Advocacy standards criteria
In the case of consortium bids, or where the organisation intends to sub-contract elements of the work, it should be clearly identified which organisation will deliver each aspect of the project, and which organisation will be the lead body for contact.
Projects must meet the standards criteria described here.
The provider(s) shall ensure that children and young people have their rights protected and that they are empowered to express their needs and wishes.
The provider(s) shall ensure that every opportunity is taken to maximise the child/young person’s capacity to speak for themselves, consistent with their capabilities and informed choices.
Provider(s) must evidence how they will meet the principles, standards and outcomes criteria detailed in the National Practice Model for Advocacy in the Children’s Hearings System (summarised below).
Principle 1: Advocacy puts the child or young person first
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Principle 2: Advocacy seeks to understand and explain what is going on
- advocacy workers will have detailed knowledge of children's rights and entitlements
- 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
- 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
- the child or young person feels they are better informed about their rights and entitlements
- 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
- the child or young person feels supported in seeking answers to the questions that matter to them
Principle 3: Advocacy workers only work for the child or young person
- 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
- 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
- advocacy workers will not be influenced by anyone or anything else while they are supporting the child or young person
- the child or young person trusts that the advocacy worker only works for them and understands confidentiality of the advocacy relationship
- 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
- the child or young person knows that their advocacy worker is not influenced by the wishes of others and focuses solely on their views
Principle 4: Advocacy is for all children and young people who wish to take up the offer of Advocacy
- 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
- advocacy workers will work with children and young people of all backgrounds and respect the identity, culture and preferences of all children and young people and treat them fairly and equally
- 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
- 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
Whether explicitly or implicitly expressed, these standards must be attained by the provider(s) in delivering the provision of advocacy.
To support the service standards, the provider(s) shall ensure that:
- skilled and knowledgeable staff are available to provide advocacy to meet the needs of children and young people identified in this expression of interest information
- there is high quality leadership and robust and skilled management support
- there are appropriate supervisory and staff development arrangements in place for all staff
- the rights and dignity of children and young people using the service are protected, including their right to confidentiality
- staff are aware that they are in a unique position of trust in the advocacy relationship and should actively demonstrate the central importance of choice, dignity, independence, respect and confidentiality in the advocacy service
- staff are adequately trained in or have access to a range of communication techniques, particularly when dealing with children and young people with a sensory impairment or who require assisted communication techniques
- the provider(s) has a communications strategy to address communications needs where there are issues relating to language or understanding or changes in communication needs
To discuss any part of this grant application you can contact the Children’s Hearings Advocacy Team: