Independent Advocacy is about helping people to have a stronger voice and more control over their lives.
- Provides a safeguard for vulnerable adults and children,
- Empowers people who rely on health and social care services,
- Strengthens communities by involving ordinary citizens,
- Provides valuable intelligence and feedback for commissioners,
- Provides a healthy challenge to the service system.
In order to be completely on someone’s side in achieving these purposes, and to avoid areas of potential conflict it is important that advocacy services are independent of other service providers. Independent advocates, whether paid or volunteers, can ensure that their loyalties lie with the person who needs advocacy rather than agencies or others who provide care.
There are three models of advocacy.
Independent Professional Advocacy which is undertaken by paid or volunteer advocates on a short-term basis. Advocates working in these services usually support people in dealing with a specific issue or problem. Links are supplied to local organisations to the right.
Collective Advocacy is where a group of people with similar experiences meet together to put forward shared views. It offers a shared voice rather than singling out individuals. It can however present a range of views. Collective advocacy builds personal skills and confidence and supports individuals to represent issues of common concern. Links are supplied to local organisations to the right.
Citizen Advocacy aims to encourage ordinary citizens to become more involved with the welfare of those who might need this in their communities. This is usually a long term relationship with an individual and aims to ensure the person’s interests are protected.
NHS Highland is the identified lead commissioner for the provision of independent advocacy services within this area.