Worker supports them through the application process through to matching and on-going support.  All Citizen Advocates undergo a PVG check and must provide 2 references.  We also ask that all new Citizen Advocates complete our preparation course (we call it this as we believe there are natural advocates out there!).  The purpose of the preparation course is to help the person understand what independent advocacy is and the principles and standards that underpin our work.  The course also looks at the specifics of inclusion, confidentiality, non-discriminatory practice and adult protection.

AIA looks for Citizen Advocates to share our values and principles of social inclusion.  Our ethos is underpinned by John O’Brien’s “Five Dimensions of Inclusion”:

  • Belonging
  • Sharing Ordinary Places
  • Choices and Control
  • Contributing
  • Being Someone.

To find out more about any aspect of the Citizen Advocacy Project, please contact the office on 01241 434413 and ask to speak to a member of the team:

Heather (Senior Citizen Advocacy Development Worker)

Christine (Citizen Advocacy Development Worker).

AIA on Facebook

Contact Details

Angus Independent Advocacy

60 High Street, Arbroath

Angus  DD11 1AW

 

Tel:  01241 434413 

Text:  07724 814437

Fax: 01241 437968

Email: Click Here

 

Funding Partners

Our Funding Partners