Publication - Advice and guidance

Advocacy in the children's hearings system - national practice model: guidance

Published: 31 Mar 2020

National practice model for children's advocacy in the children’s hearings system.

68 page PDF

352.7 kB

68 page PDF

352.7 kB

Contents
Advocacy in the children's hearings system - national practice model: guidance
National Practice Guidance

68 page PDF

352.7 kB

National Practice Guidance

Principles, Standards, Outcomes, Practice Guidance and Indicators

This section of the National Practice Model specifies the core values and beliefs of advocacy in the Children’s Hearings System and supports them with detailed, practical guidelines for advocacy workers and advocacy organisations. The Principles and Standards put into clear, concise language, the underlying beliefs and behaviours children should be able to expect from advocacy. Each Principle and its underlying Standards are accompanied by a set of Practice Guidelines and a set of Indicators.

Principles

The principles are broad statements which outline the basis on which advocacy is offered, and the foundations of what advocacy should achieve. Each core principle outlines the key tenets of practicing advocacy, which is child-centred and focuses on creating the best possible advocacy experience for children and young people who are involved with the Children’s Hearings System, or have a need for advocacy in meetings or proceedings that may be connected with hearings.

Standards

The standards support the principles with statements that explain how the core values of advocacy should be translated, and applied in practice. They provide a more detailed description of what the principles mean in relation to advocacy in the Children’s Hearings System. Advocacy workers and advocacy organisations must work to these standards.

Outcomes

Outcomes are the desired effects for the child or young person receiving advocacy achieved when the relevant standard(s) is met.

Practice Guidance

These statements provide practical actions and guidance for advocacy workers so they can understand how to fulfil the standards and principles of advocacy in their everyday work. Each set of statements shows how the core beliefs can be translated into the practice of advocacy in the Children’s Hearings System.

Indicators

Indicators suggest ways of collecting evidence to show whether the principles and standards are being met. They are measurable and can demonstrate, through tangible evidence, how advocacy is being practiced and experienced. The views of the children and young people receiving advocacy will be central in assessing whether the advocacy they receive is of a high quality, thereby meeting the principles and standards laid out in the Advocacy in the Children’s Hearings National Practice Model.

Principle 1: Advocacy puts the child or young person first

Standard 1.1

Advocacy workers will listen to children and young people to understand what matters to them, help them explore their options and have their voice heard.

Outcome:

The child or young person feels listened to. The child or a young person is able to express to their advocacy worker what matters to them. The child or a young person has explored their options and had their voice heard.

Standard 1.2

Advocacy workers will only work for and on behalf of the child or young person, meaning the child or young person is in charge of how and with whom their views are shared.

Outcome:

The child or young person knows that their advocacy worker works only for them. The advocacy worker will only share what the young person wishes to be shared.

Practice Guidance

Advocacy workers will ensure that the child or young person receiving advocacy understands that they are in control of the relationship.

Advocacy workers will take time to directly introduce the service they are offering to the child or young person, what it means and what it offers the child or young person in the context of their own involvement in systems, meetings or proceedings.

Advocacy workers will explain their role to the child or young person and that they have control over what the advocacy worker expresses on their behalf or supports them to express.

Advocacy workers will clearly explain to the child or young person that they have a choice about whether they want to use the advocacy service and can change their mind at any point during the advocacy relationship.

When receiving advocacy referrals from professionals or others, the advocacy worker will clearly explain to the referrer that it is the child or young person's choice whether they take up the offer of advocacy.

Advocacy workers will have easily accessible materials to explain the purpose of their role to children, young people, carers and other professionals.

Advocacy workers will make sure they come to an agreement with the child or young person as to how they wish to receive advocacy support.

Advocacy workers will take the time required (within the constraints of time-limited proceedings) to build the advocacy relationship and work with the child or young person to explore their concerns, wishes, views and questions, and agree with them how they want to express what matters to them.

Advocacy workers will make sure throughout the advocacy relationship that the view and voice of the child or young person is respected, especially by adults.

Advocacy workers will be sensitive to the child or young person's wishes as they develop over time during the advocacy relationship.

Advocacy workers will seek to ensure that advocacy is fully understood by the child or young person and others at all times during the advocacy relationship.

Indicators

Proportion of children and young people who feel listened to by their advocacy worker.

Proportion of children and young people who feel listened to by others involved in their care as a result of receiving advocacy.

Proportion of children or young people who have expressed how they want to communicate their views.

Record of consent given by the child or young person– either a written record of verbal consent, written consent or another format recognised by the advocacy provider.

Supporting information materials effectively explaining to the child or young person the approach and role of advocacy workers.

Level of satisfaction with the with advocacy support received.

Proportion of children and young people who report that they understand the reasons for the decisions made by the Children’s Hearing.

Principle 2: Advocacy seeks to understand and explain what is going on

Standard 2.1

Advocacy workers will have detailed knowledge of children's rights and entitlements.

Outcome:

The child or young person feels they are better informed about their rights and entitlements.

Standard 2.2

Advocacy workers will understand the law and procedures that apply to the Children’s Hearings System and to other care and justice procedures as they apply to young people. They will be able to help children and young people understand what is happening and explore their options.

Outcome:

The child or young person has a better understanding of the Children’s Hearings System as it relates to their life. They better understand their options and rights within the Children’s Hearings System.

Standard 2.3

Advocacy workers will speak to relevant professionals and carers on behalf of the child or young person with their permission, to help them get answers to any questions or concerns they have.

Outcome:

The child or young person feels supported in seeking answers to the questions that matter to them.

Practice Guidance

Advocacy workers will help the child or young person understand the Hearings process.

Advocacy workers will have an understanding of human rights, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and how these rights apply to children and young people in the Children’s Hearings System.

Advocacy workers will have excellent up-to-date knowledge and awareness of the Children's Hearings System and the relevant legislation, guidance and processes.

Advocacy workers will understand the broad range of children and young people's rights and the opportunities within the Children’s Hearings System for the child or young person to seek to exercise these rights.

Before a hearing, advocacy workers will prepare the child or young person to help them understand the range of potential decisions which may be made.

Advocacy workers will help ensure that the child or young person understands the reason for any particular hearing, and the recommendations being put forward. They will help the child or young person to express their views in relation to this information.

Advocacy workers will help the child or young person access the right information if they are unclear about any aspect of the hearing (e.g. grounds for referral, recommendations, child’s plan).

After the hearing, advocacy workers will spend time with the child or the young person, providing support, reinforcing their understanding of what has happened and what has been decided and exploring next steps for ongoing advocacy support if applicable.

After decisions have been made in the Children’s Hearings System, advocacy workers will help the child or young person understand what they mean, any change in circumstances and what the child or young person’s rights and options are now.

Advocacy workers will have a good understanding of the role of legal representation for a child or young person within the Children’s Hearings System and in appeals processes and will be able to communicate this to the child or young person they are working with.

Advocacy workers will support the child or young person to access appropriate legal advice or representation, as required.

Indicators

Proportion of children or young people who have a better understanding of the Children’s Hearings System.

Proportion of children and young people reporting improved understanding of their rights and entitlements.

Evidence of advocacy worker’s commitment to continuous professional development.

Diverse range of methods of communicating young people’s rights and entitlements.

Principle 3: Advocacy workers only work for the child or young person

Standard 3.1

Advocacy workers will only work on behalf of children and young people. They will only share information with other people with permission from the child or young person, unless someone is at risk of harm.

Outcome:

The child or young person trusts that the advocacy worker only works for them and understands confidentiality of the advocacy relationship.

Standard 3.2

Advocacy workers will not give their own or anyone else’s views or opinions while advocating for the child or young person, they will only represent the child or young person's wishes.

Outcome:

The child or young person feels supported in expressing their views. The child or young person knows the advocacy worker is only there to support them.

Standard 3.3

Advocacy workers will not be influenced by anyone or anything else while they are supporting the child or young person.

Outcome:
The child or young person knows that their advocacy worker is not influenced by the wishes of others and focuses solely on their views.

Practice Guidance

Advocacy workers will be aware of their own opinions and prejudices. Advocacy workers should not let their personal opinions, choices and values interfere in any way with the child or young person’s choices.

Advocacy workers will always value and respect the views of the child or young person and will always be empathetic, non-judgemental and understanding in their interactions.

Advocacy workers will be sensitive, supportive and caring throughout, communicating a sense of being alongside the young person.

Advocacy workers should explain that children and young people have control over what information is shared with others through the advocacy relationship. Advocacy workers will clearly explain to the child or young person the circumstances in which they would have to share information, if there were risks to themselves or others.

Advocacy workers will be imaginative, robust and resourceful in ensuring that the child’s voice is heard throughout the meeting or process.

Advocacy workers will ensure that the child or young person is aware of the different ways in which their views can be presented to the hearing and support the child or young person in the options that they choose, even if the young person is excused from the hearing.

Advocacy workers will ensure that the issues identified, and views expressed by the child or young person in preparation for or during the hearing are highlighted, examined and reiterated as necessary to ensure that the child’s voice is heard.

Advocacy workers will speak up for the child or young person if they want them to, will support them to speak themselves, and will cultivate the sense of being alongside the child or young person to help ensure that their views are at the heart of the Hearing.

Advocacy workers will only share information that the child or young person has agreed to share in a Children's Hearing.

Advocacy workers will remain alert to what is happening at the hearing, to how the child or young person is experiencing the hearing and to options for the child or young person at different points throughout the hearing, intervening as appropriate to ensure the rights of the child and young person are upheld and that they are always at the centre.

Advocacy workers will have a clear understanding of the distinctness of their role within the Children's Hearings and the responsibilities of other professionals.

Indicators

Level of satisfaction with advocacy support provided.

Advocacy workers demonstrate understanding of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Proportion of children and young people who feel supported to express their views during their Hearing.

Record of advocacy issues.

Number of incidents of advocacy support being provided at hearings where the child or young person is excused from their hearing.

Proportion of hearings where the young person’s views are fully or partially expressed.

Principle 4: Advocacy is for all children and young people who wish to take up the offer of Advocacy

Standard 4.1

Advocacy workers will liaise with carers and other professionals already working with children and young people to ensure that they are sensitive to the individual child or young person's needs.

Outcome:

The child or young person's individual needs have shaped the way they receive advocacy and they have been appropriately supported by their carers and professionals in the advocacy process.

Standard 4.2

Advocacy workers will work with children and young people of all backgrounds and respect the identity, culture, needs and preferences of all children and young people and treat them fairly and equally.

Outcome:

Children and young people of all backgrounds have access to advocacy.

The child or young person feels that they have been treated equally and with respect throughout their advocacy relationship.

Practice Guidance

Advocacy workers will tailor communications with children or young people based on their individual needs and requirements.

Advocacy workers will have a range of different creative resources available to explore with the child – using an age, stage and ability appropriate approach.

Advocacy workers will make sure that the child or young person can be supported to directly express their views and opinions, in a way that suits them.

Advocacy workers will be flexible and adaptive to changing contexts when planning how best to provide advocacy support to a child or young person.

Advocacy workers will understand the differences between instructed and to non-instructed advocacy.

Advocacy workers will develop networks with other professionals, partners and practitioners to foster understanding of advocacy services, being proactive with raising awareness of what it offers children and young people to improve access.

Advocacy workers will be imaginative and ambitious in their communication with other key professionals about what they can offer children and young people, raising awareness, understanding and the impact of the service.

Indicators

Range of communication tools aimed at children and young people from all backgrounds.

Proportion of children and young people who feel respected and treated fairly by their advocacy worker.

Diversity of backgrounds, age and ability of children and young people accessing advocacy.

Proportion of advocacy workers who have received training on non-instructed advocacy.


Contact

Email: CYPAdvocacy@gov.scot