Principle 2: Independent Advocacy is accountable
Training and professional development
There are no specific professional qualifications for advocacy workers. Instead both advocacy workers and the organisations they work for have a joint responsibility to ensure they are adequately trained and adhere to principles of best practice.
There are various training tools available, such as those provided by SIAA and information courses on carer advocacy, such as those provided by Carers Scotland. As well as being an essential part of any induction process, training is an important element of the continuous professional development of all advocates.
In addition to this, advocacy workers have a responsibility to keep their knowledge and practice up to date, particularly in relation to the following areas:
- current policy and legislation, such as health and social care policy and equalities legislation
- an understanding of local support services. Advocacy workers should also aim to develop good working relationships and referral protocols with local agencies and other professionals working with carers.
Support and supervision
Organisations have a responsibility to provide workers with regular support and supervision and should have a policy to support this. In relation to advocacy workers, this is particularly important in helping workers to talk through and resolve any conflicts of interest, or situations where they wish to talk through the clients chosen course of action. This should also be used as a time to explore any difficulties advocates are experiencing.
Organisations have a responsibility to ensure they have robust policies in place, both in relation to normal working practice and also policies specifically related to providing an advocacy service. For organisations providing advocacy, these may include but are not limited to:
- avoiding conflict of interest
- the storage of confidential information
- maintaining boundaries in the advocacy relationship
- comprehensive referral policy, including information on access policy, waiting lists and prioritisation protocols
- record keeping
- equality of access
- lone working
Additional reference tools
In addition to this Guidance, other useful reference tools are available and can be of great assistance in developing an advocacy service for carers. These include:
- Scottish Government Independent Advocacy Guide for Commissioners (Nov 2013)
- SIAA Principles & Standards for Independent Advocacy
- SIAA Code of Practice for Independent Advocacy
- SIAA Independent Advocacy: An Evaluation Framework
- SIAA Non-Instructed Advocacy Guidelines
- SIAA A Voice through Choice, stories of independent advocacy
- Carers Self Advocacy toolkit for professionals
- Equal Partners in Care (EPiC)
Email: Peggy Winford
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